Level Up LI Basketball

Level Up LI is one of the fastest growing youth travel AAU basketball programs in the tri-state NY area. We offer competitive teams, and training for boys and girls of all ages and skill levels. Our mission is to create the top travel basketball teams focusing heavily on individual and team development for our players both on and off the basketball court. Our primary focus is to help our players reach their full potential.  ALL of our coaches and trainers excelled at the college and/or professional basketball level. We have a young, energetic culture with a staff that is passionate for the game. 

Based in Long Island, NY.


As a parent of a young teenage boy, and in my former role as the Director of Athletics at a Division I University, I have had the unique opportunity and privilege of living and breathing athletics on many levels. I have attended and participated in hundreds of youth basketball programs throughout the the United States. And I can say with all honesty and conviction that the Level Up Long Island basketball program is a shinning example of what youth basketball should entail. Level Up LI has created a classy and quality program. I was extremely impressed with the coaching staff, which consists of former collegiate and professional basketball players. Their knowledge and coaching skills are top notch. I am proud to say that my child is coached in basketball and life skills by the Level Up team. 

- Brad Cohen: Former Director of Athletics, LIU Brooklyn & Father of 9th Grade Boy

I wanted to thank you and the other coaches for the opportunity to tryout for your 9th grade AAU team! I really enjoyed the tryout and have already learned a few new things and enjoyed playing with the other strong talent at the tryout! I have previously played before on other AAU teams and I feel Level Up definitely runs the best and most organized tryout!  I was impressed by the coaches and their level of knowledge of the game and feel that I can learn a lot! 

- 10th Grade Player

When I first started my search for the best local basketball program for my two sons, I was made aware of Level Up LI, and immediately I liked what I saw.  Basketball is a challenging sport and for a frustrated young boy they could easily give it up and play something else. I wanted a supportive atmosphere that focused on the fundamentals and provided a structured approach to improving each of their players.  I needed a coach that could teach an athletic kid the proper footwork and positioning.  Level Up LI continues to meet my expectations for both my sons and it is reflected in their game.  Watching them play basketball the right way, with confidence, is all I need to know I made the correct choice.

- Father of 3rd & 7th Grade Boys

We just wanted to say thank you for the kind message that you sent my daughter. We are both physicians and during the tough time we have not been home much. She has been really sad and misses us a lot and is scared. Your player evaluation email really brightened her day. She even printed it out and put it in her room. Being a coach is so much more than what you do on the court. Just wanted to say thank you!! You made her day and therefore ours too. 

- Parent of 4th Grade Girl 

I would like to thank all the Level Up coaches on The exceptional skills and development that you guys have instilled in both my boys. Your hard work and attention to each individual has raised the boys mental and physical game. Thank you for taking your time to evaluate them and help them Level Up their game!

- Luisa Mifsud: Mother of 3rd & 6th Grade Boys

We cannot say enough wonderful things about the Level Up program. Our 11 year old son, Aaron, has been a part of several teams over the years. We have never seen a program run so efficiently and professionally as Level Up. They are always proactive and one step ahead, from practices to games to clinics. The coaching is the best we have seen. They are knowledgeable, organized and always teaching and motivating the team. They make sure our son is challenged and constantly working to his full potential and beyond. Level Up even provides opportunities for clinics over school breaks, as well as at-home training through an online app. They make sure their players are always working on their skills, while at the same time making sure they are having fun. Our son asks to participate in all the clinics and looks forward to the practices and games. This organization is an example of the way a travel team should be run. They continue to amaze us each and every day with their new and innovative ideas. We are so grateful to be part of the Level Up Family and we look forward to watching Aaron continue to flourish as a basketball player through this incredible program.

- Adam Jacobs: Father of 5th Grade Boy

We've actually never met Coach Jesse and the Level Up LI team - in person. In fact, we don't even live in Long Island, NY. With the start of the Coronavirus pandemic, we signed our son, Spencer, up for one-on-one skills training via the app, Famer. It has been a great experience we otherwise would not have had the opportunity to have. Spencer looks forward to new drill videos three times a week. He practices and then uploads a video of himself performing the drill. Within hours, he is provided with thorough and meaningful feedback. He is learning the details of the sport (at his own pace) and improving greatly. Most importantly, he is having fun and feeling good about his accomplishments. 
Training through the app has been technically seamless and Level Up LI is very professional. I applaud them for thinking outside of the box to continue to share their knowledge and love of the game. We definitely recommend Level Up LI for development at any level.
- Jessica Roppa: Mother of 5th Grade Boy

My son has been in the Level Up Program for 2 years.  The program has been invaluable in the growth and development of my son. We have done other programs as well as a comparison and hands down Level Up is the best program on Long Island. A large part of my sons growth is attributed to all the great mentoring and coaching Jesse and his expert staff has provided.  In addition, Jesse is always readily accessible to always speak in depth about the progress of your child. I would highly recommend this basketball program for any child that is serious about basketball and wants to learn and get mentored by the best in the industry. 

