WHAT PLAYERS SAY ABOUT US
Destine KawakaPOSTED: October 15, 2016
“When Zach kept constantly asking me to train with him for free at LA Fitness, I thought, “hmmmm why does he want me to train with him so bad?” Eventually I decided to give in and give him a chance to see what all the hype was about. I was so sore after the first two full weeks of training – I could barely move. But it was at that moment I realized the seriousness of the matter; I believed it was the start of something new. It took me a while at first to understand the process. His entire program was grueling and difficult, but I knew “no pain, no gain” so I stuck to it. After just the first month, I started realizing the crazy results he was promising. Jumping higher than ever before and completing dunks I could only dream of one day doing (already had a nice 32 inch vert, now I’m almost certain it’s 39 or 40 inches!), confidence in handling the ball anywhere on the court, moving quicker laterally on defense, becoming more physical around the basket, and shooting it without any doubt or hesitation most importantly. That’s when we both came to the conclusion that, “that Boi up to something”. After two months of training with Zach, he told me we’re going to start doing two-a-days, add in 60 flights of stair running/hopping every Wednesday afternoon (3,600 total steps), and play at an open gym on Thursday’s at 5:30am!!!!! At first I said “oh, you are out of your mind sir, I’m not doing all that!” because I thought it was too much. But Zach encouraged me it would all be worth it. I also thought about everyone else out in the world who has hoop dreams like me, they say, “there is always someone out there working harder than you.” With that in mind and Zach’s push, I was sold. I figured why stop now? Throughout the entire program Zach kept telling me, “you think all of this is hard??? Pshhh you ain’t seen nothing yet my friend! Just wait until I introduce you to the guy who used to train me!” His trainers’ nickname is ‘Ol’ Skool’, so all I kept hearing from Zach until I met the guy was “Ol’ Skool this, Ol’ Skool that, Ol’ Skool will get you right!” This is when the weight training and mental aspect got bumped to a whole ‘nother level! Ol’ Skool is a former Marine, so he had us doing some crazy ish!!! I’m talking incline benching 135 12x, then dropping immediately to the ground to do pushups for a minute! Squatting 225 12x, do one minute burpees, then going on the treadmill immediatley after all that to sprint on a full incline for a mile smh….. The first thing Ol’ Skool told me to do, as a mentor and former coach himself, was to start contacting UW about getting a scholarship to play football and walk on to the basketball team. Become a two-sport athlete. Contact other D1, D2, and NAIA schools too as a plan B in case UW falls through… I was stunned when he brought up the whole UW two-sport athlete scenario! I didn’t think it was possible because I was used to just being a role player at Edmonds Community College. My coaches at Edmonds CC said, “you could walk on anywhere, but you wouldn’t play much.” So that doubt in my TRUE ability was already ingrained in me. Zach and Ol’ Skool were able to remove that doubt from my head! What separates Zach’s training from any other workouts I’ve done with school teams or friends is the way he organizes and separates the basketball workouts and lifts into days. Certain days we work on a certain drill built to train one aspect of my game, another on another day. Lifting for certain parts of the body one day, others on another. It’s staggered in an orderly fashion. Drills were fun because of the competitive spirit, and his equipment is nice. I had fun hanging out and eating all types of smackables, and downing all kinds of drinkables too. The Aircast icing mechanism he’s got, Isopure protein and amino acid supplements, what more can I say… I lived any athletes dream training with Zach! While training with Zach, lots of people constantly asked me to play for their team. AAPBA, Puget Sound League, ZoLeague, Zeke-End, other weekend tournaments, Seattle Mountaineers, and even teams from the Seattle Pro/Am. Name any league or tourney in the Seattle area, and I bet someone other than Zach asked me to play lol. I only play for Zach’s Christian Faith teams because of Zach. He’s a man of faith like I am, and I share his vision in playing the game I love for the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ. In addition to the free training that has made me the player I am today, he treats his players with respect, and makes them feel wanted in his program. We’ve bonded in a way that only God could have orchestrated, and he’s become like a brother to me. I’m behind him 100% in what he’s doing. The vision he has for his club is so huge people don’t realize it. Christian Faith until I die. That’s 100. Lastly, If you are reading this expecting to hit up Zach for some free training and get the results I got overnight, THINK AGAIN! You need to buy in completely to Zach, and he’s not going to accept any sorry excuses in regards to fatigue and being sore! Forget about all you know or think you know. Be a sponge and listen to everything he says. Be open to criticism because it’s all constructive; he wants you to make progress in your game and will speak up if you’re not doing a drill or lift correctly. If you do this, you will get the results you want, I can promise that!
