Hoop Dreams

Eight years ago, when Luke Guanzon of Refinery Strength and Conditioning in West Harrison was a trainer at The Gym in Armonk, he saw a man he describes as “jacked” admiring his own six-pack in the mirror. Guanzon asked if he wanted to join him on a workout, which he did, but just 90 seconds in, Guanzon says his new workout partner “fell down on both knees, then walked out of the room.” 

Guanzon trained three of the top-10 2016 NBA draft picks, including the No. 2, pick, Duke’s Brandon Ingram (third from left).

That man was former Baltimore Ravens All-Pro running back and New Rochelle native Ray Rice, who was then training for the 2008 NFL Draft. 

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Rice went straight to his agent and asked him to hire Guanzon as his personal trainer. Six years later, sports-management titan Excel Sports Management was looking for a strength coach in the New York area to prepare its draft-class players for the NBA Combine, where they are evaluated by pro scouts and coaches. Rice’s  agent remembered Guanzon, and after an interview with Excel president Jeff Schwartz, Guanzon got the gig. 

“Luke has been an essential part in preparing our players for the biggest stage of their lives,” says Schwartz. “His thorough assessments and individualized approach means each guy gets the training that is best for him, laying the groundwork for a successful season.”

This year, Excel represented three of the top-10 picks in the NBA Draft: Brandon Ingram (No. 2), Jamal Murray (No. 7), and Thon Maker (No. 10)—and Guanzon trained them all. 

 “You get star-struck a little bit, but you look past that,” says the 33-year-old Guanzon. “You’re meeting Brandon Ingram, who’s already a star, but then you talk to him, and he’s just a regular guy. You almost forget who you’re barking orders at.”  


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