Founder/CEO Vanessa Gidden
Vanessa Gidden is currently a professional basketball player who has played in Turkey, Finland, Romania, Italy, Israel, Spain, and Poland. She is also a member of the Jamaican National team, and is a former WNBA player for the Connecticut Suns and the Minnesota Lynx.
Gidden started playing basketball at Stamford High School in Connecticut; She averaged a double- double as a Junior and Senior, and became the first player in coach Curtis Tinnin’s history of coaching to receive a Division I scholarship. Gidden received a full scholarship to Attend Hofstra University.
Gidden attended Hofstra University in long Island New York. At Hofstra she became one of the greatest players to ever suit up for the Hofstra Women's Basketball team. She is the first Hofstra Basketball player in the history of the program to ink a deal with a WNBA squad.
In the 2005-06 season she was named Long Island Newsday's Female Athlete of the Week, team's Most Valuable Player, rebounder of the year. She was also named to the All-Metropolitan First Team. In the 2006-07 season she was the team’s Most Valuable Player and Hofstra University Female athlete of the year.
Gidden became the 18th player in Hofstra Basketball history to reach 1,000 career points. She received All-Tournament honors at the CAA Championship after leading Hofstra to its first-ever semi-final appearance. Gidden left a mark in several areas of the Hofstra record books. She finished with 1,489 points, 911 rebounds and 175 blocks. She ranked first all-time in program history in blocked shots, fourth in rebounding and sixth in scoring. Gidden was also the fifth-best shot blocker in the Colonial Athletic Association's history.
Vanessa graduated Hofstra with a degree in Business Administration (with a concentration in Business Marketing).
After her second year in college, Gidden represented the Jamaican National Team. She led team Jamaica to a perfect 4-0 record and the title at the Caribbean Basketball Championship. She became a gold, silver and bronze medalist in the Caribbean Championships. In 2007 Jamaica qualified for the Pan American games. That same year they went on to compete in the FIBA Americas games and again in 2011 and 2013.
Gidden fulfilled her childhood dream of playing in the WNBA. In 2007 she signed a contract with the Connecticut Sun, and in 2010 she signed with and played with the Minnesota Lynx.
In 2017 Vanessa completed her 10th year at the Professional level. She competed in the Euroleague and the Eurocup; which is the highest level of play in overseas basketball. She won a Championship in Turkey, Israel, Poland and two consecutive Championships in Spain.
Vanessa Gidden is a Jamaican native who moved to the United States at age 10. She is the youngest girl of five siblings (two older brothers, one older sister and one younger brother). Vanessa enjoys spending her free time with family and friends.
As Gidden continues to live her dreams she is grateful for the opportunity to help young players realize that their dreams can become reality through hard work, commitment and determination.
Coach John Hawthorne
John "Skip" Hawthorne had a terrific playing career. After playing at the collegiate level he went on to pursue his professional career. He played in the APBL, ABA; playing in countries such as Japan and China. He also had a chance to workout with the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets and Memphis Grizzlies. After finishing his professional career, John started HARDWORK24/7, INC. He has worked with some of the highest professionals in the NBA (Kevin Durant, Paul George, Smush Parker, Scott Machado, C.J. Watson, Kemba Walker, Chris McCullough, etc.) Skipp has also trained numerous overseas, collegiate, high school and middle school players across the nation. He has worked with some future stars at the collegiate level (AJ English, Cheick Dialo, Steve Enoch, Terrance Samuel, Isaiah Whitehead, Desi Rodriguez, Khadeen Carrington, Shamiek Sheppard, etc.). Skipp is an athletic trainer who focuses on the development of athletes and teams. He uses highly skilled cross training techniques that develops high motor skills and train basketball awareness.
Veez Hoop takes pride in providing top quality professional instructions to our players. Coach John is not only competent in his abilities but also parallels our vision as he demonstrates