Kiante WoodsPOSTED: November 21, 2017
“I have probably known Zach longer than anyone else that has played for one of his teams (six years). Seeing the progress he’s made physically, spiritually, and professionally since the day I first met him is beyond words. If the Zach I met in 2011 stood side by side with the Zach I know now, I would think they were two different people. I remember when he first told me about his vision for Christian Faith two years ago after the Seattle Mountaineers offered him a game, and how he planned to grow the program each and every year. I was a part of his original vision; he’s wanted me to be his starting PG since day 1. “Why me?” is a question I still often ask Zach when there are other PG’s just as good if not better than me that he can pick up. At the time, his vision seemed like a huge stretch… One of those that sounds great, but also seems too good to be true. But that’s why I always kept in contact with him and played for his rec teams just in case something huge were to develop. Since then, Christian Faith has grown so fast that it’s almost hard to comprehend… The team has gone from a 13 game season last year while I was playing for Everett Community College to a possible 30 game season this year in my first season being the starting PG for his team. This vision he’s got is clearly God-ordained judging by the confidence he’s showed in it from the beginning, and it’s something no man can take away from him! Zach’s Christian Faith Basketball Club has blessed so many lives with an opportunity to continue playing competitive organized basketball at a really high level year round! We are vastly growing into a power house to be reckoned with at any level of play. Zach has told me hundreds of times over the years to stop ‘wasting’ my time hooping with scrubs daily, and to train with him full time instead. At first I was like “Okay, maybe he got a point, but Ima keep getting shots up on these bums and work on my craft…” Once I finally gave in and started training with Zach full time for a month straight this past summer, I immediately started seeing drastic changes in my game. Improved first step quickness, constant wet balls, higher vertical, more stamina, and a stronger overall physique. I had never felt so great on the basketball court in my life! Zach’s knowledge for the game is much higher than a lot of people may assume. I refer people to train with Zach only if they are really ’bout it. Because a lot of people say they are ready to train, then they will quit for all sorts of reasons the next week. His training is a combination of many workouts that professional and D1 college athletes often do, and his entire regimen is very rigorous. Idk how he does it sometimes… Zach has also boosted my IQ, and helped me grow mentally as a player in many ways through his training. He’s helped me understand as a PG when it’s time to take over a game, when is the proper time to do certain combo moves versus when I should keep it simple and go to the rack, when I should get other guys involved, and if I need to get a specific player a touch and how to do that effectively. Basically, he’s taught me there’s a time and place for every aspect of one’s game when on the court which is why he teaches the same things to everyone he trains regardless of position. That way nobody has a weak link since we’re all trying to perfect every aspect of one’s game. He’s put me in a position where I can learn the game of basketball 24/7 simply by committing myself to the Christian Faith Basketball Club year round. I love playing for CF teams because they are a great mixture of the best players in the North end, and some of the best in the South end of the greater Seattle area. It is fun to play with selfless players that know the game, know how to play team basketball, and will do anything including coming off the bench to win. What ultimately did it for me, in regards to commitment, was when Zach told me players should be committed as if they are under an imaginary pro contract. We can’t play or train with anyone else without his consent that way we’re already mentally and physically prepared for what it will be like playing professionally. Now whenever I get invited to play for any team in a rec league or tournament, I always call Zach out of respect for what he’s doing to see if he thinks it’s a good idea or if he has anything going on around the same time. I choose to play on CF teams due to the fact that I have another opportunity to prove others wrong about the talent that Christian Faith as an organization can put forth, and to be a part of the vision Zach shared with me two years ago. Everything happens for a reason; either a lesson or a blessing!
