It has been two years since Ron Trapps put on a Coastal Carolina uniform but the Lancaster, SC native is making a name for himself by training the NBA’s next stars.
Last summer, Trapps helped train two of the NBA’s next top talents in Sindarius Thornwell and Torrey Craig. At the time when all of this unfolded, Trapps said he really didn’t know what he was doing.
“I didn’t have all the numbers and all the research that I needed when I first started,” said Trapps. “Initially, I used the time that I spent training as a way for me to stay in shape and help out these players in preparing for scouts and summer practices.”
One of those players was Sindarius Thornwell, the 2017 SEC Player of the Year and a leader in the South Carolina Gamecocks’ magical run to the Final Four in the 2017 NCAA Tournament. Thornwell, who is also Trapps’ cousin, was drafted in the second of the 2017 NBA Draft by the Milwaukee Bucks.
Thornwell’s draft rights would then be traded to the Los Angeles Clippers.
Trapps talked about what it was like to see someone so close to him get drafted into the NBA.
“It was surreal,” said Trapps. “We had a big draft party for him with about 300 to 400 people and I was sitting next to him right when he got the call.”
Trapps said that his stock as a professional trainer only went up after Thornwell was drafted.
“It really helped me out in getting my name out there in a business that I was new to,” said Trapps. “As a trainer, you have to have credibility, so having an NBA guy under my belt this early in my career, I knew I had to take that and run with it.”
Thornwell finished his rookie year playing in 73 games for the Clippers, starting in 17 of those games. Thornwell averaged 3.9 points per game, shooting roughly 43 percent from the floor.
Another player that Trapps trained last summer was Torrey Craig. Craig played at the University of South Carolina Upstate from 2010 to 2014 and went undrafted in the 2014 NBA Draft. Craig has bounced around from team to team in Australia before signing a deal with the Denver Nuggets this past year.
“Torrey and I go way back,” said Trapps. “He and I grew up together and while he played at Great Falls High School and I played at Lancaster, we would shoot hoops together in the summer. When he got the chance to play in the summer league this past year, I reached out to him and offered to train him and he was all for it.”
Craig finished the year appearing in 39 games for the Nuggets and averaged 4.2 points per game.
This summer, Trapps has been busy with more NBA prospects reaching out to him.
Sheldon Mitchell, who helped guide Clemson to a Sweet 16 appearance in this past year’s NCAA Tournament, is one of the players that Trapps has trained. Gabe Devoe, another star on the 2017-2018 Clemson team, also using Trappshoopz, the name of Trapps' training business.
“It is all about the relationships I made as a player,” said Trapps. “Sheldon was on Sindarius’ AAU team and he and I would play together growing up. Devoe is Sheldon’s roommate so that is how that connection was established. They reached out to me via social media and I was all for it.”
And while the training job has worked wonders for Trapps in the past year, it almost never happened. Trapps had a chance to become a coach at his old high school, Fork Union Military Academy but something happened that change his mind.
“When I got done school at North Carolina Central, I moved back to Myrtle and looked for work,” said Trapps. “I got the opportunity to coach and train some kids for Manzer Basketball Academy which was created by a former Chanticleer basketball player Colin Stevens. It was during that time that my heart swayed from coaching over to training. Eventually I do want to get back to coaching but I want to work and become one of the best trainers in the world.”
For anyone to be successful, one must know how to market themselves and their business. Trapps opened up about an interesting marketing opportunity from one of the most popular soda brands.
“Sprite reached out to me on social media after I tweeted out how much I like their product,” said Trapps. “They then asked me for my address and they sent me this big box filled with gear that ranged from hats to a jacket. Then they sent me another box about three weeks ago with some more gear and offered the opportunity to me to put a video together for their ‘#CatchASprite’ challenge they had going on social media.”
Trapps did just that and the video he created was posted to all of Sprite’s social media sites.
Trapps credits his faith and support from his friends and family for the recent success in his life.
“I just take it a day at a time,” said Trapps. “I don’t get too high or too low. I know that if I keep grinding, treat people the right way, have faith and do what I am put here on this earth to do then all the chips will fall in the right places.”
Trapps played for Coastal Carolina from 2012 to 2016 and was a part of the 2014 and 2015 teams that won the Big South Tournament and went to the NCAA Tournament. Trapps, who missed his entire freshman season due to injury, would later transfer to North Carolina Central and used his final year of eligibility to help guide the Eagles to the MEAC title and the program’s second ever NCAA Division I Tournament appearance.
When Trapps is not training the next NBA stars, he spends his days working full-time at Palmetto Citizens Against Sexual Assault where he is the Project Coordinator.
Trapps graduated from Coastal Carolina in May of 2016 with a degree in Mass Communications. Trapps received his degree in Athletic Administration at North Carolina Central in May of 2017.