In my last post I spoke about a kid from Houston who will be looking to pursue his dreams in the NBDL, or as i like to call it, the NBA "Dream" League. Craig Blackmon has inspired me to do more research on players and coaches who are truly under the radar. There are many routes to the NBA, the most common would be big time recruiting, big time college, NBA Draft and the rest is history. Although that is the most common, it is also the hardest to obtain, many great players have been passed over years.That is a different road, this post is about those players that may have been late bloomers or just have been misguided in their careers. Just imagine, many guys grow up in the parks and courts around the world, never heard of until one or two years prior to the draft. Many international players play professionally in their respective countries from a young age and grow to become great athletes in the country, however when you may have melting pot like Brooklyn, New York, basketball is just as religous but the opportunity is not available. Now your thinking college right? Well that may be correct, but some basketball players may be better on the court than the classroom. What happens now? Thats when we hear about playground legends or European stars, and when a kid has always been misguided money is the easiest way to keep them astray. I have been to many Pro-Am summer leagues and charity games all across the country and seen first hand what a player that has never played professional could do, pretty amazing.
So I have came up with the a category system for players:
- The "Star"
- The " Next Generation"
- The "Pupil"
- The "Prototype"
- The "Hungry One"
Let me explain each category.
The "Star", everyone loves the star and everyone knows him. He is the AAU champion, the high school phenom, the NCAA all-tournament candidate he is a great player, but the road has always been paved for him.
The "Next Generation" is father-son tandem, this is usually a star player but not necessarily, he just has always had the right things, at the right time, and in the right places. Been giving the benefit of having a legendary last name, with this you get room for error and a key to somethings other players may never get.
The "Pupil", he is similar to the NG but no actual family ties. He has been look out for his entire life either from a veteran NBA player or famous scout. This player has always know the ins and outs to making it successful in the business.
The "Prototype", he is built in perfect basketball form. He is the 7 footer or the 6'8 guard with extreme athleticism, his basketball skills may not be very polished but the kid wins every dunk contest and has tremendous "Wow" factor.
now my personal favorite is the "Hungry Player" he is the gym rat, the one who wants to be all those others wrapped in one. He is has always had to fight for his opportunities, but when the lights come on he puts on a show, maybe a small time division I player or maybe a juco role player, or possibly never had the shot at collegiate play.
So my question is what can you teach? We all are taught in different stages of our lives but there comes an age and time where we are not really receptive to these things. Basketball is a tough game to learn later in life, it is filled with skills and knowledge that takes years to develop, hence why kids begin basketball camps at early ages. Now its a bit easier to show someone how to interact and become a professional player. The skills you would learn in a college setting from a coach. So I would like to say, any coaches or scouts looking for talent during a time like the NBA lockout, go to your local gyms around 2 A.M. on a Saturday night, if you happen to catch a guy running suicides an shooting free throws give him a quick interview, might just surprise you what you find!