The Team

Emily & J-Dub

Hi, I’m Emily (on your right) and this is J-Dub.  I’m the keeper of the Keys To The Gym, our virtual sacred space for developing and growing as players and people.

If you’ve ever been the first person in the gym or had the privilege of having your own keys to a gym, then you have seen a dark gym before.  I can remember so vividly the times I opened the gym doors at my high school at 5AM and fumbled through the dark to get to the lights.  We had the old school gym lights that take a while to warm up, so the light gradually became brighter and brighter.  Slowly but surely my senses woke up, and I relished the sounds of the ball bouncing and the net’s swoosh as I trained; I was not just practicing, it was a practice in and of itself.

My keys to the gym, and the access it granted me, led to some of the most profound moments in my career.  Today, I’m trying to bring that magic and depth to this Keys To The Gym site so that you (whoever and wherever you are) make the most of your keys to the gym.  Our way is lit here by the wisdom of the great minds of Dick DeVenzio and Dena Evans, and it’s seasoned with the influence of John Wooden’s life and work.  Our janitor, J-Dub, was named in honor of Coach Wooden.  His essence is fashioned after many of the janitorial staff members the various gyms I’ve spent time in; generous, humble, kind, and wise.   You can learn more about J-Dub and the Keys To The Gym story at Between The Lines.

My role with Keys To The Gym is to make sure that the philosophy of Dick DeVenzio, Dena Evans, and PGC Basketball gets passed down to another generation (and as many people in that generation as possible).  Dena learned from Dick, and I learned from Dena.  Dena has been a dear coach, mentor, and friend for a long time (there she is with my son Galileo).
I have and continue to gain so much richness in my life on and off the court from Dick’s and Dena’s wisdom.  The purpose of this site is to share their work with the world so that everyone can enjoy and engage in the teachings that helped me find deeper satisfaction in basketball and life.  I edit and manage all the content for Keys To The Gym, which is an honor.  But an even greater honor is that I have the pleasure and responsibility to connect with any and everyone who wants to put these philosophies at work in their game and their lives.  I am here to help you find the keys to the gym and keep them sacred.
I have been around Championships my whole life.  When I was in fourth and fifth grade the Houston Rockets won their back to back championships (Mario Ellie gave me his championship hat right off his head).  I witnessed all four of the Houston Comets WNBA Championships in person (I still have the confetti).  In high school, in addition to being a Nike All-American and Texas Player of Year in 2003, my team won three State Championships.  At Baylor University I got another ring.  We won it all in 2005 (that’s me to the left about to knock down one of my five 3’s in the National Championship game and me to the right after an awesome “and 1” finish by a teammate).
I know a lot about winning (there I am basking in the glory of it with teammate Jordan Davis below).  And I know a lot about traditional ideas of success.  From my experience though, it is a great travesty to have your investment in the game of basketball be motivated by winning only.  The best memories I have of the game are 5AM shoot arounds with my Dad, shooting a wet ball on dark rainy nights in my driveway, conversations with Dena about my approach to my game (and my life), hugging a teammate after being subbed out of the National Championship game, and my high school athletic director giving me the keys to the gym.  That’s the good stuff.
Keys to the gym is about that stuff.  It’s the part of basketball that goes way out of bounds, off the court, and deep into your soul.  But only if you let it.  Most people don’t get it.  But it is special to me and has influenced my life and my career immensely.

9 comments on “The Team

  1. I finally had the time to look at this new website. Emily, this is great and wonderful writing and wisdom!
    Will enjoy reading! Peggy

  2. This is a great site – I adore your philosophy – my daughter loves the game of basketball for all the reasons you list on your site. We can’t wait to meet you at Acadia!!

    • Thank you Trish, I hope you and your daughter enjoy all of the stuff here. And the philosophy is a daily art that I have been discovering over years with Dena Evans lighting the way for me, sharing it here is a special opportunity for me. I am so happy to be at Acadia, thank you for stopping by!

  3. Hi Emily. I just got back from my third summer in a row of experiencing a PGC summer course as an observing coach. They were all great, informative and life changing for me as a coach and as a person. Everything taught just really clicked with my own philosophy but really helped me grow even more. Of course each summer I went so did my daughter who is a player of mine. It has been so awesome to see her grow as a player and person in her own right. The PGC experience has given us memories to last a lifetime.
    Thanks for this website and giving us “reminders” of all the things we have learned.
    – Doug

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