Keith Van Horn
Keith Van Horn was born and raised in Diamond Bar, California, about 20 miles east of Los Angeles. Of the three siblings in the Van Horn family, two were athletically inclined. Keith admits that he and his sister enjoyed an elite sports environment.
His interest in physical therapy and success in basketball caused him to seek out admission to the University of Utah in Salt Lake City – not too far from home, with a good reputation for physical therapy (he actually majored in sociology), boasting a highly respected basketball coach and ranking amongst the top 25 schools for basketball. It was at the university that he met and married his wife, Amy.
Standing 6’10” tall and being well coordinated for that height, he and basketball proved a good fit.
While at the University of Utah, he established several new school records, among them one for having scored 2,542 points, a record that still stands in 2014. He earned a reputation for last-second heroics and led Utah to three NCAA Division I top 25 finishes, including a #2 spot, their highest ranking ever in school history.
In 1997, the year he graduated, he was named a Consensus First Team All American and was recognized as the Western Athletic Conference all-time leading scorer. ESPN named him the 1997 Men’s College Basketball Player of the Year.
The University of Utah retired his #44 Ute basketball jersey the year he graduated. In 2008 he was 1 of 16 named to the university’s “All-Century Basketball Team.” He’s also been recognized in the University of Utah Hall of Fame.
The 1997 National Basketball Association (NBA) draft saw Keith picked second by the Philadelphia 76ers and traded that same night to the New Jersey Nets. He played for the Nets from 1997 – 2002, leading the team in scoring in the 1997-8 and 1998-9 seasons, averaging more than 20 points per game and ranking him fifth in the NBA in scoring in the 1999 season.
During his professional career he also played for the Philadelphia 76ers, New York Knicks, Milwaukee Bucks and Dallas Mavericks, being a major contributor to the Nets’ 2002 Eastern Conference Championship team and the Mavericks’ 2005-6 Western Conference Championship team.
He retired from a 10-year career with the NBA in 2008, averaging 16.0 points and nearly 7 rebounds per game.
“I could have played several more years,” Keith says, “but as the kids were getting older, I couldn’t justify the instability caused by moving around.”
In 2005 he and his family moved to Colorado where his wife had family. He built a home on 80 acres of land in South Evergreen, working with the Mountain Area Land Trust to ensure that the bulk of the acreage would never be developed.
All four of his children attended elementary schools in Evergreen. He began offering free basketball clinics in Evergreen to fill a gap at the rec center but soon realized he needed to put an organizational structure behind it. That led to the formation of Premier Basketball Club, which involves about 1,000 boys and girls between the ages of 3 and 19, offering experiences for those who are beginners to nationally competitive elite club players.
“About 20% of the kids I work with are from Evergreen,” Keith says. He is the founder and Executive Director of the club and accepts no compensation for his job.
The Keith and Amy Van Horn Charitable Fund has chosen to support a number of charitable organizations, among them his alma mater, Huntsman Cancer Institute, U-FIT, Denver Inner City Parish, Into Your Hands Africa, and Premier Basketball Club. He helped start a health-sciences program at the University of Utah, involving parents of autistic children and children with disabilities, and enlisting students to volunteer their time.
Since living in Evergreen, Keith has developed a close relationship with the special needs program affiliated with Evergreen Park and Rec, integrating young people in the Special Olumpics with students he coaches. He has been the Honorary Chair for the Andy Smith Memorial Golf Tournament, which raises money for the special needs population.
Keith also serves as the Managing Partner of Accuworks Software; VH Real Estate Holdings, LLC; Co-founder and Managing Partner of Weatherist.com; and is the former President of Branded Business Apps, which he sold in 2012. He is also a member of the University of Utah Advisory Board.
In his spare time between managing Premier Basketball Club and keeping up with his kids’ activities, Keith enjoys mountain biking, fily fishing and in-road biking. Former Ute coach Rick Majerus has been quoted as saying, “Keith belongs in the parent hall of fame.”
Former college roommate and teammate Kelly Leonard said of his financially successful friend, “He works like he still has to pay rent.”
Sources: Interview with Keith Van Horn, Keith Van Horn Fan Page, Majerus and Leonard quotes from article by Kurt Kragthorpe in The Salt Lake Tribune