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VIDEO: High school physics teacher spins basketball on pen

By on November 7, 2013 7:34 am

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A Washington D.C. high school astronomy and AP physics teacher had attracted national attention when a video of him spinning a basketball on the end of a pen went viral.

Dave Hovan, 31, of St. Johns’ College High School, has been contacted by national media and even the Harlem Globetrotters as a result of a video (see below) that’s approaching 300,000 views.

A former student shot the video last year but it didn’t go viral until Monday when it was posted on Bob’s Blitz. The video has been promoted by Yahoo! and Huffington Post among other sites. The Globetrotters even took notice, posting comments to the YouTube video in hopes of learning the identity of the anonymous teacher with the impressive skills.

“They’re excited,” Hovan told USA TODAY Sports of his students’ reaction to the video, which has more than 260,000 views as of this writing, almost all of them this week.

Several St. John’s College students reached out to the Globetrotters to identify Hovan, and the Globetrotters responded by arranging for one of their players, Handles Franklin, to visit one of his classes on Thursday.

“We had been talking about angular momentum and the formation of the solar system,” said Hovan, who has earned a pair of graduate degrees in education after studying physics and philosophy at the University of Maryland. “It’s something I’ve done every year. I’ve been able to do it since high school and when I got to teaching physics and astronomy, I knew it would amaze students.”

Hovan was a fan of videos showcasing the ballhandling skills of former LSU and NBA star Pistol Pete Maravich and started carrying a basketball everywhere. As a student at DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.) High School, Hovan watched his English teacher, former Harvard basketball player Patrick Smith, perform the trick on a pen.

Hovan said his obsession with the trick planted a seed for him to pursue a rewarding career teaching physics.

“I wanted to know what makes chemistry happen,” Hovan said. “My 11th grade AP chemistry teacher told me, ‘If you want to know what’s driving molecular changes, that’s physics.’”

 

 

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