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Will vs. Skill By Nike Basketball Camp Director, Lee Miller

Lee Miller discusses the difference between Skill and Will, which do you have?

Each time I step on the floor and have an opportunity to work with players and help develop their skill sets, I work as hard as I possibly can.  My job is to get the most out of each player's skill development each time they set foot on the court.  I have no doubts that if players train with me and the rest of the Elite Hoops staff, their game will see significant improvement.  But as important as SKILL is in the game of basketball, it is actually the 2nd most important attribute of a player. Unfortunately, the most important attribute is something that I cannot help you with-Your Will.

I have coached, trained, and watched 1000s of players across the southeast over the past 8 years and I have noticed that very few players' WILL is Greater Than Their SKILL. Don't get me wrong, having a great skill set can take you a long way, but having the WILL can take you farther than any skill set you get along the way.

When Luke Adams was two years old, his father Mark, a longtime basketball coach, called for his son to follow him on his way out the door.  Mark couldn't get his son's attention at all that day.  After taking Luke to a doctor, his parents realized he was severely hearing impaired. After some testing, doctors told his parents that he would never read beyond a 2nd grade level. 

Luke, now 5'9'' and 150lbs,  is a walk-on at Texas Tech. He has started 3 games this season for the Red Raiders as a freshman and is averaging close to 15 minutes per game.  What happened to Luke along the way? His WILL was Greater than his SKILL.

Imagine watching the Lion King once a week with your father from the time you are a newborn. Then, at the age of 3, your father passes away. Imagine that your uncle comes along and helps fill that void in your life for the next 15 years. He is there for you everyday supporting you in every way he can. Over the years, you become a high school basketball star who is being recruited by almost every school.  In your senior season, on the day you are going to sign a national letter of intent to play at the University of Kentucky, that same uncle passes away.  Now, it's 8 months later and right before Christmas, your mother becomes hospitalized.  While she is in the hospital you score 15 points and grab 7 boards in a win for your team. 

The person who went through all of this was Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.  Why was Michael Kidd-Gilchrist able to perform at such a high level throughout his life even when all of these obstacles came along? Because His WILL was Greater than his SKILL.

Point Guards who are 6'3'' and lead their team to a 32-1 record and a California State Championship typically get some Division 1 offers.  This player didn't.  Point Guards who can beat most of their counterparts off the dribble on any given possession get some Division 1 offers. This player didn't.  Point Guards who can pass and dribble as well as Nash, Rondo, and Pistol Pete would usually receive an offer from a a Division 1 school whose campus is right across the street. This player didn't. 

Point Guards who have a Division 1 Ivy League assistant coach tell their high school coach during the summer after their junior year, "I think he's a Division III player." typically do not play Division 1. He did.
College Point Guards who don't get drafted in the NBA Draft, typically don't make an NBA roster. He did. Point Guards who get waived by 2 NBA teams and play for 4 D-League teams don't score 38 against the Lakers. He did.

Jeremy Lin is now the starting Point Guard for the New York Knicks and is averaging 23 points, 7 asts and 2 steals over his last 6 games.  How did a Point Guard who was overlooked by almost every person at every level become a starting Point Guard for an NBA team? Simple.  His WILL was Greater than his SKILL.

All three of these players have tremendous skill sets and wouldn't be playing at the level that they are now without them.  That being said, I guarantee that there are players with similar skill sets to the three players mentioned above who have gone through similar obstacles in their lives, but they don't have the WILL to make it.  These players DID.

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