- Matt Dorf: Father of 3rd Grade Boy

My son Ryan has been training with Coach Jesse for a few weeks now. He actually plays with a competitive program in Long Island who doesn't have anything to offer digitally so we signed him to give him something to do as he was completely losing his motivation. This program gave him something to do each day. The accountability that's missing with no games, practices or team was hard for him since he's motivated by competition and the social aspect of playing basketball. Now he has that back. The two way communication and analysis gives him that sense of competition back. He wants the videos he submits to be perfect knowing a coach will review which forces him to practice and work hard and more importantly, work towards something. It also allows us to spend more time together while we're reviewing the drills and I'm filming him. I can definitely see how this could be used to help kids get better even when we're back on the courts together. Thanks so much for this. 

- Rich Abend: 7th Grade Parent

I’ve been training with Level Up now for 2 years! I started when I was in 2nd grade and played up in a 3rd grade league so it was harder to score, rebound, and pass. We lost in the semi finals and this made me motivated me to work harder and to start training a lot. I wanted my peak to start now, and it did. There could be a lot of time left in my peak but no one knows how long. This year in 2020 because of the covid-19, Coach Trevor started to come to my house to work on my left hand. Every time he comes I get BETTER AND BETTER AND BETTER. He pushes me to be the best that I can be.

- Luca Perna: 3rd Grade Player

I want to thank the Level Up program! The coaches do a great job guys helping me learn how to play the game of basketball the right way and help make my moves and ball handling better.

- Michael Misfud: 6th Grade Boy

The Level Up program is one of a kind.  It has been an amazing experience for our son and I cannot say enough great things about it.  They have phenomenal instruction, and the coaches are highly skilled, professional, and engaging.  My son has formed amazing friendships, and we love watching the camaraderie between him and his teammates, at tournaments or just at practice, on and off the court.

- Doug Link: Father of 4th Grade Boy

Coach Carson has been coaching my 8th grade son Aidan for several seasons and we consider ourselves very lucky. He has the perfect balance of passion, enthusiasm, knowledge of the game and patience. Some coaches are passionate but lack patience. They yell and scream to try and motivate the players and demonstrate their passion but it rarely works. During a game, Carson yells and screams INSTRUCTIONS, not insults or complaints at his players. He never berates them after a game if they made a mistake but also doesn't forget the mistake they made. He addresses the mistakes at the next practice to make them a better player and us a better team. I think the fact that Carson's "day job" is as a school teacher helps. I'm sure his college education and his life experience as an educator has taught him how to balance passion and patience. He is the person you want "teaching" your child the game of basketball and the life lessons that come from it.

After a game, Carson is usually just as sweaty as the players because he bounces around (never sits) and often runs on to the Court (not sure if that's legal) to shout instructions to his players. As a former star college player and avid basketball fan, Carson knows the game and knows how to strategize. We have won more than one game when, with seconds to play, Carson called a time out, whipped out his coaches play board and devised a play on the spot.

One of my favorite things that Carson did was when he took the time to write individual evaluations of each player on the team (I guess that was the educator in him). I'm sure this took some time and he didn't get paid any extra for doing it but he did it because he cares. In each individual evaluation he first spoke about the players strengths. He then went on to a "Let's improve" section, purposely avoiding the word "weaknesses" because criticizing a player, not making him/her feel good about themselves, is not helpful. The evaluation was amazing. Having watched my son play since 3rd grade, no one knows him better. Carson mentioned EVERY strength and “let’s improve” item that I could think of. It was like he read my mind but put it down on paper more succinctly, accurately and positively than I ever could have. I am so grateful to have him as my son’s coach.

- John Colonna: Father of 8th Grade Boy

My son Cooper Smith has had the pleasure of being part of the Level Up program for close to two years now.  To watch the continued growth of the program over these two years has been remarkable as they continue to add teams and players all with the goal of improving the experience for all of the children.  Cooper has continued to mature and expand his skill set and overall game thanks in large part to the coaching and guidance that he has received from his coach (Carson) and the head of the program (Jesse). The progress made by the team and Cooper has been noticeable as they continue to grow together on and off the court. I expect Cooper's game to continue to improve and develop in-line with the overall program and the coaching provided by Carson (educates, disciplines, motivates) and look forward to the future.

- Chris Smith: Father of 8th Grade Boy

This Winter was our first experience with Level Up and it was a very positive one.  From the real try-outs with player numbers and evaluations to selecting teams based on their thoughtful process, we were off to a great beginning. Communication and organization was always good - mostly using a scheduling app. Coach was top notch and showed leadership, skill, and commitment in each practice and game. Team was competitive with a great group of boys. Can't wait to come back!

