Camp has come to an end and now its time ti head back home. I will probably say this 100 more times but we (my coaches and I) are so blessed for this opportunity. Definitely the coolest thing I’ve done in the game of basketball. All of the Chinese coaches and staff members said this was the best camp they’ve had in years and I owe that to my amazing coaches. A huge thanks goes out to Byron Samuels, who was most recently the head coach at FAMU, Brian Clifton, who is currently the head coach at “Word of God” in Raleigh, NC and his strength and performance coach, Larry Bratcher; Kevin Hopkins, who is the head coach at Muhlenberg College and also Tony Miller, who has coaching experience at USC and other schools.
Next, I have to say thank you, a million times to my guy Chris Rivers at adidas for putting me in this situation. One of the best people I’ve met not just in this crazy industry, but in life. Also my guy Evan here in China. He does a wonderful job representing not only adidas, but the game of basketball for China.
So proud of all the kids this week. We only had 3 days and wanted to show them so much but they took it all in and gave us great effort. Can’t wait to see a few of these kids at Global Nations in Houston in August. May even see a few playing for my high school in Oklahoma City next year….lol. The language and culture differences made it tough but my coaches were great. Next year I promise it will be even better!
What’s going on, everyone?? We just knocked out session 1 of Adidas Nations Training Camp here in Beijing. Its June 2nd, 2:15 pm here. Timing is still a little off but my body is getting adjusted. Luckily yesterday we had time to get settled and go view the city some. We took the crew to the Forbidden City and did a little shopping. Love being able to travel and see history. China definitely has a lot of it. After we hit the streets we went to the stadium and met our Chinese coaches and translators. We have translators (Ray is my guy) for each American coach and roughly 20 Chinese coaches who coach men and women professionally here in China. The staff and myself got the chance to introduce ourselves as well as go over the morning workout for today. I think I’m starting to get the hang of speaking with an interpreter. A few times I forgot he was there and started rambling too long. Luckily my man Ray picked it up and we got back on track. lol
This morning we had our first session so we had opening ceremonies where we were introduced to the players. Several influential people in the Chinese game were present even former Dallas Mavericks player Wang Zhizhi, The workout lasted an hour and a half and we spent the majority of our time teaching. With the language barrier it makes it tough at times because I have to stop the entire group which consists of 40 players and 25 coaches. Then my translator has to talk on the mic for me and even then it can be a struggle because a lot of terminology that may seem universal to us is rather foreign to them. We really wanted to concentrate on fundamental skill work this morning. A lot of ball handling. Dribbling and passing, weak hand work, etc. Then we introduced some drills that we use in the NBA and it took a minute but they got the hang of it.
For the second workout we wanted to review everything we had worked on in the first session and they were a lot sharper. After that I had the group watch film over a play that we run with the Rockets so that everyone could get a visual. We then broke into 3 baskets and divided the players into Guards, Wings and Bigs and had our coaches work with them on different areas of the offense we introduced. After that we got the kids into 4 teams and practiced the play 5 on 0 to see how it would all come together. Once they started to pick it up I had the teams play 5 on 5 half court with each team getting 5 possessions and coaches being able to stop and correct after each play. The players really started to get a feel for what the offense should look like so we then played 5 on 5 full court for two 3 minute segments. There are some really talented young players in the group and its insane to me the level of knowledge that some of them have. I demonstrated a play after a kid made a mistake and my interpreter came over to me and said “thats like the Hammer action that the Spurs run”. Blew my mind! lol
Tomorrow I’m really hoping things get even better and that I can get the Chinese coaches more involved. Because of their culture they are really cautious to overstep their boundaries, but I am pushing them to coach the kids up as much as possible and share their input. There are a few that have been very good and you can tell they have high basketball IQ’s.
Well its time for me to shut it down and get ready to get back at it tomorrow. Hope you all have a blessed day!