Our Mission

In a city of numerous options for children to develop athletically, Basketball Stars of NY stands out as the premier teaching program offered in New York. We do this by building character with positive reinforcement through teaching fundamental basketball skills in an environment with an overwhelming coach to athlete ratio.

Emphasis is placed on skill improvement, teamwork, sportsmanship, communication and accountability for all participants. Quality coaching and programming is the foundation of Basketball Stars of NY and we are proud to continue on with this tradition of excellence.

Meet our Coaches

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Coach Dave Brown - Colgate U. / Connecticut College (PF / C)

President / Founder

Coach Brown's basketball career began at Riverdale Country Day School as a member of the NYSAIS state champion Falcon squad before finishing high school at the Dwight School in Manhattan and enjoying another NYSAIS title before receiving an offer to play basketball at Colgate University. After two years of Division 1 experience, Coach Brown finished his collegiate basketball experience at Division III powerhouse Connecticut College in the NESCAC's. Upon graduation, David spent time coaching for Collegiate High School, John Jay College, Susquehanna University, and the New Heights Basketball organization, here in Manhattan. While coaching at Susquehanna University, coach was able to attend Bucknell University where he pursued a masters as an instructional specialist. He is certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine as a personal trainer as well. His summers have been spent at Basketball Stars of NY Camps. With the many successes Basketball Stars of NY Camps have had over the years, Coach Brown is now excited to bring the Basketball Stars of NY experience to the youth of Manhattan through mini-camps and clinics.


Coach Dermon Player - St. John's University (PG/SG)

General Manager - Director of AAU Basketball / Staffing

Dermon Player joins the Basketball Stars team after spending four years as assistant coach at Seton Hall University in the Big East Conference. Player’s ties and roots to New York City began in the early 1990’s as an assistant coach at Rice High School. At the same time, Player coached one of the most talented AAU teams in history with Elton Brand, Lamar Odom and Ron Artest. Following Rice HS, he went on to be the Athletic Director of Wadleigh High School in New York and transitioned Riverside Church into the Metro Hawks. After a couple of years, Coach Player was granted the opportunity to join the coaching staff at St. John’s University in 1998 where served as an assistant for six years before becoming a scout for the NBA’s Charlotte Bobcats. Coach Player’s high level of energy and vast experience on the court makes him a perfect fit for the Basketball Stars team.

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 Duane Castleberry – 

Director of Scheduling / Weekend Programs / After School

Duane Castleberry has been employed with the Jewish Community Center as an Athletic Director for the past 12 years. Throughout his career he has gained a significant amount of experience as a head basketball coach in AAU, Travel and Recreational level. His knowledge, determination and compassion for coaching have reflected positively on his teams.  Duane has been involved in an array of programs in which he has planned and executed major basketball events such as Nike World Basketball Festival and the JCC Maccabi games. In 2009, Duane was awarded with the Pinky Award for Coach of the Year and lives by the motto “The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a person’s determination” and he has proven that the impossible is possible.  He resides in Yonkers, NY and is the father of three boys, all basketball enthusiasts.




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Andrew Dowton – Tufts University (PF)

Director of Development 


Coach Andrew Dowton was born in St. Louis, Missouri and has since moved to Australia, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and most recently New York. He played his high school basketball at Milton Academy in Milton, MA under then new coach and former Bentley College standout Lamar Reddicks. Andrew, alongside teammates such as then Boston College bound center Dennis Clifford helped to transform the culture of Milton basketball from one where winning was the expectation as opposed to the exception as he captained the team his senior year to their best record in decades, eventually earning the first playoff berth for Milton in just as long. He went on to play for Tufts University in Medford, MA in the fiercely competitive NESCAC league, eventually rising to lead the team as a senior captain before graduating with his degree in International Relations. His role as Director of Development combines the things he is most passionate about: basketball, working with kids, and community outreach.



Coach Laurence Jolicuoer- Manhattan College (SF)

Director of Private Training

Coach Laurence Jolicoeur was born and raised in Queens, NY. He spent two years overseas in Italy playing professionally after receiving his Master’s Degree from UMBC. Prior to his Masters, Laurence played his college basketball at Manhattan College and earned his undergrad degree in Exercise Science. A product of New York, Jolicoeur spent his high school years at Holy Cross High School and played for the well-respected New Heights AAU program. He is a natural working with kids.