Jacob CaldwellPOSTED: December 14, 2017
Before I met Zach, the only times I would play basketball was in a local men’s league and occasionally some pickup at the Shoreline YMCA. Two years ago I seen a very well organized team warming up in the ZoLeague. They were running through organized UCLA-style layup lines you’d usually only see at the college or pro level while also throwing lobs and performing dunks. There was a photographer taking pictures at all of their games. I wanted to be a part of the live action, so I asked if I could hop in the layup line real quick. I threw one to myself off glass and Zach and his players all showed love. That moment was when I wanted to be apart of the Christian Faith Basketball Club in some capacity going forward – they were the team I wanted to play with. I wasn’t training or working on my game at all until I met Zach. I would go shoot around by myself or play pickup but that was it. Zach was honest with me from the start about the type of player he envisioned me becoming in his teams system, what I needed to work on to improve in those said areas, and was very adamant about being in the gym on a consistent basis. So I started training with him at LA Fitness multiple times a week as he’d get me in for free with his guest privileges. We lifted weights, did resistance training on the court and treadmill, agility ladders, resistance jump trainer similar to Vertimax, was in the gym doing skill work (ball handling, shooting drills, post moves, takes to the rack while being hit with a pad, and form shooting and passing with a heavy ball). He also added in a weekly 3,600 step stair workout and a weekly hill workout later on. I’m often on Instagram looking at NBA player training routines… Sometimes I come across a workout a well known NBA player is doing and I’ll send it to Zach letting him know that his knowledge for the game and basketball training is NBA caliber. Basically encouraging him to keep doing what he’s doing while also letting him know he’s a basketball training expert. Zach is very disciplined and great at motivating others giving them that extra push that we all need to elevate our game. He doesn’t accept any excuses when it comes to being sore, and he does a great job of leading his players by example on the court in addition to his training sessions. I enjoy playing basketball with Zach because he always plays hard, is very passionate about the game, has great vision, always looks to make the best play available, is great at encouraging and motivating his players during games, and has a high basketball IQ. I love playing with the Christian Faith organization because it’s managed very well by Zach, the players he recruits are all very talented and know how to play the right way, most of us grind together in the gym on a regular basis which develops a family atmosphere, and the schedule he puts together for us is very competitive. Who else is out there creating a 40+ game schedule participating in multiple tournaments and playing against the best prep schools, colleges, club teams, and ABA teams all along the I-5 corridor? And a scrimmage game versus the WNBA’s Seattle Storm this past April? You can’t beat it, and I am blessed to be apart of it.
Anthony LittlePOSTED: January 26, 2018
A year ago I was living with a family in Marysville. I was sleeping on the floor in a corner in their dining room. Life was miserable and I literally felt homeless at times. I was seriously contemplating retiring from all things related to basketball… Zach was one of very few people who’d often check up on me to see if I was ok and if I needed a ride to practice; he made me feel accepted and loved while I was at one of the darkest points in my life. Zach would often throw out the idea of having me move in with him at his Mom’s in Lynnwood so I could be in a more stable living environment and we could train together. Zach saw something in me as a person and a player I didn’t think I had anymore. Eventually I contacted him about moving in because the Marysville situation was beginning to be way too much for me, and I just simply wanted to be happy again… Zach’s Mom and Caleb & Hannah welcomed me into their home with open arms. They always showed me love, and were just an awesome family to be around throughout the 6 months I was living there. Zach was very aggressive in his approach to try to get me to train with him while I was his roommate. I trained with Chauncey Billups’ uncle in Tacoma growing up, so when Zach asked me to train with him, I thought he was being funny and didn’t feel as if I’d truly gain anything from it. I’d always try to ignore that question with him… But he touched my heart once I realized his dream and vision for the Christian Faith Basketball Club. It was at that moment I realized I needed to somehow create time to work with him in order to fellowship with the guys as well as better myself as a player. I learned many things from Zach’s training… Every day we worked on a different aspect of our game, and he always explains how his drills and conditioning directly correlates to how we’d use them in games. He took me to these stairs in Mill Creek this past summer for a 3,600 step workout… I went expecting it would be a