- Allison Muller: Mother of 6th Grade Boy

Level Up falls into the category of an elite program. Founder Jesse Winter brings a great mix of energy, discipline, fun, and a high level of instruction only former top college players and professional players can offer, which trickles downs to the rest of the coaches. He is patient but a very challenging coach that can bring out the best in your son or daughter. Kids are drawn to Jesse’s personality as he is able to push their skill level each time they are on the court in practice or especially in a game.

- Mitch Hassenbein: Father of 5th Grade Boy

Level Up is a well run and unique program that balances competition, camaraderie and player development equally, all the while ensuring that fun is the main objective. The training Level Up offers is second to none as the coaches break down the game seamlessly. They teach all the fundamental skills necessary to perform to your max in a game situation.

- Marc Bender: Father of 6th Grade Boy

Program Director Jesse Winter literally made my boys' weeks during quarantine. When they began his program on Famer and his zoom classes they felt that they once again had a schedule, a strong connection to a basketball coach they loved and respected, and felt motivated to practice and improve their basketball skills. This program and these classes were such an important part of their day and made them feel a sense of belonging to a basketball program that they had missed during the first month we were stuck at home. It is amazing how Jesse was able to foster happiness, meaningful connection, motivation, skill improvement and great physical workouts all virtually. That takes talent, understanding, patience and dedication.  I would recommend these programs and Jesse Winter as a coach to everyone.  You would be lucky to have him! 

- Jen Sussberg: Mother of 5th & 7th Grade Boys

My son, Philip La Rosa is a high school senior and couldn’t be happier with the coaching, mentoring and resource tools he has received from Level Up. The founder, Jesse Winter and Directors at Level Up embrace a business model which promotes a multi-faceted approach to developing young players and teams. During Covid-19 Level Up was a leader in rolling out virtual training videos and the Famer app to keep players active, motivated and in contact with their coaches. Level Up promotes a culture of respect and inclusiveness where the very best coaches are placed amongst all skills levels. We feel very fortunate he’s part of this basketball community who genuinely cares about its kids and remains invested and committed to the success of each player, both on and off the court. Level Up welcomes its players with a view to nurturing their progression over the long term. Level up also believes in broadening players’ perspectives with the launch of their recent podcast. The opportunities are great when you’re part of the Level Up program. My son has greatly benefitted from the seasoned advice of Level Up’s leadership as he embarks on his next journey and it’s gratifying to know he’ll always have a treasured relationship with his Level Up family.

- Klayre La Rosa: Mother of 12th Grade Boy

It’s not very often that you find a sports organization that truly feels like a family however that is what we have found with Level Up. I have 3 sons in the program and the level of instruction, individualized attention, and compassion is incomparable. It is a program where every coach has the ability and knowledge to bring out the absolute best in each child and they do. We have been with the program for 2 years and I know that we will continue for many more years to come. 

- Jamie Acquilina: Mother of 1st, 4th and 10th Grade Boys

The Polonia's are blessed to have Coach Jesse in our lives. A mentor to Alyssa and David and all around humble man. We thank him and the program for everything they do.

- Samantha Polonia, Mother of 7th Grade Girl & 10th Grade Boy

I am writing this email to let you know my kids have been playing with Level Up for years. The program is not a 10, it is a 12. The hard work and dedication that Jesse and his team provides is a true testament of the overall work ethic that the team provides from fundamentals to skill training. It is a program that children should not miss out on.

- Rob Kuppersmith: Father of 8th Grade Boy & 4th Grade Girl

Level Up LI is the perfect place to build basketball technique and confidence within the game. When I found Level Up, I was looking for basketball training for my son. Program Director Jesse Winter and his fantastic team of coaches provide more than just basketball training; they're teaching the kids how to reach their goals, how to work together, all while supporting and giving confidence to each child individually. The commitment Jesse and his coaches have to teaching the kids how to reach their potential is truly gratifying as a parent. Not only does Level Up work hard during training but they also work to provide unique and fun experiences for their members, including the Junior Knicks virtual skills experiences. Thank you so much to Level Up LI coaches for their advice, mentorship, and continuously keeping my son excited to train!

- Barbara Nasser, Mother of 7th Grade Boy

Just wanted to let you know I got to pick up a little early for Thursdays practice and got to watch the last 5 to 10 minutes of the team practice with Coach Scott Moses. The boys looked so organized, and were working so great together as a team. It was so fun to watch and so amazing to see how much progress they’ve made. It really is a wonderful program and I can see why my son loves it. I just had to let you know how impressed I was watching these boys and their understanding of the game, skill work and how well they work together.

- Parent of 3rd Grade Boy


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