Ballin’ no more

Former members remember the late, great Baller Club

Kate Farrell

A sea of Phoenix Suns jerseys. A handheld speaker blasting Kanye West. A slideshow presentation filled with basketball stats and Breaking Bad

For the late, great Baller Club, notoriety was an easy feat. The combination of basketball, Kahoots, and ‘low-brow’ slideshow presentations elevated DM alumni Jack Yampolsky and Dora El Alaoui-Pinedo’s club as one of the most populous Desert Mountain has ever seen. 

“We brought students together during hard times,” said El Alaoui-Pinedo (Class of 2022). “For some students, this was their first year of in-person high school if they were online the previous school year. 

“We were able to give them, and everyone, a sense of community.”

We were able to give them, and everyone, a sense of community.

— Dora El Alaoui-Pinedo (Class of 2022)

Inspired by “Cowboy Club” from their freshman year, Yampolsky (Baller of the United States/President) and El Alaoui-Pinedo (Vice-Baller of the United States/Vice President) created Baller Club as an homage to the many social clubs that have graced Desert Mountain.

Every month, Mr. Wimmer’s classroom would fill with students of all grade levels as they sat and watched Yampolsky, a DMTV News Anchor, and El Alaoui-Pinedo, the President of Amnesty International, present a slideshow about recent NBA games. 

Boring? Not for this dynamic duo, which was able to avoid the same old informative slideshow through plenty of audience engagement from their beloved “Ballers”, the doting nickname for the club members. There was a sense of comradery between all the members and thus a little basketball society was formed.

“Junior year of high school, Jack and I were talking about coming up with a really funny club that would bring humor to the school,” El Alaoui-Pinedo said, “especially after two long, hard COVID years at Desert Mountain, I think a club to lighten up the mood was necessary,”

Yampolsky said the two “started brainstorming stupid stuff.” 

“and I came up with Baller Club, and it was perfect because it didn’t necessarily mean one thing,” he said. “We could just play around and make it whatever we wanted.” 

And play around they did.

Because every meeting had fresh content, the number of attendees never dwindled. Rather, Ballers would invite curious friends to the meetings, some having their entire friend group tag along. Members were hungry for the newest presentations, so the founders always made sure to deliver. 

“I saw an ad on the announcements for Baller Club, and heard from some friends that it was fun,” said Baller Ben Farrell (11). “After I attended a meeting, I invited my other friends so we could all be in a club together.”

He suggested they try Baller Club first to see if they enjoyed it. 

“All of them did, and many of them came to future meetings,” Farrell said.

Matthew Oh (10) said he was sold after the first meeting.

“I heard from Ben about the club, and thought it would be fun,” he said, “so I attended the first meeting and all the meetings after that.”

Mr. Wimmer ‘definition of G.O.A.T’ 

But the club wouldn’t truly be ballin’ without their Milwaukee Bucks-loving sponsor, Mr. Wimmer. 

Even when the Bucks and Suns were neck and neck at the end of the 2021-2022 NBA season, the three were able to put their basketball opinions aside for the sake of the club. 

“Mr. Wimmer is the definition of GOAT: Greatest of All Time. Greatest of All Teachers. He is definitely a top-notch guy,” said El Alaoui- Pinedo, who, along with Yamposky, are diehard Suns fans.

“Wimmer is just a silly guy, man. I had him junior year and we got along really well, he understood my humor and I understood his,” Yampolsky said. 

Mr. Wimmer said he coached Yampolsky’s basketball team at Cheyenne Traditional Schools (K-8). 

“And I taught his older brother and sister. He is a great kid. Him and Dora ran everything, I was only involved a little bit,” he said. “But they did an awesome job, it was packed in here every time we had a meeting,”

Throughout the ups and downs of the entire school year, the spirit of the club never wavered. Ballers grew familiar with other Ballers. Club t-shirts with the slogan “Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Baller Club” were made. But as the school year drew to a close, the members of this basketball society questioned the future of Baller Club.

 The founders questioned it, too. 

Despite their indecisiveness about whether or not to continue Baller Club after their graduation, the founders still held elections for the upcoming school year. 

At the final meeting of the year, Yampolsky and El Alaoui-Pinedo intended to announce next year’s officers to everyone. As Mr. Wimmer’s packed room anticipated the election results, Jack announced that they rescinded the election.

 Baller Club would shut down after the 2021-2022 school year. 

“The club was built around my sense of humor and I didn’t want people to have to imitate it; I didn’t want to put pressure on people to keep my humor up,” Yampolsky said. “I encouraged them to do their own thing instead.”

Said El Alaoui-Pinedo: “At Desert Mountain, a lot of student-led clubs are unique because of the students that run them. Once those students move on and graduate, the magic sort of disappears.”

Good things will always come to an end.

— Dora El Alaoui-Pinedo (Class of 2022)


While the room was disappointed at Jack’s statement, looks of understanding spread across everyone’s faces. Yampolsky and El Alaoui-Pinedo were able to create something completely new and different, simply out of their mutual love for basketball. 

In less than a year, the duo was able to make one of the most notable clubs in DMHS history. Rather than reminiscing on what was lost, the creators encouraged their members to make clubs of their own; clubs that catered to their own interests and humor. 

A year-long run may seem measly to many, but those who knew of, or took part in Baller Club, know that quality trumps quantity.

 “Good things,” El Alaoui-Pinedo said, “will always come to an end.”