Meet the 2024 BackBoard

Succeeding in the Hoop Shoot requires dedication—thousands of practice shots, hundreds of hours on the court, and several weekends traveling to contests. When Hoop Shoot competitors are so dedicated to the program that they do not want to stop when they age out, they join the BackBoard, the program’s alumni advisory board. These past National Finalists put in the work when they were competitors, and they’ve returned to serve as role models and rebounders.

As a Hoop Shoot competitor, Jacobi Lafferty experienced the agony of defeat when he finished just shy of the podium at the 2015 National Finals, and the thrill of victory when he won a 2017 Frank Hise National championship in the 10-11 boys division.

Now, as a member of the BackBoard, he is well equipped to relate to any Hoop Shoot competitor, no matter how they finish.

“Nervousness, elation, disappointment, doubt, humbleness—I’ve felt them all in my years of being in the Hoop Shoot,” says Lafferty. “I look forward to helping other kids with any and all the way others helped me.”

Lafferty’s service on the BackBoard is not his only connection to the Elks—he is also a 2023 Legacy Awards scholar! Exclusive to high school seniors who are the children or grandchildren of Elks, Legacy Awards are competitive $4,000 scholarships that enable families to continue their #ElksFamily legacy. Lafferty joins Faith Sjoberg, who is a 2022 Legacy scholar and BackBoard member.

Though Lafferty has hung up his basketball sneakers, the other new members of the BackBoard are continuing their basketball careers at the collegiate level.

After sinking 24 out of 25 free throws in regulation shots and another five in a shoot-off at those same 2017 Finals, Sophie Phillips earned the Getty Powell Award and Frank Hise National Championship in the 12-13 girls division.

Following the Hoop Shoot, Phillips went on to lead her high school to an 81-4 record over four years. Phillips averaged 17.2 points per game during her high school career and sank a record 73 three-pointers in her senior season, as well as clinching a state championship. Now as a starting guard for the Division I University of Rhode Island Rams, Phillips credits the Hoop Shoot for helping her achieve her dreams.

“My experience with the Hoop Shoot will not be forgotten,” says Phillips. “It helped me get to where I am today.”

Drew Cook finished on the podium in both of his appearances at the National Finals. The work ethic he developed while training for the Hoop Shoot set him up for success far beyond the free throw line.

“Working hard in the classroom and on the court will give you opportunities in your life you‘ve never thought about,” says Cook. Cook averaged over 20 points per game in each of his last two high school seasons, and now plays basketball at Wabash College.

Just like Cook, Destiny Kiner finished on the podium in her trip to the 2011 National Finals. Since competing in the Hoop Shoot, Kiner has found success on and off the court: She is a starting guard for Christian Brothers University, has been named to three All-Academic teams, and started a basketball training program for young players.

Kiner encourages all National Finalists to explore Chicago, make new friends, and spend quality time with family.

“Yes, you are here to compete,” says Kiner, “but now it’s time to look back at all the hard work you put into making it this far and experience the beauty of it all!”

Nicole Kamin, a 2012 National Finalist, has earned her fair share of accolades since competing in the Hoop Shoot, as well. In high school, Kamin was voted Miss Upper Peninsula Basketball by the U.P. Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association. She also received all-state First Team honors and set her high school’s all-time scoring record with 1,000 career points.

Kamin, a starting guard for Grand Valley State University, wants to use her role on the BackBoard to be a positive influence for the Hoop Shoot competitors.

“I am very passionate about making a difference in children’s lives,” says Kamin. “I want to give them the tools to succeed in the future.” These five new BackBoard members join returning members Anthony Flint, Chloe Furnstahl, Faith Sjoberg, Gabby Nunez-Gaskins, Jackson Midyett, and Jerika Moore. While every BackBoard member brings different knowledge and experiences, they all share one thing: dedication to the Hoop Shoot.

The Elks have been unleashing gritty kids through the Hoop Shoot program for more than 50 years. For 2023-24, the Elks National Foundation allocated more than $1.4 million to fund the program. For videos, news from the court, and more information about the Hoop Shoot, visit

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