Dwight Powell Diary: Canadian Men’s National Team Training Camp
Powell trains with Team Canada.
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. This time, Powell speaks about his time in Toronto training with the Canadian Men’s National team.—Franklyn Calle
With my AAU team’s season officially over and school only weeks away, I had one more event along with my Grassroots Canada teammate Tristan Thompson. Earlier in the summer, we were both invited to attend the Canadian Men’s National Team training camp in Toronto to get a feel for the team that we will hopefully be playing for full time in a few years. When I found that out, I was extremely excited, as I’ve always wanted to play for my country. On top of that, I was even more excited to spend time in the best city in the world – Toronto (I’m a little biased).
On day one, most of the players arrived from all across North America. We were picked up from the airport and taken to a beautiful hotel in the heart of downtown Toronto. It was right on a subway line, so a few of my close friends were able to stop by before practices began.
We were practicing at the Air Canada Centre in downtown Toronto, where the Raptors train during the season. It was a nice facility with seven baskets and a weight room just off the court. Since it was the first day, we only had one workout which consisted mostly of executing plays.
On day two, we were in the gym by 10 a.m. Before we began our session, Coach Rautins reiterated his goal for this training camp: “Get better every day!” With that in mind, we were split into two groups− one on the court doing skill work and the other in the weight room working with our strength coach. After nearly an hour, we switched and then that was it for the morning session. They wanted to keep it fairly light and to the point so that we could fully exert ourselves in the longer evening session. When that time came, after a much needed nap, we went over the plays again as well as put in two more. We used them in some half-court situations, five on zero and transition games. The losers of each competition ran sprints while the winners cheered them on, and even though I ran a couple times, it was a good workout.
Day three was very similar and on the fourth and final day, we were shown the last of the offensive sets and played a lot of competitive type games, ending with five on five.
Because Tristan and I were not traveling with the team to Puerto Rico for the next tournament, most of the playing time was given to the traveling players to prepare them. Even though we spent a bit of time on the sideline, the positives of the experience easily trump the sitting.
The coaching staff and players were all amazing, with no bad eggs that I could see dragging the team down. The team has a very professional persona, from the way they train to the way they interact with coaches and media. Also, their style of play was fast paced, yet incorporated a lot of ball movement and frowned upon over-dribbling.
From my experience, I am proud to be Canadian and have a chance to be involved more in the program in the future. I am looking forward to showing the world what we have going on up north!