Reading duration: ~10 minute

Welcome to ATLAS Hoops!

We are the private, premier basketball studio in Las Vegas that caters to player development and furthering the basketball community. While exclusive to those that come in and hidden from the lights, glitz, and glamour of the Las Vegas Strip, we are inclusive of all athletes of all abilities!

We want to show kids what HARD WORK and PERSISTENCE really is.

Lost at the age of 19. Julian sat in the wheelchair, towel over his face to cover his tears, grasping his left knee in agony. He knew his injury was serious. As his parents took him to the hospital, he laid in the back of his car, tears unraveling, and thinking of his basketball career. Basketball was all he knew. He had worked hard his freshman year at Trinity International University (Deerfield, IL) and was shooting for the starting point guard spot for his Sophomore year.

As he was referred to the orthopedic MD, he was diagnosed with a torn Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL). He knew. Most don’t return to their sport. After some time and encouragement, Julian Penaranda had one thing in mind: He just wanted to return to hooping. FAST. It’s all he knew at the time.

After his ACL was surgically repaired and while recovering from his ACL injury, he fell in love with his personal recovery progress from Physical Therapy. His purpose and vision became clearer. He wanted to become a sports physical therapist that worked with basketball players and do whatever he could to learn how to prevent ACL injuries in other athletes.

He shifted his focus and followed the steps to become a physical therapist. While working towards his Bachelors in Kinesiology, he worked full-time as a physical therapy technician and tried out to play internationally in the Philippines and Malaysia. He was offered several professional opportunities; however, he denied it. He saw the difficulties and instability of a lot of his ex-teammates and hoopers who played overseas and so, he sought stability and continued pursuing physical therapy. In 2013, he received his B.S. in Kinesiology (University of Illinois-Chicago).

After a brief California hiatus, he was brought to Touro University-Nevada (Henderson, NV) and graduated with his Doctorate in Physical Therapy (DPT) in 2018. He knew the work wasn’t done as he needed an in in the basketball community. Immediately following his graduation, he got his first Basketball Skills Certification through Micah Lancaster’s “I’m Possible” Skills Enhancement program where he spent one-week of rigorous basketball skills training in Grand Rapids, MI and was mentored by Micah Lancaster, Josh Dudley, and Mertzie Klein.

As he returned to Las Vegas, he worked at several outpatient clinics and on the side, worked as a basketball trainer. He found difficulties finding his “in” in the Las Vegas basketball community. Through persistence, he worked with the City of Henderson Park District where they provided him with his first-ever basketball program titled, “Dr. J Hoops Performance”.

Despite his basketball program, Dr. J wanted more. He wanted to work with higher level athletes. He reached out to several local basketball gyms, clubs, and coaches; however, they “ghosted” him. One of them questioning him by saying, “you never played professionally, I don’t see the value that you can bring” (or something along those terms).

Regardless of the negativity, he continued to work with the Park District but also started trialing and working with local athletes at EOS and 24 Hour Fitness. There, he met Tre Williams, a JUCO product from MO and current French Professional point guard, and was given the opportunity to work with then-Erin Thorn Elite (ETE; now, Most Outstanding Ballers, MOB).

As COVID hit in 2020, he lost access to train at the EOS, 24 Hour Fitness, the Park District and as lockdowns closed the public parks, he continued to train virtually and behind closed doors in North Las Vegas. He helped train Desert Pines, Bishop Gorman, Centennial High School female student-athletes and some of the athletes he gained trust with while coaching ETE.

COVID loomed over and while he loved working in the physical therapy clinic, he loved basketball more. He wanted more. An opportunity came up where he found a large 5000 square foot warehouse facility which he bootstrapped on his own to create an indoor basketball space to train and further serve the Las Vegas’ basketball community.

As Julian pushed forward with his vision of ATLAS, he was inspired and empowered by his cousin and now co-owner and ATLAS’ creative director, Eric Pagsanjan (Nike Chicago Creative Director). With this partnership, they rekindled their childhood love for basketball.

Through deep discussions, shared struggles within high school basketball and their professional careers, they came to the conclusion that they want to share their life experiences and struggles within basketball to inspire the next generation of athletes that they can still be part of basketball, without playing professionally.

We know our struggles, our path, and our stories are different from the professional hoopers; however, we understand the grind associated with basketball, with overcoming life’s obstacles, and getting what we want out of it. We use this fire to motivate, inspire, and help the student- athletes physically, socially, and mentally.
Because we care. Deeply.

We want to help you make your school team. We want to share our life experiences with you. We want you to learn the life lessons within basketball. We want you to be passionate and daring with basketball. We want basketball to take you wherever you want it to take you. We want you to be a great, kind, human being. We want to inspire and show YOU that basketball isn’t over unless YOU say it’s over!

It’s a HUGE obstacle to climb so…

Let’s climb the mountain…together!

✍️: Dr. Julian Penaranda, PT, DPT
📅: Tuesday, December 13th, 2023