Secret to Success, Part 1. How SCOPE can change your life!

by Kenny Eller on August 30, 2010

The first secret to success is scope or the broadening of to be more specific. Let me explain.

Growing up I spent a lot of time shooting on the driveway made court at my parents’ house. My brother and I would mimic the NBA’s All-Star weekend 3pt contest and have shooting contest after shooting contest. Just like the pros, we would shoot five balls from five different positions on the court with the last of the five from each position worth two points. One major difference in our shooting contest and the NBA’s was our shots came from all different distances. The furthest shot we could take on the right baseline was no more than 10 feet, while the left side was closer to 15-17. This wasn’t by choice of course, we were merely making the best out of our home court dimensions.

So we would compete against one another almost daily, trying to relive the Larry Bird or Craig Hodges moments. Doing that along with playing a lot we became pretty good shooters.

During my sophomore year of high school a blend of guys from the freshman to varsity boys basketball team stayed after school to play pick up games on certain days. This was always a thrill for me, because it was a way to measure my progress as a player. At that time I had only been playing basketball for a couple of years.

On one particular day as the games were winding down, we were playing 3-on-3 when my Mom was due to come pick me up. In those days, there were no cell phones tied to the hips of 15 year olds or lining the baseline of the court. How did we survive:-) So my Mom shows up and the guys want to keep playing, but would be down to five if I left. At that point, the varsity team’s best shooter and starting guard, Brent Pauley, offered to give me a ride home.

My mom who was very protective of me, agreed to let me stay and we played on. After the games had ended, I assumed I was going home. Instead, I was about to become a man powered rebounding machine.

Brent wasn’t a good shooter. He was a great shooter. He stood all of five feet 10 inches, but had extreme explosiveness. He was quick, and could dunk. His staple on the team was draining the three though. During that season in 1993 he set the school three point mark for a single season.

So I stood under the rim and began rebounding. He started around the three point line, in the same five positions that the NBA sets up the three point contest and started launching. He didn’t tell me his goal, but I quickly figured out that he wasn’t going to leave the gym until he made ten in a row or one time around and back, two shots from each position.

This blew my young basketball mind. Of course I never let on to Brent that what he was doing seemed undoable to me at the time, but it did.

To me, those hours of shooting hoops in the backyard had made me a really good shooter. Not being surrounded by players, I had thought what I was doing was more than most. It was all I knew. Brent showed the dedication it took to go from good to great. To go from it should go in to it will go in. He showed what it took to set records.

Being exposed to others that are successful gives the growing individual a peep hole to perhaps see why they are successful. More than likely you will find that the successful one has been willing to work much harder and smarter than most.

Success isn’t usually holding hands with luck.

That is scope. Brent expanded mine.

I of course took what I learned from Brent and passed on that knowledge to my younger brother (six years younger than me) and expanded that to him taking over 3,000 shots a week as a 15 year old. Had my brother not had me, I’m positive that he would have approached the game like most kids with no guidance. He still would have been a good player, but wouldn’t have had that edge.

The great thing with expanding your scope is it also allows you to see if you really want what you think you want.

A little over five years ago a neighborhood kid had seen me play at the local courts one evening. A few days later he was ringing the doorbell to my home asking if I would come out and play. He wanted to be able to shoot better and in his eyes, I was the best he had seen. To him I shot like a guy in the NBA.

His scope was small. He had never been around really good players or shooters.

So I went across the street in my flip flops and played a couple of games. He was amazed, though he really shouldn’t have been. I wasn’t close to shooting at my best, but it was great within his current scope. So at the end he asked the question that I’ve been asked more than a few times, “How can I shoot like you?”

I put him in front of the basketball goal, corrected his form and told him to take 100 shots and we’d go from there. I let him know it was just a lot of practice and then I went home.

That particular day was like most in Florida, scorching hot. It was mid day so the sun was stretching itself over the canvas that is Florida. Humidity was having a blast.

10 minutes after I got home I looked out of the window and he was gone. He had quit. In his scope of doing things 100 shots was A LOT. To me, coming from 3,000 it was very small.

I saw the same kid, who now is a really nice young man, playing at the court a year ago. He still doesn’t shoot well.

Being a good/great shooter wasn’t worth the work to him. That’s ok.

If you have an interest in something, whether that be basketball, computers, finance, starting a blog and so on, surround yourself with people that are better than you at the given interest. If you are lucky enough to know people that are great at what you want to do, even better. Immerse yourself in it and you will quickly find out if you are passionate about it, or merely curious.

If you are struggling with getting to the next level, I have a simple question for you.

When is the last time you expanded your scope?

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Marv August 31, 2010 at 2:41 pm

Great story Kenny!


Kenny Eller Kenny Eller August 31, 2010 at 4:49 pm

Thanks Marvin! I appreciate you checking it out!


Mark Powers September 10, 2010 at 2:23 am

“Success isn’t usually holding hands with luck.” I love that line. It’s so true that anyone who has reached a truly extraordinary level of skill (be that in sports, music, or anything) has invested serious time and energy into it along the way. Anytime I catch myself being jealous of another musician who performs with unbelievable technique, speed or musicality, I try to remind myself that he/she has obviously dedicated way more time than I’ve been willing. Scope. Excellent post, Kenny- keep ’em coming!


Kenny Eller Kenny Eller September 10, 2010 at 6:32 am

Thanks for the kind words Mark! My hope is that at some point in my life people will say I’m lucky too:-) If they think you’re lucky…you must be doing something right!:-)


Donna Cumby September 12, 2010 at 9:14 am

Not only was Brent a great ball player, he was a great person too! I hope he sees this article, he would love it! Kenny your blog is really good.


Kenny Eller Kenny Eller September 12, 2010 at 12:39 pm

Totally agree! Do you still keep in contact with him? I’d love to catch up!


Brent~ September 19, 2010 at 8:32 pm

Kenny, my wife (through some friends) turned me on to your blog. Man…. brings back a lot of memories! I haven’t taken a shot in 10 years but thinking back on those days make me want to get on the court tonight! Even if I miss every shot, there’s always the next shot!

Your blog is really cool and well written and I will keep following. When you meet MJ… drain a three in his face….

PS- The pictures of you in the CHS… oh man… the shorts were way too short and the jerseys were way too tight but that didn’t change the fact that when you were on the court you gave everything you had! Mostly because if you played poorly then you looked even more ridiculous in those outfits….


Kenny Eller Kenny Eller September 19, 2010 at 8:42 pm


Wow! So cool that you found the site!!! I can’t believe a player like you hasn’t even shot in 10 years…wow! I don’t think you could miss every shot even if you tried 😉

I’m glad you enjoyed the post! When I face MJ, I will try and channel some of your shooting abilty from back in the day and for sure drain a three in his face :-)

Haha, yes the uniforms were crazy weren’t they. So funny :-)

Thanks for following along and for the support both then…and now. Much appreciated man. If there was no Brent Pauley…there may not be a me vs. MJ.


Rasheed Hooda March 8, 2012 at 10:53 am

It is time for me to expand my scope.

Thanks for the great post and link back from Mark Cuban post.



Kenny Eller Kenny Eller March 8, 2012 at 10:58 am

Yes, expanding your scope is KEY! Go get it Rasheed! Thanks for the comment!


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