Sonics leaders: Chris Haner, Dajon Thompson and Bruce Powell.
The Salt Lake Sonics, founded in 2014, exists to provide kids with an avenue to compete at the highest levels of basketball, while using the sport as a means to instill a strong work ethic and reinforce the ideals of teamwork so Sonics graduates are prepared to succeed in life.
Bruce Powell founded the Salt Lake Sonics and along with Dajon Thompson and Chris Haner grew the club from the grassroots level, surviving a couple tumultuous years early by staying focused on their long-term vision of opportunity for any kid willing to pick up a basketball and work hard.
“We got kicked out of every gym, basically. I don’t know how we got through it,” Thompson said of the club’s earliest days. Practices were held wherever there was an available hoop, sometimes outside in the 100-degree heat of the summer.
But Thompson, who grew up in Salt Lake City, knew keeping kids on the court was critical. “Once they get away from you, they start to waver,” said Thompson, who’s passionate about wanting to make a difference in his players’ lives.
We know cost is a factor that can prevent families from participation. To that end, no player will be turned away because of a financial hardship. Fees cover uniforms, gym space rental, league fees and tournament costs. Players and parents/guardians are asked to participate in club fundraisers to help cover financial gaps. Salt Lake Sonics is a 501(c)3 nonprofit foundation. Donations are considered tax deductible. Tax ID: 47-3672723
The Sonics host annual tryouts for 3rd through 8th grade competition teams that compete in the Dimple Dell Super League. Teams also may compete in local AAU-sanctioned tournaments, such as the summer Big Mountain Jam. Travel teams will compete in regional AAU tournaments. Learn more about Our Programs.
Raised in East Palo Alto, Calif., Bruce earned All-League and All-State honors at Palo Alto High School before moving on to Foothill College, where he was named Most Improved Player, Defensive Player of the Year and was a Scholar Athlete. Bruce has coached AAU and high school varsity boys and girls basketball, starting in 2005 with the Roadrunners Sports Club. There, he led three different teams to top-20 finishes at AAU Nationals, including a fourth-place finish with his U17 boys in 2011. Bruce founded the Salt Lake Sonics in 2014. Off the court, Bruce has a bachelor’s degree in communication/business management and a master’s in education.
Chris has nearly 20 years of experience playing and coaching basketball, including head coach of the sophomore (East High, 2014-15; West High, 2015-16) and junior varsity (West High, 2016-17) squads and varsity assistant roles at both schools. “When I played sports, I could be something different. My mind was free for 3 to 4 hours,” Chris says. “That taught me a lot about life.” Chris has coached the Sonics 6 th grade team to a number of top-five tournament finishes in recent years and achieved AAU national rankings in both the Mountain West and West Coast. Chris has a bachelor’s degree in sports management from Concordia University Chicago.
Dajon hails from Salt Lake City’s Rose Park neighborhood and grew up playing basketball all over Utah and learning from the best, including former Utah coach Rick Majerus, Utah Jazz legends Thurl Bailey and Adrian Dantley, and coach Jim Yerkavoch at Judge Memorial Catholic High School. Dajon co-founded Utah Top Level Training (UTLT) to “help provide direction to children that grew up in the same place I did and love basketball the same way I do. I am consistently working to give every child that trains with UTLT or plays for the Sonics the best experience to get better and be the best they can be!"