As long as sport has existed, science has helped to advance it. Inventions like metal cleats, gloves and pine tar have given athletes a competitive edge. Well, another scientific development is here and a Siena College professor created it.
Lucas Tucker, Ph.D., assistant professor of chemistry at Siena College, led the research and development team for Court Grip. Court Grip is a product designed to improve traction on the basketball court by applying a proprietary blend of liquid chemicals to the bottom of sneakers. It is endorsed by NBA superstars, including Miami Heat all-star Dwyane Wade and it is approved for use at all levels of basketball. Everyone from weekend warriors to NCAA and NBA superstars have been using Court Grip since it launched in September of 2011. Court Grip is currently sold at Foot Locker stores nationwide and at EastBay.com.
“After meeting Dr. Tucker and after having met all of these other folks who have been doing this for 25 years, my team and I said ‘this is the guy for us,’” said Mark French, president of MISSION Basketball and inventor of Court Grip.
Court Grip has been developed over the past three years, evolving through more than 140 different versions. It went through rigorous testing at the NBA and NCAA levels.
“The guys were open to the product and we’ve had that same sort of response at a lot of the colleges we (tested at),” said Tucker, who did much of the research at a lab in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. “I got a yell from one of the players on a spin move. He was really pleased that he came down, planted and was able to go right around his man.”
Siena’s strategic plan, Living Our Tradition, highlights both academics and athletics. Court Grip is the perfect marriage of those two traditionally separate areas and it's an example of what Siena’s talented faculty can accomplish through research. Siena hosted a press conference Tuesday morning, showcasing Court Grip to local media members and a demo by former Siena basketball standout Prosper Karangwa ’03.
“The more we ran the drill the more I felt the difference,” Karangwa said. “The main area where I felt the difference was when I stopped, changed direction and when I went around the last cone for the layup.”
Tucker enjoys the “street cred” he’s earned from the students and sees the success of Court Grip as a way to excite young minds.
“It is really nice to be able to talk to students about science that they can actually see,” said Tucker.
Tucker is still working with MISSION Athletecare, the company that owns Court Grip, developing other products.