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
Day 2- Amar’e Stoudemire Nike Skills Academy
After a good night’s rest, we jumped right back into skill development after breakfast. Once again, our morning workouts focused on taking our games beyond dunking and crab dribbles, and trying to give us the skills we need to separate ourselves. Because all of our coaches have experience at the next level – the NBA and Europe – it’s easier to take instruction from someone who has already done it.
After a good meal, we were getting ready to head to our second workout, but this time, our schedule asked for us to wear our collared shirts. This was because we were all going to take pictures, individually and with Amar’e Stoudemire. When we got to the gym, Amar’e was there with his young son. Despite taking 50-plus photos with players and staff, Amar’e remained cool and willing to answer questions.
After all of the pictures were taken, we had an opportunity to pick his brain. Players and coaches alike had tons of questions from “What was it like coming out of high school and transitioning to the league?” to “Who is better… Kobe or LeBron?” He said Kobe, by the way.
With Amar’e moving from drill to drill and giving advice and assistance, the intensity level went up a bit, which was good for everyone. As the drills went on throughout practice, we seemed to be moving toward some full-court stuff. To my surprise, we ended up playing 5 on 5, no guards.
Surely, it was a lot of our dreams to be able to push the ball on the break without a point guard calling us out. Each team did have one guard though, but he was more of a release point to start movement in the half court.
Day two ended with another Q and A, this time with the 16 college players. The college players were from schools across the nation and ranged from sophomores to seniors. It was interesting to hear their point of view about things that we all wonder about – classes, coaches, time management and, of course, parties and girls. The main point I took from it was that college coaches seem to act one way in trying to get you to commit and another way once you get on campus, so you better make the right decision.
We also got to question the staff members who played in the league. They stressed the fact that someone is always watching, and that it’s extremely important to take advantage of that “first” opportunity, because not everybody gets a second one.
Amar’e Stoudemire Nike Skills Academy- Day 3
The final day of the academy placed the same emphasis on skills as the previous two days, but incorporated it into some more competitive situations. Doing one-on-one competitions, shooting competitions and three-on-three competitions in the exact form that we practice made it easy to see how well we picked up the instruction. We also had some fun today starting in practice with a dunk competition.
Once our second training session was complete and the basketball was done for this camp, we thanked our coaches and received a few words individually on what we should focus on during the rest of our summer development.
Since it was the last day, the fun continued when we all went to the bowling alley, where we met up with Amar’e and a group of kids from the Boys and Girls Club. We had pizza and soda, while we blasted craters in the gutters.
We closed the camp with a final Q and A, but this time we were the ones being questioned. We were asked about the camp, what we liked and what we thought could be improved about the camp.
In my opinion, this was the most organized camp. It had the best schedule, which incorporated appropriate rest without wasting time, and paid the most attention on skills. I didn’t really have much to say when asked what I would improve, because I felt this was a great all-around camp.
From here, all 20 of us are headed home and will meet again in about a week in Ohio for the LeBron James Nike Skills Academy, where we will meet the nation’s best guards and swingmen to do this all again. So until then, I’ll be at home working on my two dribble into the middle jump hook.
Until Ohio… this is Dwight Powell signing off.