In a summer marred by cancellations, trainers fill the void

Aubery DeNard’s schedule doesn’t leave him with much free time during the school year. By day, he’s a Physical Education teacher at The Latin School of Chicago. By night, he coaches the Romans’ varsity basketball team, far from the city’s southside recruiting hotbeds.

Basketball, though, is DeNard’s true passion. In the summer, he works with some of the region’s top high school players to prepare their skills for the college game. But with his demands at Latin, he had never been able to do skill training full time.

Then came the pandemic.

For DeNard and trainers across the country, it was the perfect storm. Their day jobs were shuttered, while potential clients lost the packed AAU schedules that typically fill their summers.

Suddenly, he was overwhelmed by workout requests, even as COVID-19 raged through Chicago. So in early April, Aubery and his brother, Eddie, founded DeNard Workouts to prepare the next generation of Chicago prep stars for college.

“I’ve been really busy,” DeNard says now, recalling a summer unlike any he’s ever experienced.

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