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What key factors are coaches and managers looking for in players?
High skill level is crucial, you can get away with lower skill and being a world-class athlete in college, but not in the pros. We look for IQ on the floor, consistency of effort, coachability, responsibility and hard work.
From a purely basketball standpoint by position... Point Guards must take care of the team, make limited mistakes, be an extension of the coach, and completely control the ball. Wings must be great shooters and hit the shot from the perimeter and if not, they need to be really special, someone who can attack the basket easily and score consistently. Posts take longer to find and develop. I ask two questions. Do they have a solid base of skills to build upon and can they do the basics, catch, score, draw the foul?
What skills sets would you recommend younger athletes to be working on?
Ball handling is crucial—it is the foremost important skill to master no matter what position you play when you are young. Next is shooting—key to this is be patient. So many younger athletes take one step into the gym and want to shoot the 3. Learn to discipline yourself to shoot accurately. I see so many kids shooting with screwed up form just so they can try and make it from far away. If you have the discipline to master the fundamentals before you try and emulate an NBA All-Star you will have a broad skill base to build upon. It’s not easy to think about how you want to play 5-10 years in the future, but if you have the ability to sacrifice and work now, it will pay off hugely later.
What key advice do you recommend for older athletes to be working on?
Every time you step onto the court, commit to playing harder than you’ve ever played before—every practice, every game. Bring it every time. Discipline your mind and your body to push hard, to go at an unprecedented intensity level. The pace of college and the NBA is much quicker, more intense than you imagine. Find the fire to deliver above and beyond every time you step on the court.
Ryan is a former camper and coach at NBC Camps. If you would like to ask Ryan a question about the NBA or any basketball questions, please send your questions to Jennifer@nbccamps.com. Please note, we may not answer all questions, but will select some to feature in our online newsletters.
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