Coach Brandon Walters - Seton Hall / Siena University (C)

Head Coach / Private Trainer

Coach Walters has been with Basketball Stars for a number of years dating back to his days playing in college when he would assist in the Camp-Within-A-Camp Program. A Brooklyn born and raised player, Brandon made a name for himself early on in high school playing for Lincoln and winning multiple state championships with current NBA budding star, Lance Stephenson. Walters received a scholarship offer to play at Seton Hall University in the Big East. After two years, Brandon left Seton Hall for Siena University. Coach Walters is a staple at our Saturday and Sunday programs teaching his specialty, post play.

Coach James Croft - (SG)

Director of Strength + Conditioning - Head Coach -Private Trainer



Coach Mike Tuitt - Hampton University (SG)

Head Coach - Private Trainer

Coach Mike Tuitt was born and raised in the Bronx, NY. His basketball career began playing the point guard position for American Christian leading them to a national title his junior year alongside NBA star Tyreke Evans. He then accepted a full scholarship to district champion Monroe College, to be the floor general. Mike completed his collegiate career graduating from Hampton University in 2009 while attaining his degree in Sports Management and remaining on the Dean's list for his entire academic experience in college. Upon graduation, Mike took his talents overseas to play professionally in Qatar this past season. Mike brings his enthusiasm and leadership to the team every day.



Coach Josh Watkins - Univeristy of Utah (PG)

Head Coach -Private Trainer

Joshua Watkins was born and raised in Harlem, NY. His basketball career started in the playgrounds where he was known throughout Manhattan as a big time prospect at a very early age. He attended Wadleigh High School where he graduated from in 2007. Coach Josh played Division I JUCO Basketball at Howard College in Texas where he led his team to a national championship and won MVP of the National Tournament playing alongside current NBA star Jae Crowder of the Dallas Mavericks. Following Howard, Josh accepted an athletic scholarship to University of Utah where he was a starter for two seasons leading the UTES in scoring and assists as a senior. Upon graduating with a degree in Sociology, Josh returned to New York City where he is currently the Junior Varsity Coach at the Dwight School.


Coach Andre Faison - Passaic College (PG)

Head Coach - Trainer

Coach Andre Faison was born and raised in New York City. He started as a youth playing for the famous Riverside Church team for Coach Dermon Player. He played his high school basketball in Harlem at powerhouse Rice High School. Upon graduation, Andre attended Passaic College and became the schools leader in assist which he still maintains along with the record for most assist in the game with 24. Andre spends his winter seasons coaching at a public school in the Bronx for the past 7 years. Passion is what drives him to work with kids, his love for the game is a bond unbreakable.



Coach Dante Milligan - UMASS (PF)

Head Coach / Clinician

Coach Dante Milligan was born and raised in New York City before attending Trinity Pawling High School where he began his basketball career. As a player he was ranked #28 in the country and signed with the University of Pittsburgh where as a freshman he was part of the Panther squad that advanced to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament. As a sophomore, Dante transferred to the University of Massachusetts where he graduated. At UMASS, as a senior Dante led the Atlantic-10 in FG% (63.8) and finished 3rd in the league in Blocks (1.93). Following college, Milligan spent the next few years playing professionally overseas in China and Israel before playing the past 3 seasons in the NBA's Development League. Dante now resides in New York and is eager to work with kids in the game that has given him so much.


Jewel Watson

Coach Jewel Watson - Bowie St.

Director of Girls Travel Teams

Coach Jewel began working with Basketball Stars in the spring of 2012 last year and immediately made an impression on the kids and all of our coaches with her passion and intensity. She was recently named the Head Coach of Girls Basketball at Leman Manhattan Prep in Lower Manhattan. Prior to accepting the position, Jewel spent her time privately training some of the most talented female players in New York City and coaching with various organizations. A New York Native, she played her high school basketball at Murray Bertguam where she won 2 State Federation AA Championships and was named First-Team All New York. After high school, Coach Watson attended Bowie State University where she received a full scholarship to play basketball and earned a degree in organizational communication.


Whitney Toone – University of Illinois (SG/SF)

Director of Girls Programming

Coach Toone a native New Yorker brings a wealth of playing and coaching experience to Basketball Stars. Whitney began her playing career at Murray Bertram high school where she was a team captain and earned two New York State titles. She finished her high school career at the famed Prep School Oak Hill Academy in 2006 before receiving a full scholarship to attend the University of Illinois where she was a two year starter. Toone earned her degree in Communications in 2010 and has been working with children ever since in New York.