Dwight Powell Diary: adidas Nations
Powell checks in from Dallas, TX.
Dwight Powell, a rising senior at the IMG Basketball Academy, is one of the top recruits in the country. He plays AAU with Grassroots Canada. Schools in the ACC, PAC-10 and SEC have expressed interest such as Vanderbilt, California, UCLA, Stanford, Virginia and even Harvard. The 6-9, 220-pound forward is spending a few days this summer participating in basketball camps, including the NBPA Top 100, Harvard Camp, Amar’e Stoudemire Skills Academy and LeBron James Skills Academy. Powell, also a 4.0 student, will give SLAM a first-hand account of the camps throughout the summer.—Franklyn Calle
Most players on AAU teams across the nation have hung up their kicks for the summer and are looking forward to college or their next high school season.
But my AAU team, Grassroots Canada, was invited for the second year in a row to represent Canada at adidas Nations – a global tournament that brings together some of the top teams from around the world. The event was held in Dallas and has teams from Asia, Africa, Canada, Europe, South America, and the U.S. It’s an all-inclusive event with NBA coaches and players, a charity event, and plenty of opportunities to be noticed by pro scouts.
On day one, we arrived at the hotel in Dallas and, not unlike most events this summer, we were greeted with a big bag of adidas gear. Most of the stuff was tailored for adidas Nations – all the way down to the shining gold shoes!
Since teams were coming in from all corners of the world, we had nothing on the court on day one. Most of the day was spent in the player’s lounge, which was equipped with three Xbox 360s and 3 PS3s, as well as all of the protein bars and shakes that anyone could ever need. For all meals, all of the coaches, staff and players ate together. A theme we kept hearing throughout the event was the importance of bringing people together from different walks of life.
On day two, we got right into the swing of things. The adidas Nations is more than just a tournament, as we also got a chance to do drills with some college players that were run by NBA coaches. Our first training session was a 3-on-3 drill with a lot of specific instruction, especially on the defensive end. The second session split us up into two groups – guards and bigs, where we worked on position specific moves. In my group, we had a couple college guys working with us, including Wayne Chism from the University of Tennessee.
After lunch, we had our first game against the team from Asia. Because our team has been together for years we were able to pull out a big win over the less experienced Asian team.
On day three, we had a bye for the first game and got a chance to practice with our assigned NBA coach, Reggie Theus. Playing under Coach Theus was amazing, especially since he took a lot of time to work with each one of us individually.
We also had Daquan Cook on our bench as our NBA player. He took time to talk to each of us and answer some of the questions we had about being in the league. After lunch we played our second game against the team from Europe. This team was very mature and poised. With some pros on their squad, we were handed our first loss of the tournament, but we kept our heads up.
On day four, we had our plate full as far as competition. Our first game matched us up against the skilled South American team, which, similar to the European team, was very poised. Although, our run-and-gun style and experience as a team helped us win a close game.
With a bit of confidence under our belt, we headed into a tough matchup against the USA 2011 team. This was a team stacked with top rising junior talent. A good showing by one of their better players, LeBryan Nash, couldn’t keep up with our leading scorer, Cory Joseph, who put on a show in leading us to victory and onto the championship game.
Day five (championship day) started on a good note. All of the adidas Nations players, coaches and staff got on the buses and headed to a community center in Dallas, where we were greeted by about 100 kids from around the area. We spent the whole morning teaching basic drills, playing games and really just spending time with them. We could all see that the kids had a great time and learned a lot, so it was a success.
Once all of the fun and games were over, it was back to business.
In the championship game, we had the USA 2010 team, and the team was packed with talent much like the 2011 team. Everyone was going hard the entire game. We felt the bragging rights within our grasp, since we have been traveling with these rising American seniors all summer at almost every event, so we wanted the chance to hold this crown and tack the ‘chip back to Canada.
The game came down to the wire. With several lead changes throughout the game, we found ourselves down two points with seconds left. We inbounded to Cory, and he beat their press and pulled up from deep. The shot was heavily contested, yet still looked good. Sadly, our dreams were crushed with the clank of the back rim.
Even though we lost, the adidas Nations tournament was a tremendous experience. We played in front of NBA scouts, got mentoring from NBA coaches and players, as well as listening to special presentations throughout the week from greats like Greg Anthony and Lionel Hollins. The end of the adidas Nations tournament also marked the end to my Grassroots Canada career.
It was a great run. Although we have no more games together, some great bonds will carry on. For starters, Tristan Thompson and I will be training with the Canadian men’s national team together, which I’m looking forward to.
But goodbye, Dallas, and thanks to all of those involved!