Erin Raphael Pryor
Background and Career
Basketball is in my blood. Born and raised in Chicago, IL, basketball has legitimately been a part of my life from the beginning. My grandfather, Leroy "Red" Pryor, was one of the first African Americans to play college basketball at DePaul University in 1945. He continued his career into the pro's playing with the Harlem Globetrotters, Cleveland Phiffers, New York/Dayton Rens, Chicago Collegiate's, and the Harlem Hot'n'Tots through 1952. My grandmother, MaryJo Pryor, was one of the first women to ever play competitive basketball in Chicago during the early 1940's. They combined and gave birth to my father, Eryck Pryor, a true point guard at Chicago State University who later became the Head Coach of his alma mater, in 1990. A year later, I was born. With my father being a Division I head basketball coach, I was taught how to shoot at the tender age of thirteen months. Then at four years old, I began learning the fundamentals of the game and have continued to grow as a player since.
In 2009, I began my career at the University of Illinois-Chicago as a SOCCER player, yes soccer not basketball. It was there at UIC the basketball coaches recognized me from playing in high school and offered me the opportunity to play as a preferred walk-on "if I was interested". A few weeks later, with the opportunity still available, I realized I didn't love soccer as much as I LOVED basketball and I made the switch. I didn't know at the time, but that decision would ultimately shape my life and what it is today.
Three semesters into college my skills and athleticism were at an all time high, but my maturity, humility, and direction were all still in question. A few immature decisions off the court abruptly began an unconventional journey with the game I had just recently decided I loved more then anything.
In December 2011, after transferring from UIC to Triton College on Chicago's west side, I tore my meniscus, hamstring, and IT band all at once (three days before I was eligible to play!). Feeling lost and uncertain of my future in basketball, I decided to take a break and make an attempt to figure out my life as a young adult; outside of athletics. One problem.. the love of the game never left. I could never fully let it go.
Fall 2012: In the midst of using the pure love of the game to drive my comeback, an opportunity to play for the Chicago Steam in the ABA opened up and I seized it without any hesitation. For three years I balanced working at Starbucks, studying online, and playing semi-pro basketball in Chicago; ALL FOR THE LOVE!
Spring of 2015 would prove to be one of the most life changing season's of my existence on earth. I got an offer to work with Team Esface Basketball Academy in California (a childhood DREAM location) and never even considered an alternative. You mean I have an opportunity to coach and teach the game I love? In the place I’ve always wanted to live? I packed everything I owned into my 1997 Toyota Corolla and drove to the Bay Area. I’ve been living here for six years now (aside from living/traveling abroad) and loving every moment of it.
Fully investing in the game of basketball as a player, trainer, and coach, I've been able to travel around the country and world doing what I LOVE. From Chicago to California, up to Canada, up and down Europe (Belgium, France, Spain, and Holland), and even all the way in China, I've learned so many different lessons (on what TO and NOT to do) that I'm able to share with aspiring players of all ages. The obstacles and challenges of a college athlete, the importance of preparation in high school for the college level (on and off the court), how important a fundamental foundation is in skill development (professionals included!), and most importantly: everyone's path is different.
Experience has also taught me each level presents it's own new challenges, on the court... and in life. Simply put, Basketball is a #lifestyle. Focus, discipline, humility, diligence, self control, patience, confidence, skill, health, flexibility AND the right opportunity are all a part of being a successful basketball player (the right mix of character, skill, and physical ability). Understanding and possessing those things is 80% of what it takes.. The other 20% is CONSISTENCY. Individually, each person has the ability to control their consistency. Consistently looking for ways to improve physically and mentally, then consistently putting in the work to get better each day.
All in all, it's truly a blessing to still be involved with the game and I look forward to helping you advance on your journey. Thanks for reading.
Learn more about me when we meet 😄
Varsity HS @ King College Prep (Chicago)
NCAA D1 @ UIC 2009-11
ABA - Chicago Steam 2012-13
MPBA - Chicago Blues 2014-15
CEBL - Niagara River Lions Training Camp, Niagara Falls, Canada 2016-17
Tour Team/Academy - Super Nova Dongguan, Guandong, China 2018-19
Unsigned Pro European Tour (EBA)- Villanova I La Geltrú, Spain Fall 2019
Click Video Links Below