Canvas Rebel Magazine Feature

We were lucky to catch up with Korey Harris recently and have shared our conversation below.

Korey, thanks for joining us, excited to have you contributing your stories and insights. Can you share a story with us from back when you were an intern or apprentice? Maybe it’s a story that illustrates an important lesson you learned or maybe it’s a just a story that makes you laugh (or cry)? Looking back at internships and apprenticeships can be interesting, because there is so much variety in people’s experiences – and often those experiences inform our own leadership style.

Any time that someone asks me about what it takes to improve at a certain craft or how to improve their ability to lead, I am always a little hesitant because the answer is not something that they want to hear. The truth is that the way to being lifted up is actually to start off being broken down and working in silence in the dark. I learned that the key to permanent and consistent growth, whether in business, basketball coaching, or life, is to first serve what belongs to another man before you try to build your own. FIND SOMEONE WHO HAS WALKED THE PATH YOU ARE ATTEMPTING TO TRAVEL AND TRACE THEIR FOOTPRINTS UNTIL YOU CAN FIND YOUR OWN WAY.

Back in 2010, I met and began working for one of the biggest names in the basketball skill development industry, Ganon Baker. His mentorship opened my eyes to what it meant to have a deeper understanding of the game, how to teach players with passion, and that there is a way to leverage that passion and IQ into a profitable business. Being around him definitely helped me grow, but it also caused me to become inflated with pride because I began to think that I deserved certain opportunities just because I was in his circle. I know now that I still had not put in the necessary time and gained enough experience, but back then I craved what we all want deep within: INFLUENCE and IMPORTANCE.

I learned the hard way in 2011 at an international coaching clinic in Greenville, South Carolina. Ganon invited myself and another prominent trainer, Tyler Relph to lead the 3-day event where we would instruct and share our philosophies with experienced coaches from Europe, Australia, North & South America. Long story short, it was a straight embarrassment, but one of the most powerful experiences in my career. I was nervous the entire time, my lack of basketball IQ was exposed, and I was a complete robot when it was my time to speak or lead. I had no feel, no connection with the concepts that I was attempting to present. To make matters worse, I dislocated G’s finger and gave Tyler a concussion during a live on-court demonstration. Haha!!! I even froze once in front of the coaches and forgot my own curriculum. I was a straight mess!

The moral of the story is: FAILURE IS A HUGE PART OF SUCCESS. I struggled because I was too focused on being given the opportunity to lead and be up front rather than putting the time in and paying my dues. Success is just an outcome and bi-product of amassing small victories over time. Looking back, I am thankful for moments like that because they remind me that I can’t skip steps!

As always, we appreciate you sharing your insights and we’ve got a few more questions for you, but before we get to all of that can you take a minute to introduce yourself and give our readers some of your back background and context?

I feel like I am no different from anyone else who may be reading this article. I don’t consider myself special or different. In fact, If I’m being 100% honest, I have lazy tendencies just like the average person. I sometimes fear having to do things that will thrust me into the spotlight or leadership roles, and I would rather take the easy path than having integrity.


– At 19 years old (2008), I started as a volunteer youth assistant basketball coach within the Powder Springs Rec Leagues. I had just gotten kicked out of college my freshman year at Hofstra University and was in over $40,000 worth of debt. I didn’t know what I wanted in life. I will always be appreciative to Coach Barry Williams for giving me the chance to work with those kids. He saved my life.

– At 20 years old (2009), my god-brother, Bryan Williams, and I co-founded Student of the Game Training LLC in Atlanta, Georgia. We didn’t know what the hell we doing. We just knew that we wanted to help kids. We used to provide after school mentorship, tutoring, and workouts for kids in my local neighborhood for free. None of those kids went on to be famous or well-known athletes, but this gave me the foundation to understand that it’s bigger than basketball.

– Since those early days, the business has transformed and my coaching career has taken steps. In the past 12-13 years, I have been fortunate to help mentor and develop multiple high school and collegiate athletes, All-Americans, USA and international olympic athletes, and NBA, WNBA, and international professionals. I have served as a volunteer assistant on the high school levels, on the women’s collegiate level, and most recently as an assistant coach on the professional level in the CBA (Chinese Basketball Association) for two years. I am blessed to have the chance to be mentored by people like Ganon and Melissa Baker, Stephon Marbury, Rod Strickland, Brendan Suhr, Jay Humphries, and so many other people that have taught me about the game.

But regardless of the various experiences or accomplishments, there’s nothing bigger than having the opportunity to pay it forward and give back to the next generation of basketball coaches and skill development trainers looking to break into the industry which is why I am making it my mission to develop systems and resources to help provide a path. I’ve been blessed to self-publish two books and will be dropping a new online system designed for young and aspiring coaches very soon at!

We’d love to hear the story of how you built up your social media audience?

1.) I started extremely simple. Before I focused on building my following or have a bunch of great content, I made sure that everything was organized and uniform. – Make sure that your business website is fully functional and has all of the necessary information.

– Your social media should point viewers to your website and vice versa.

2.) Identify where you can carve out your niche in the market.

– What’s your tagline going to be?

– What are some areas of need where you feel you can bring solutions?

3.) Be consistent!!!

– Create a schedule for your posts and stick to it! (Once a week, on Tuesdays, etc…)

– Have a theme and style that your audience can begin to expect from you every time!

– Don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t grow immediately. Building organic followers takes time.

– Interact with your followers and keep them engaged.

We’d love to hear the story of how you turned a side-hustle into a something much bigger.

When I first began working within the basketball industry, it was DEFINITELY a side-hustle. There was NO way that training and coaching players back in 2008 was going to pay my bills or get me out of the mountain of debt that I had gotten myself into. I believe at the time I was working 2-3 different part-time jobs on top of training players in the evenings from 6pm-9pm at the local rec center. I was charging $10-$20 per session and some times I was training for free because the kids in my area couldn’t afford it. But I knew that I had to make a REAL plan because it wasn’t sustainable.

– The first thing I did was figure out a ball park estimate of what my living expenses were for 1 month. This included rent, gas money, food, cell phone bill, car repairs, etc. I knew that if I could boil it down to a whole number, then I could figure out how much I needed to earn with just training players in order to survive for 1 month.

– Once I got that number, I multiplied it by 6. This number would be the amount of money I needed to have in savings to walk away from my part-time jobs completely and focus my energy on building my business clientele. I then began taking 10-20% of every paycheck from my jobs and payments I received from clients to put aside towards this “6-Month Savings Account”.

– I began to decrease my spending and focused on living beneath my means. No more eating out, going out with friends or having a social life. I was only in the gym training players, filming video content for YouTube, or at home resting. Anything else was dedicated towards self-improvement. I went to as many seminars, coaching clinics, camps and local team practices as possible.

– I bartered with local gyms and built as many relationships as possible within my local community. If you had a gym, hoop, or space to train, I was looking for a way to help your organization. Cold calls, emails, pop-ups… I didn’t matter to me. I had no pride and got used to people saying, “No”.

– Things really broke open for me when I reached my financial milestone and was able to walk away from those jobs while also building a consistent clientele. I was also extremely blessed to work with some young athletes who went on to do great things within the basketball world. There’s no magic tricks in this game. You have to have some grit.

But it’s no longer my goal to be the “best trainer” or anything like that… As you mature, so does your goals. My heart is now on the sidelines and I have found that I love to coach within the team realm with a staff and a group of people working towards a common goal. No hate against anyone who wants to pursue their dream as a personal development coach, but I have outgrown that. I would rather serve as a guide and help the next be better than me.

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