Just two weeks ago, Coach Mike Dunlap was preparing us for our upcoming NBA workouts. He was coaching Kyle and I with mid-season intensity, making frequent references to the differences of the NBA game and informing us of how we will have to adjust at the next level. Well, as of Monday night, he'll be providing all his knowledge, energy, and passion to a new bunch of players- the Charlotte Bobcats. I've only known him for a couple of months, but in those months we got to know each other pretty well and I can tell you there's not a more deserving coach in the world than that guy. Good move MJ.
Speaking of those workouts, I've been to two more places, Phoenix and Detroit, and both were incredible learning experiences. Both organizations are professional in every sense of the word, and both gave me some good insight. I attended one of the most challenging universities in the world over the past four years and my mind hasn't gotten a workout like the one it got in Phoenix in a long long time.
The mental tests that team doctors put us through were unique and caused us to think and think hard. They were testing for learning capability and cognitive processes and all the players agreed that it was difficult. In addition to the testing, meeting and working out with Lindsey Hunter was another highlight of my time with the Suns. He locked up full court every night, something you rarely see in the league nowadays, and his grit was enjoyable. Oh yeah, throwing lobs to Fab Melo off pick and rolls wasn't bad either.
In Detroit, I had the opportunity to meet long-time strength and conditioning specialist Arnie Kander. Arnie has probably forgotten more abut how the body works than most people will ever know. I've always sought out ways to gain any advantage possible and he was able to provide some new information in the way of nutrition, body movements and patterns, and even ball handling.
After the workout, I spoke with Coach Lawrence Frank on the phone. When I was a senior at St. Benedict's, Coach Frank was with the Nets and he was one of the speakers at our annual coach's clinic. The man lectured for over an hour on the flat ball screen- different ways of changing the angle, multiple calls for defensive coverages, attacking it with the dribble, attacking it with the slip, and on and on. I still have my notes from that day and Coach Frank was someone I admired because of his almost impossible route in the game of basketball. To hear him say he really enjoys the way I play the game was an honor, regardless of what happens.
I will visit three more teams, Chicago, Sacramento, and Minnesota, and then my workouts will be complete. Fran Fraschilla tweeted the other day that, Combines, workouts, interviews with teams & media all nice but real resume for potential draft picks is how they PLAYED during their career. We'll find out if he's right or not on the 28th.
An interesting thing about the NBA is that it all comes down to specialization. Basically, there are a couple of guys maybe one per team who do it all. After that, there might be some more star power, but for most guys, it's one or two things that they do exceptionally well. So a player who is great at one thing is more valuable to an NBA squad than a player who is pretty good at a lot of things but great at nothing. For me, teams seem to think that my feel for the game, vision, and shot making ability are my greatest strengths. My ability to recognize the right play and make that play time and time again is what will separate me (at least in their eyes) from most other guys. It's something that I could be great at.
I'm currently reading The Art of Fielding. The main character, Henry Skrimshander, is an undersized, weak, small-college shortstop who has simply worked his way from a nobody into the nation's best defensive player at his position and one heck of a hitter as well.
Agents and others start voicing his name in conversation for the MLB draft after his junior year and Henry doesn't know what to do or think. He mentions it to his best friend on the team and mentor, Mike Schwartz.
Schwartz's response to Henry's worry, concern, and anxiety is simply dead on. This is what we've been working toward for the past four years so the key is to stick to the plan. You can't control the draft. And if you can't control it, it's not worth your time. You can only control how hard you work today. Well put Mike Schwartz. Easier said than done, but definitely hit the nail on the head.
I'll be back with more right before draft night. Thanks for following, thanks for all the support, and remember, if you can't control it, it's not worth your time.