by Peter Walsh
At just 5-7, Toronto native Kingsley Costain had to rely on his long-range shooting to compensate for his lack of size on the court. A true gym rat, Costain’s shooting acumen led him to a playing career that included successful stops at Pepperdine University, NAIA school, Concordia University (California) and a spot on the Canadian National Team that won a Bronze medal at the 2004 Under-21 Tournament of Americas. Though his playing days are numbered, Costain is still heavily involved in basketball as the owner, founder and president of Next Level Training and Development, a coaching and training program located on the west coast. While Costain has had a lengthy history with the game of basketball as a player and trainer, it is his next business move that may be his best yet.
Costain has teamed up with his former college teammates Michael Johnson and Ryan Holmes to form Shooter’s Revolution, a company set to launch a brand new, revolutionary basketball called the EVO ONE. The idea behind the EVO ONE is actually quite simple: Not everyone can afford a shooting coach and those who can, can’t have the coach around 24-7. So the EVO ONE ball acts as a coach, using modern technology (a removable chip) to measure the shooter’s motion, emitting an audible tone when the player gets the correct backspin. The ball is regulation size, comes in both youth and adult sizes, and with the removable chip, can be used for both training and playing.
All great jump shooters develop the proper mechanics with extra work in the gym—or as Costain and his team call it, “The 25th Hour”—and the EVO ONE provides players with an opportunity to track their progress and ensure that they are using the correct mechanics every time they touch a basketball. With a successful Kickstarter campaign underway raising money and global awareness for the EVO ONE, Costain gave SLAM an inside look at the ball and its benefits for players of all ages.
SLAM: How much can the EVO ONE really substitute for an actual shooting coach?
Kingsley Costain: It’s a coach inside of a basketball, it forces any player of any age and skill level to focus on correct mechanics. It’s vital to have the correct mechanics, especially the follow through and the flick of the wrist which creates the backspin on the correct axis of the basketball. So many gadgets and products out there are great but the focus is on other things.
We thought, “What’s the common thing that every great shooter shares? What’s taught to every basketball player at a young age?” And that’s the follow through and the flick of the wrist. We pretty much based our whole idea and concept around that because every shooter needs those tools. We train young kids to college kids—I still have guys who struggle with the flick of the wrist and the follow through. The EVO ONE reinforces shooting the ball with the correct mechanics whether the coach is there or not. For the younger kids it builds muscle memory and confidence and confidence is huge in anything.
SLAM: Why is it so hard to teach young kids the proper mechanics of a jump shot?
KC: It’s not really hard, it’s just now a days people want the quick fix or the shortcut. There is no shortcut, it’s hard work and repetition; that’s the mother of all learning. What our ball does is make people work out more effectively and efficiently. You can be in a gym shooting a ball and not know whether you’re doing things wrong and shooting with incorrect mechanics even though you’re making the shot. What our ball does is make sure you know that you’re doing things correctly and at the same time hopefully you make the shot. It gets you better overall.
SLAM: Does that fall in line with Shooter’s Revolution and “The 25th Hour” ideology?
KC: “The 25th Hour” is the extra hour in a day that you have to sacrifice for greatness. We’re pushing kids to inspire them—you have to work, you have to grind every day, there’s no shortcut. People want to get put on and take the easy way out but our whole brand to push to the world is you have to put in that work and grind that 25th hour, that extra hour.
SLAM: The Shooter’s Revolution Team—you, Michael Johnson and Ryan Holmes—how did you guys link up and start working together?
KC: I played at Pepperdine with Ryan Holmes, he was a great friend of mine and a great teammate. When I left, I went to Concordia (CA) and played with Michael Johnson for my last year. Michael Johnson was a great friend and teammate and I would always tell these guys, if I ever start anything, whether it’s in Canada or not, I’m bringing you guys aboard and hopefully we can keep our friendship and business. We always joked about it but when I had this idea, that joke became a reality and right away they were on board. We just got together and developed this product and company.
SLAM: Where did you get the idea and inspiration for the EVO ONE?
KC: My specialty is shooting and a lot of kids come to me for shooting, I always had great mechanics. A lot of younger kids struggle with their mechanics and the older kids also struggle. I always told them they had to work on it on their own time during the 25th hour, working with me isn’t enough. I thought if I had a ball that made a noise every time they had the right mechanic it would be beneficial. When that idea dawned upon me, I told people about it and they believed in me and told me it would make sense if I created it. From there I contracted engineers and it kept developing, I got in touch with the right people and followed up on every lead and three years later, we have the ball.
SLAM: Have you been using the EVO ONE ball with the players you train?
KC: Yeah, I have been using the prototype with a couple kids that I’ve been training with to work on their mechanics. Their mechanics have definitely improved. When I first got the ball, I would show the kids at my house and it became a game. Back in the day, you remember when you would lay down and shoot straight up to work on your mechanics? These kids were laying in my living room working on their form. I don’t know any kid who lays on their bed and does that anymore, the ball brought that back.
SLAM: Tell me about the Kickstarter campaign…Have you been seeing a lot of success?
KC: The whole key to everything is consistency and keeping the momentum and so far it’s been good. We have raised over $25,000 and we have another few weeks. We have been getting a lot of people from China, France, Australia and Germany to donate which has been surprising. Our PR team has been doing a great job and with social media the way it is now, it’s reaching a lot of people. It’s been a great response and feedback and everyone is excited, we can’t can’t wait for it to come out.
SLAM: What are some goals going forward for your EVO ONE and your team?
KC: In a few years we definitely see it taking off. We also have a youth ball and we really think we’re revolutionizing basketball in the world. We’re trying to improve the mechanics of shooters all around the world and inspire kids to follow their dreams and put in that extra hour and let them know there is no shortcut. We see the ball being everywhere in the world, every sporting goods store and department store and being available to everyone.