cakewalk, but then when I saw firsthand the intensity of the workout and how he be doing 1,200 bunny hop steps and 1,200 single leg steps in addition to the 1,200 sprints, I thought he was out of his mind! He was making it look easy while wearing his strength shoes, and there I was huffing and puffing just trying to keep from puking… I gained a lot more respect for what he was standing for once I experienced his grind for myself. His IQ, knowledge, and passion for the game and helping others was very surprising to me. The most important thing I learned from Zach was don’t let someone tell you that you can’t do anything – because all things are possible with God on your side. I was one of those guys who used to try to talk him into charging people for his training because it irritated me seeing him give out his personable training and abundant knowledge for the game while getting nothing in return. What really threw me off was how he’d always respond to me: He’d always say “I don’t think that’s what God wants me to do right now…” with a peaceful tone and a smile on his face. It baffled me every time I heard him utter such words in a calm manner. The faith he has in God combined with his passion for giving back to the hoop community is truly inspiring. Eventually I realized that everyone’s motivation for doing something is different and what he sees may not be what you see. So while the public thinks he’s giving away free training and people are taking advantage of him because money ain’t involved, he’s actually giving back to better another person and fellowship with them while bettering himself and his network in return. I love playing with Zach’s CF teams because he has an eye for what would make a real strong team on and off the court, and he’s gifted at getting guys from all over the greater Seattle area to come fellowship through his training in order to make a fun successful team. We are like a band of brothers. Zach has touched my life in a special way that only God could have orchestrated. He and Caleb have become brothers to me, and their Mom is one of the best Mom’s if not the best that I’ve ever come across. I appreciate everything Zach and his family did for me, and the opportunity they gave me to get my life back on track. They will forever have a special place in my heart.
Anthony LittlePOSTED: July 26, 2019
The first time Zach and I met was a little over two years ago – after a men’s league game. Zach approached me and inquired about my interest in playing for the Christian Faith Basketball Club. He was quite persistent and presented himself as someone who was both serious and committed. I left that interaction feeling intrigued and curious about what Christian Faith BC was – and what it could offer me. I quickly realized that I had been offered a unique chance to grow as a basketball player, and in turn, grow as an individual within a small group of committed athletes. A little less than a year before joining Christian Faith, I embarked on a journey of recovery after enduring many years of addiction and drug use. In sobriety, it can be challenging and overwhelming to re-learn how to live life on life’s terms – without the temporary relief of drugs and alcohol. I remember the first year of recovery as triumphant, challenging, revelatory, and incredibly overwhelming. The urge to go back to that toxic lifestyle was attractive at times. My motivation to commit to sobriety came from my family, my friends, my support group(s), and my higher power. Joining Christian Faith at that time allowed me to strengthen my ambition to refrain from re-awakening some of the demons within my addiction. I choose to look at my initial meeting with Zach as more than a mere coincidence. There is randomness in life, but this was an act from a power far greater than me. At the beginning of my journey with Christian Faith, I was impressed by how focused and ambitious Zach was. In my experience, non-professional basketball clubs are often managed in a laissez-faire manner and tend to lack organizational structure. I learned quickly that Zach was extraordinarily skilled at communicating, organizing, developing his players, and following through with his word. In the athletic world, words like “talented” and “gifted” are often thrown around to describe achievements we deem otherworldly. Using those words to describe Zach would be drastically understating the work and effort he has put in, every single day. Zach has worked tirelessly to establish this team and truly embodies the often-misused term, NO DAYS OFF. As a member of Christian Faith, I have been blown away by the networking skills Zach seems to have mastered at such a young age. Our team plays in just about every organized tournament in the greater Seattle area and occasionally in Oregon & Canada. Put simply, if there’s a collegiate, ABA, or club team in the Northwest – I guarantee you Zach has a connection with someone in the program. If you aspire to play in competitive tournaments with a professional organization, that will challenge your growth as a player and a person, you have found the right place. In 2019, one can go online and see hundreds of workout videos with trainers who seem to market themselves as much – if not more – than the players or the actual training itself. Zach is different. Zach does not need to prove himself through Instagram videos or YouTube videos. What people fail to comprehend is WHY he constantly chooses to do the workouts with his players… He doesn’t do it for personal gain or for social media likes (like most of us do). His main motive in putting his body through the ringer is to lead by example; not to be able to dunk, outrun somebody, or get 20 inches of elevation on his jumpshot. Whatever his results are is secondary to what he’s sincerely trying to accomplish in the long run. Because if someone with Autism and epilepsy can do such rigorous training, then it limits the excuses we have to avoid working with him because he shouldn’t be outworking us by worldly prejudice standards. What really makes him a rare breed regarding commitment is the fact anyone can call or text him 24/7 saying “On my way” and he will stop whatever he’s doing in order to train (if he’s not already out training with someone). People often make fun of him for doing all these crazy workouts and still being “slow” or “unable to dunk” as if athleticism is the only key to being a good basketball player. Then have the nerve to say his training must not work because he’s not improving as an iso-centered basketball player at the same speed as his players improvements. And to make matters even more laughable, most of those same mockers come up to us individually after games and comment on how much better we’ve gotten, then ask what we’ve been doing. It’s like the thought of him being anybody’s trainer and yielding superior results just goes right above everyone’s heads because he’s the youngest Owner of a Pro/Am basketball organization who is also Autistic, not the most athletic, can’t dunk, and has the courage to use basketball as a platform to constantly stand up for what he believes spiritually (which a lot of people are uncomfortable with apparently). I am confident in saying that if I wanted to work out seven days a week with Zach; he would agree and prepare a detailed plan for each workout. Within any basketball organization, you would hope to have an adequate coach, trainer, and teammate. With Christian Faith, you have all three of those wrapped up in one person – and he’s not merely competent, he excels at all three roles. I am astonished to say that at 32 years old, I am operating and playing the best basketball of my life. I cannot stress enough, that the statement above would not be true without the training I have received from Zach. He takes a holistic approach to his players’ development and every facet of my game has improved since joining the team. Zach’s basketball IQ is far beyond his years and if a player comes in open, willing, and humble – they can expect the same results that I have seen in myself. In this line of work, you see a lot of big talkers and individuals who feel the need to state their credentials and credibility. Zach could easily do the same, but he would rather prove his worth through relationships, actions, and results. A 26-year-old Owner with Autism, who started running his own organization at 21, working harder than everyone else in any role you can mention, and ever-so-humbly letting his actions and testimonials speak for themself. Sounds like an E:60 documentary someday. They’ll mock him and write him off now… Then when his name starts to surface and he gets the respect he deserved so long ago from those doubters and naysayers he was only trying to help, he can just smile and walk away with the fundamental truth that he did everything the right way very selflessly while representing Christ and the true gospel of love and acceptance. They already showed us their true colors by searching for any excuse in the book to not train with Zach, never buying-in to his long term vision, then spreading lies about him behind his back all because he won’t let them ‘just get some runs in’ as if that’s going to get them playing professionally overseas any quicker lol. The unique part of my experience at Christian Faith has been the team bonding and spiritual foundation of this team. This is more than a team that plays in cool leagues & tournaments with one Ball Is Life camera. It’s an organization founded and ran by an Autistic individual who’s being used by God to do His work, leads players who are (in most cases) older than him by example, changes the hearts of the players who submit to him due to his commitment and humility, and it’s a men’s and women’s team that embraces a family-type lifestyle beyond what the outsiders see. You can expect to be challenged immediately coming in, and I have been faced with obstacles that have allowed me to grow as a player and as a man. You cannot create this kind of an organization without leadership and accountability. It’s offered me a chance to be involved with a group of supportive individuals who are devoted to athletic, personal, and spiritual growth. I consider Christian Faith BC to be a part of my recovery from addiction, and I am eternally grateful for the hope and inspiration this program has given me. Christian Faith Basketball Club is an organization that changes lives; it’s bigger than basketball.
