We continue with Week 2 of ASEAN Top Baller 2017 Winner, Adrian Nonis’ all immersive basketball development at Global Squad. Here is Part 1 in case you missed it.
It is not every day that a young man gets to dedicate a full month to his dream of pursuing basketball excellence. Adrian Nonis of Penang was chosen as the ASEAN Top Baller Award winner this past spring and given sponsored entry for the summer of a lifetime to attend Global Squad 2017. If you haven’t heard, Global Squad, founded by John Alexander, brings high school talent from around the globe together for a month of intense professional level basketball development. This includes multiple daily skills training sessions, team practices, strength and conditioning, film study, and basketball theory for a full month as well as participation in NCAA accredited tournaments. Global Squad provides guys like Adrian the opportunity to improve their game, chances for college scholarships abroad and perhaps the chance for professional basketball success. The exposure and dedication of time alone aims to build not just great basketball players but confident and disciplined people for society. What follows is Adrian’s first hand account of the first week of his Global Squad journey.
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Day 8 — 8th July
We had two games today against teams whose names I no longer remember, and although we are the smallest team in the entire camp, operating under a 5 guard offense, we managed to win one of the two games.
Just like our other game at Reading, we struggled mainly on the defensive end in our difficulty to rebound over larger opponents as well as remaining in the help-side position. Offensively, we lacked proper ball movement around the perimeter, often settling for bad shots. On a positive note, we functioned as a fast paced, quick team that thrives off fast breaks and easy penetration. Additionally, we also have a number of sharp shooters which creates options when driving to the basket. I initially played quite badly during the first game, making a few turnovers at first, but as the game progressed, I started to get looser and less nervous seen in my jumpers and aggressive defense ending the game as the second top scorer. Both the team and I have a long way to go and a lot to improve on, and I hope to only keep moving forward.
Players here come from all over the world hoping to play basketball at the next level whilst balancing an academic life, very similar to myself. On the social side, the majority of the campers here are friendly and warm, and people here seem very approachable.
I look forward to becoming not only a better basketball player, but also to the long lasting friendships that God willingly will form.
Day 9 — 9th July
Today followed a regular schedule all the way up to the afternoon, providing us enough time to rest up before our evening game. Similar to the other game day routines, the morning sessions only required players to perform under low intensity.
Morning sessions don’t always include the same stations, though, as classroom sessions are often substituted for something called “skill development.” This station, comparable to a team practice, introduces players to in-game concepts — backdoor cuts, on ball screens, off ball screens, shooting off the catch, curling, etc… This station trains players to react to situations that often happen in games and that colleges frequently look for when evaluating a player. Skill development distinguishes players who simply succeed from sheer athleticism.
Anyways, we played against one of our own Global Squad teams (team USA), and we unfortunately lost. As usual, we came in the game slow and not focussed even giving a 15 point lead at one point, but as the game progressed, we started to get better, cutting the lead to 7. Basketball, however, requires full focus the entire game.
Like my coach and a lot of other people tell me, consistency is better than occasional bursts of brilliance.
Day 10 — 10th July
Waking up today was much harder than usual, not only because it was raining, but also because of my roommate’s snoring keeping me up the whole night! I guess they were being serious when they said Global Squad also prepares you for life… (haha).
By word of mouth, Mondays apparently prove as the hardest days of the week, but I actually found today much lighter than the previous one; and I think mainly because of the packed schedule we have this week. Unlike other weeks, campers in both the red and gold groups have games Wednesday through Sunday, hosting tournaments with college coaches all over the United States.
The overall training today was kept at a minimal, which gave players and myself down time to stretch and rest before the upcoming week.
Day 11 –11th July
We only had morning sessions today because, just like the day before, we had to rest before a very busy week filled with games.
Morning sessions included ball handling, weight lifting (stretching today), skills development, and shooting. Ball handling pushes my limits whether it’s taken a notch down or not, but the other stations followed a low intensity routine.
What made today extra special, though, was the fact that we went to watch Spider-man Homecoming in the evening as a team! Unlike Malaysia, American cinemas do not follow an assigned seating system, but a “first come, first serve” instead. Furthermore, popcorn and drinks almost double or triple Malaysian standards in size!
We quickly made our way home after a night well spent, preparing for the next day to come.
Day 12 — 12th July
I remembered waking up today feeling quite uneasy, imagining all the college coaches in the stands, discreetly discussing each individual that caught their attention. Unlike the previous tournament the weekend before, today marked the start of an official tournament with actual scouts.
Although my game only began at 8pm, our entire team had to meet at 9am to take team pictures. The photo session took no longer than 10 minutes, leaving the rest of the time to relax and rest up for the game later that evening; and that is exactly what I did.
Our first game was against a team called Team Canada, and despite our lack of defense and execution, we managed to bring home a win. Our team continually struggles to get rebounds, and although we constantly turnout as the smallest team, size can no longer be an excuse. We lack the heart and effort. Thankfully, however, our athleticism and talent enabled us to pull through.
Day 13 — 13th July
Today, just like yesterday, followed a very relaxed schedule with only one game in the evening.
Unlike yesterday, though, we lost…
I know I’ve mentioned this so many times already, but REBOUNDS proved as main cause of defeat. Most of the opponent’s points came straight from put-back layups due to our refusal to box out… Being the smaller team, something I am used to back home, boxing out is necessary in order to win.
Offensively, we still lack proper ball movement because of a highly guard oriented team. In fact, we do not have a single “big man” in our crew. In result, we play a five guard front, often crowding the top of the key, clogging up the driving lanes. Not only does this regularly result in bad shot selections, but also in the absence of offensive rebounds.
Tomorrow is a new day, and I hope to come out more focussed and determined.
Day 14 — 14th July
Today marked the last day of the tournament, and another day of defeat.
Ignoring the fact that we were 2 men down this game, we came out tougher than the previous day. Unfortunately, our lack of stamina eventually took a toll on us resulting in the same things that caused us losses from previous games — rebounds and turnovers.
Despite being a starter on the team, I played an awful game only scoring 8 points, acquiring only 2 rebounds in total, and only making 1 steal; and although I can blame it on the lousy court that we played on, or my sore ankles, or this or that, it all comes down to me. Penetration means nothing if I fail to finish at the rim.
Fortunately, we have another tournament beginning tomorrow (Saturday) where I hope and will redeem myself.
On a more positive note, I’ve been gaining more friends here making training and downtime much more enjoyable than the previous week.
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