“Nothing is impossible”: Stuckman teaches lessons about drive and perseverance at the QND basketball camp

QUINCY – Despite all the chaos that playing professional basketball overseas can cause, former Quincy University standout Tanner Stuckman has stuck to one mantra.

“Nothing is impossible,” said Stuckman, who came to QU after a prep career at Quincy Notre Dame and developed into a first-team All-Great Lakes Valley Conference player in his final season. “Whatever you want to do, imagine it and chase it with all your might.”

Stuckman will try to instill that same drive in the elementary students attending the Tanner Stuckman Basketball Skills Training Camp, which will be held July 10-12 at The Pit at Quincy Notre Dame. The camp is open to players in grades 5-8.

“I want to influence these kids and help them get better at a game, but also talk to them, tell them about my journey and inspire them to do great things, be great people and achieve dreams. That's why I do it,” Stuckman said. “I want these kids to understand that if you have a dream, you can achieve it.”

For Stuckman, who graduated from QND in 2016 and QU in 2021, returning home to host the camp in a place where he hopes to work as a coach after his playing days bring back many fond memories.

“QND will always have a special place in my heart,” Stuckman said. “I truly believe that Quincy Notre Dame is one of the greatest places in the world. I love this place and it is a big reason why I do what I am today and what I am today as a person.”

Stuckman began toying with the idea of ​​a basketball camp after playing his first year of professional basketball for KaU Koris Karkkila in Finland's 1st Division and for the Windsor Express of NBL Canada in the 2021-22 season. After his second season with the Express – in which he averaged 11.5 points per game for a team that reached the NBL Canada finals – he got the camp rolling, but it still took some convincing from the people closest to him.

“My wife, Olivia, pushed me to do it,” Stuckman said. “She said, 'Let's do it. Let's just do it.' My parents also said, 'Just do it. Don't just sit here and talk about it. Let's get it rolling.'”

Now in its second year, Stuckman hopes the camp will grow as much as it did last year.

“It was a formative year for me,” Stuckman said.

Stuckman signed with Alimerka Oviedo Baloncesto of the LEB Oro – now Primera FEB, the second division of the Spanish basketball league system – ahead of the 2023-24 season. While Stuckman's stats of 8.3 points and 3.3 rebounds per game may not be eye-catching, he put up those numbers in one of Europe's best second divisions.

“I've never been more confident,” Stuckman said. “I've positioned myself well and I know what to expect. Now it's time to make the big jumps, to move up to the bigger teams, to the bigger leagues. That's what you dream about in college and even as a pro, to make those big jumps. I feel like I'm close to that.”

Not only did Stuckman make great strides on the basketball court, he said his time in Spain also changed his life for the better off the court.

“When I retire from basketball and I'm old and I can't move anymore, I'll look back on this year because it was a year where I finally felt like I took a step forward – a step forward in my faith, in my marriage, in my basketball career, in everything,” Stuckman said. “It was a year of growth. That's the best way to put it.”

“On top of that, I got to stay in one of the most beautiful places in all of Spain, in the north of Spain. This place is just incredible. Twenty minutes to the left I have the mountains and 20 minutes to the right I have the beach. You can't go wrong with that.

“I will remember this year for the rest of my life.”

Stuckman believes that the differences in Spanish culture helped shape one of the most formative years of his life.

“The biggest culture shock was how laid back (the Spanish) are,” Stuckman said. “In America, it's a real hamster wheel. Let's work, let's work, let's work, let's work, let's see how far we can climb up the hierarchy. The Spanish culture is more laid back. I'll deal with it when I get to it. I'm not in a hurry. I've come to appreciate that. It's helped me relax a little more and not get so worked up.

“Enjoy your life and don't get caught up in the hamster wheel madness of trying to do 600 things at once. How about we just focus on one thing: Let's enjoy our family and let's just enjoy life.”

Due to visa issues, Tanner and Olivia were unable to be physically together during their ten-month stay in Spain, and she was unable to accompany Tanner when he left for Finland just over three months after their wedding.

“Adjusting to marriage in the first year is tough,” Stuckman said. “Moving to a foreign country and being apart for part of it is very difficult. We've gotten a little used to that. I hope that with my future deal, she can be with me the whole time.”

Tanner really enjoyed the limited time they spent in three different places they might never have visited if it weren't for basketball.

“It's an incredible experience to travel the world with her,” Stuckman said. “She's a homebody, and so am I, but it's incredible that we can now travel the world.”

With his next team still to be decided, Stuckman is turning his attention not only to his basketball camp and leading one-on-one lessons, but also to offseason training and recovery.

“Just practice, get ready for next year. That's the mindset,” Stuckman said. “I also try not to kill anyone on the golf course.”

Although Stuckman is only 26 years old, he has been through a lot – literally – and that's why he said his plan of attack changed this summer.

“This summer I'm all about recovery and mobility,” Stuckman said. “It's still about strength training and hitting the gym, but this summer it's a different approach. There's less wear and tear, more rest, more mobility and more focus on taking care of my body.”

Stuckman's goal is to play professionally for ten years.

“Reaching 10 years is going to be a hell of a challenge, but that's why you take care of your body now,” Stuckman said.

As Stuckman can attest, nothing is impossible.