Anthony LittlePOSTED: September 8, 2019
Two years ago I found out about a Christian-based men’s basketball team through Dwight Edwards – who invited me to come play vs Portland Community College. There was a few reasons why I decided to keep playing beyond that one game at PCC, and ultimately commit myself to this organization long term. 1) Seeing guys that I’ve played with & against from semi-pro ball and college ball made me excited to play again considering it had been a few years since I last played. 2) I was drawn to the Christ-base foundation that grounded the team. Having the ability to play basketball and fellowship is a perfect combination for me at this stage of my life. What keeps me motivated to stay in the loop (despite living four hours away) is I got clear word that I was wanted by the team and suppose to be apart of this program as often as possible. I felt this was a sign from God for me to get back into basketball, and I’m following the direction I feel God is pushing me towards. The distance can’t be a barricade to God’s calling. What I enjoy most about being apart of this organization is the combination of fellowship, team comradery, and overall competitiveness. These are three major components to me because it shows a lot about the Christian Faith organization and the players on the team. We fellowship by working out together with Zach and doing men’s gatherings at his place, we are not afraid to speak on social issues or our individual religious beliefs before and after games, and we compete at the highest level every game and enjoy being around each other during the process. Those three things I listed makes this an organization that’s worth speaking highly about. I have a lot of respect for Zach and the way he manages all of the egos that come with organized competitive basketball at a high level. His blueprint of keeping the band together through weekly training, open gyms, and offseason men’s gatherings clearly works – which is another reason why I enjoy being apart of this.
Kelly EdwardsPOSTED: October 15, 2019
Three years ago, I received a Facebook friend request and message from someone I’d never seen or met before. It was Zach – asking me if I’d be interested in being a part of this new team he’s trying to start. At that time, I was only playing for fun aside from Seattle Pro/Am and a few tournaments, so the idea of playing competitive year-round basketball was intriguing to me. What was on my mind after reading Zach’s message was who is this guy and how does he know me? How competitive is it going to be? Who else is playing? I question a lot and maybe too much at times, but with having a family and a very busy work schedule I have to be cautious on what I commit my time to. I ended up coming to the 2016-2017 season opener at Highline to meet Zach in person and check it out for myself. I decided to stick around and remain in the loop because of the competition level despite us not really having a reliable core group of players in the beginning. I was one of the many people who questioned the teams name, but I mainly asked because I didn’t want to deter other players from joining based on the name being Christian Faith and people thinking you had to be Christian to join. I got that question hundreds of times from people throughout first two years. We had a last-minute scheduled practice during December 2017 midway through the second season where Zach and I got into a big argument and I decided to quit because I felt disrespected by some of the things he said to me. Respect is high on my priority list. We talked over the phone a month later trying to come to a mutual understanding since we clearly weren’t seeing eye-to-eye during that practice. I told Zach the way he communicates with people at times rubs the wrong way simply because of his aggressive delivery at times. He understood my perspective, then followed up by explaining his personal background. He expressed how proper communication has always been a struggle of his due to being Autistic, things he’s improved on, and made a promise to continue working on that. He also opened up to me during this conversation about what the bigger picture entails for CFB and broke it down to a year-to-year progressive action plan on how he intends to accomplish those things for the organization. It was at that moment in our conversation things all started to click for me and how his overall mission is so much bigger than a basketball team. I decided to come back and keep playing for multiple reasons; 1) He told me how important I am to the organization, 2) I saw the potential of what CFB could turn into, 3) I noticed the vision slowly starting to form. The reason I came back was solely due to the bigger picture and what could happen going forward, and I knew I could help simply by remaining a part of the teams core group. It’s also easier for me now to see through any temporary BS that comes up between anyone on the team due to knowing and comprehending what the bigger picture for the CFB vision all entails. Going into year three, Zach made it a requirement for players to workout with him multiple times a week during the summer if they wished to remain a part of the team. At first, I didn’t care for it because it came across to me like he’s wanting to control our individual workout schedules. I never had a trainer before, and I always like having my own schedule and working out only on what I want to work on. I was skeptical on how he could help me and if he knew what he was doing considering he is very young and had never played organized basketball at any level before starting CFB. After working with him several times over the summer of 2018, I learned he has a very unique passion for the game, his dedication towards helping his players grow is second to none, he wants people to spend quality time with him while earning the trust of others, and he’s trying to offer a one stop shop to make his organization more professional and a cut above the local ABA teams structurally. Aside from a few Seattle Pro/Am teams and the year I played with Seattle Mountaineers, the established core group here at CFB is easily one of the best teams I’ve ever been a part of. I appreciate the effort Zach has put into creating a true culture at Christian Faith through various offseason activities, and the attempt he has made to create an all-around family environment. The value system and the core beliefs at Christian Faith go beyond basketball, and that’s something everyone can respect regardless of religious denomination.