How I Turned a Training Camp into an International Boarding School – Trevor Booker

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Trevor Booker and Jonah Baize were roommates and teammates at Clemson University, where they formed a friendship that led to various business enterprises. One of their most notable accomplishments to date is the establishment of Combine Academy, a premier International Boarding School and Professional Sports Performance Center.

What was previously a basketball training camp was transformed into the Academy, which they also describe as a nationally approved sports boarding school that offers basketball, soccer, golf, and baseball. Combine Academy, located in Lincolnton, North Carolina, just outside of Charlotte, on a gorgeous 56-acre property, began as a 3-month off-season training program with a $2,000 investment before growing into an international sports boarding school with not only four sports but students from over 40 nationalities.

“We actually started it with little to no money,” Booker told The Philadelphia Inquirer. “I think the only thing we really invested in was the website, which was huge for recruiting, and that was about $2,000. But after that, the money came from the kids and families up front, so we would house and feed them off that.”

Twelve students participated in the Combine Academy and lived in Booker’s home during the first year before later moving into apartment complexes. “With Combine Academy, we were housing the staff and we were renting, and we thought about it and it was just dumb. We knew Combine was going to be here for a while, so why not just buy and own? So we just started buying real estate wherever we saw the opportunity for it,” Booker said.

The NBA veteran’s real estate portfolio would comprise not only the residential and business Combine buildings, but also other commercial and residential properties in multiple states.Booker and Baize now have a 300-unit portfolio of single-family and multi-family homes. They are also shareholders in Combine Enterprises, the parent company of their academic interests, as well as JB Fitzgerald Venture Capital. JB Fitzgerald Venture Capital, its venture capital arm, has invested in over 30 companies and startups, including D.C. United and huupe & Nohbo, according to Booker on the WARMUPS podcast.

Still, Combine Academy seems to be their best investment. The Academy has helped over 500 student-athletes to advance to the college level on Athletic Academic scholarships since 2012.

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