The Van Hoosen seventh grade boys basketball team went unbeaten (11-0) this season under first-year coach Fran Scislowicz.

The Van Hoosen seventh grade boys basketball team went unbeaten (11-0) this season under first-year coach Fran Scislowicz.

Photo provided by Fran Scislowicz

How one perfect basketball season lasts a lifetime for coach Fran Scislowicz

By: Jonathan Szczepaniak | Rochester Post | Published February 7, 2024


ROCHESTER HILLS — Every week, the Van Hoosen seventh grade middle school basketball players would get to see a picture of head coach Fran Scislowicz’s 18-month grandson, Stanley.

The light-hearted moments with Scislowicz, in his first year as head coach, made the team feel more personal and comfortable.

Scislowicz took the position at the last minute as a one-year emergency coach for the season, but the longtime Rochester Adams High School girls basketball (1991-2014) and softball coach, entering his 37th season in the dugout, was no stranger to Van Hoosen, a feeder school for Adams.

Scislowicz last coached the boys team in 2005, when they went 11-0, and he coached the seventh grade girls basketball team for 10 years afterward.

But this season was unlike any other for Scislowicz. As the team became more and more familiar with Stanley, the question that rang from the team was, “Why the name Stanley?”

Scislowicz explained to his squad that when he was 16 years old, his brother, Stanley, was killed in a hit-and-run accident at the age of 21.

When Scislowicz’s son was ready to name his now-18-month-old baby boy, he called up his father to let him know that he was going to name him Stanley.

When Van Hoosen needed a name for a baseline out-of-bounds play because the current strategy wasn’t cutting it, the team could only think of one name.

“We put in the new play, and I say, ‘Let’s call this ‘X,’ guys,’” Scislowicz said. “They go, ‘It’s a great play, but we can’t run X.’ I’m thinking they’re being defiant and that they don’t want to run my play. Three or four of the leaders come over and go, ‘Coach, we love the play, but we have to call it Stanley. We want you to have to say Stanley in the game out loud, because the meaning of your grandson and your brother.’”

For the rest of the season, Scislowicz would call out “Stanley” to his team on the sidelines for Van Hoosen’s play, and while some in attendance may not have understood, the impact it made on Scislowicz was immeasurable.

“The blessings to my heart and the meanings of those kids to think something like that, at that point I figured no matter what else happened in the season, mission complete,” Scislowicz said.

The young Van Hoosen players would also give their coach a perfect 11-0 season, Van Hoosen’s second perfect season at the seventh grade level this year after the girls basketball team went 12-0.

Scislowicz said there was one key aspect of his team he felt made them successful.

“The starters really poured into the third group to really make sure that everyone was on the same page, and I just really liked how much they cared and served one another,” said Scislowicz.

Scislowicz may have taken the job to help young players become better men, but little did he know the impact the team would make on him in such a short time.

The members of the seventh grade boys team are Blake Wozniak, Linus Thalman, Andrew Geottes, Max Durda, Brennan Lindstrom, Michael Drake, Mason Eleczko, Kellen Alexander, Brayden Markey, Evan Kuhlman, AJ Bedricky, Brady Hughes, Jacob Rice, Lucas Budrick and Jeremiah Price.

The members of the seventh grade girls team are Maddie Deering, Abby Deering, Juliana Elston, Evelyn Hoener, Ella Hunnicutt, Maddeline LaBrosse, Emilia Oberdier, Natalie Osburn, Leta Rieck, Priscilla Schloff, Kate Seymour, Jessica Soldan, Josie Tull, Grace Wagner, Kennedy Wilson and Eva Wordell.