Coach Nikko Callender starred at Baldwin HS where he was a 2-time All-County player. From there he played at Concordia College as a 3-year starter. He became one of a select group of student-athletes in school history reaching the 75 plateau in every major stat category — blocks, steals, points, rebounds and assists. After College Nikko began coaching at Mineola HS winning JV Conference Coach of the Year. He then joined the Baldwin HS coaching staff where he twice won JV Conference Coach of the Year and produced a record of 48-9. Last year he completed his 1st season as the Assistant Coach for the NY Tech Men’s Basketball Team until the athletics program discontinued. Currently, he is the Assistant Coach at Queens College and and is working with Level Up LI.
Coach Kelly Dempsey started her basketball career at Hicksville High School where she was a 5-year varsity starter and was an integral part of her team winning two Nassau County Championships. From there she played at Mount Saint Mary College and led her team to a Skyline Championship. After college she helped build the NCPAL Headquarters Activity Basketball program and is currently a basketball director for that NCPAL unit. Kelly is the Head Clinician for the Long Island Nets and New York Liberty. Nominated by the Long Island Nets, Kelly was a 2020 Jr. NBA Coach of the Year semifinalist. Also in 2020, Kelly was presented as a Community Hero by the Long Island Nets. She has been coaching at Mineola High School since 2015 where she is the Girls Assistant Varsity Basketball Coach. In addition, Kelly was also a 5-year varsity volleyball player in high school. Starting in 2017, Kelly began her volleyball coaching career. To give back, Kelly assists the NCPAL Special Needs Basketball team and volunteers to work the basketball Special Olympics.
Coach Darren started his basketball career at West Hempstead High School (WHHS) where he was a 3-year varsity starter and 2-year team captain. At WHHS, Darren received two All-Conference awards, one All-County award, and won back-to-back Conference Championships. After graduating from WHHS, he attended Long Island University – CW Post where he red-shirted for a year. He made a quick stop at Misericordia University for his red-shirt freshman season, but later transferred to Fairleigh Dickinson University – Madison Campus (FDU) to finish up his remaining college basketball years. At FDU, Darren became an outstanding performer being the 3rd leading scorer in the conference his junior year and obtaining All-Conference and Team MVP honors during his tenure there. After college, Darren is looking to give back to the game that has given him so much. Outside of Level Up, Darren is the Basketball Director at Tyler Hill Camp in Pennsylvania.
Coach Jesse Winter started his basketball career at South Side High School where he was a 2-year captain and a standout player. He was inducted into the program’s Hall of Fame for his achievements of being All-Long Island and leading the team to the Nassau County Championship Games. After high school, Jesse played at SUNY Cortland where he was a 2-year Captain. For the Red Dragons, he was the All-Time Leading Career Scorer in the school’s history, 2nd All-Time in assists and a 2-time All American that helped lead the team to a SUNYAC Championship that advanced to the 2nd Round of the NCAA Tournament. After College, Jesse played 1 season of professional basketball in Israel in the National League for Ramat Hasharon. Jesse is currently a FIBA Certified basketball trainer. Jesse is the Camp Wayne Basketball Director in Pennsylvania. This Summer he was the Director for the Junior Knicks Virtual Summer Basketball Camp.
Coach Trevor Stark started his basketball career at Robert F. Kennedy High School where he was a 2-year Captain. He was the school’s All-Time Leading Scorer and finished 2nd All-Time in assists. He then attended Hilbert College in Buffalo, NY, where he was 1st Team All-Conference in his Junior and Senior years. He capped his Hawk career as a 1,000 point scorer and the 8th highest All-Time scorer in the school’s history. He also helped lead the team to its first regular season conference championship. He finished 1st All-Time in free throw percentage and 2nd All-Time in assists. After college Trevor played 3 seasons professionally in Israel for Hapoel Tzfat and Hapoel Maboaim.
Coach Niehoff began his basketball playing career at West Islip High School where he was a 3-year starter on varsity and a 2-year captain. He finished his senior season ranked 3rd in Suffolk County in scoring and finished as one of the All-Time leading scorers there. He helped lead the program to the most successful season in 30 years and was then selected to represent the Long Island Region as a starter for the silver medalist Empire State team in 2004. From there, Carson continued his playing career at SUNY Cortland where he was a 3-year starter and selected captain for his Senior campaign. He finished on the 1,000 point scoring list and received All-SUNYAC honors his Senior season. After college, he was selected as a member of the Washington Generals basketball team that plays against the world famous Harlem Globetrotters. After that, he spent 2 seasons at St. Anthony’s High School as the Freshman boys basketball coach. As recent as 2016, he was the Varsity Head Coach at Inwood Academy in Washington Heights, NY. As a coach and trainer, Niehoff values dedication, passion and the willingness to expand players game beyond their limits, through versatility and having a strong basketball I.Q.