Tell us about how you got started? Who in your family has inspired you the most ? What led you to become an NBA Trainer?
I started watching basketball when I was about 5 years old. Watching Michael Jordan on the Bulls was obviously inspiring. I became a Duke fan because of “The shot” by Christian Laettner but I didn’t understand the gravity of what I saw at that time. My dad grew up in the Bronx and hooped at Rucker among other various tournaments. He played with Rod Strickland in co op city too. So basketball has always been in my blood. I became an NBA trainer because I love the game. I was introduced to several players, agents, and executives by some kids as well as their families I trained. I’m very lucky.
Talk about your role with Ibaka & Plumlee? Describe the process working with them? What are some highlights?
I help keep them sharp. Lots of focus on technique and form. When you deal with vets who work extremely hard it’s important to be on your A-game. Mason Plumlee and Serge Ibaka are two of the best people you will ever meet, great guys, and smart. They ask a lot of questions so I spend a good amount of time going over film so I can answer when they do ask. My highlights are whenever they’re succeeding. I’m so happy and proud of them. Serge winning his first NBA title was surreal, to think my friend won a ring and I had a part in it. Very cool.
Where do you see yourself adding the most value into the players skill development?
Definitely their shooting. I love teaching form and technique. I am a stickler for details, almost too much sometimes lol. That’s what the game is though. I also like being a sounding board for them. Players are creatures of habit and sometimes adding something to their game could be daunting but it’s necessary. It’s vital to get over the mental block. That’s where the healthy dialogue comes in, be critical yet supportive. It’s a huge leap for both trainer and player.
Training younger players has been a passion of yours ( regardless of their skill level ) how does that help you hone your training skills?
It helps tremendously. You’re not teaching YOUR game to a player, you’re crafting them to make theirs better. So you have to teach and learn (never enough learning) the fundamentals. So really watch the game. You learn a lot of patience, no way around it. NBA or pee wee, you’re going to rebound more missed shots than made ones. So go enjoy it!
Talk about your relationship with Duke & working with Coach K & Zion ?
Surreal. I grew up and still am a huge Duke fan. I don’t work for Coach K or Duke in any capacity. I think a lot of people think I do because of my love for the school and program. It’s the best of both worlds, academics and ball. I’ve been on campus with Mason and some of the other former Duke guys in the offseason so my relationship with Coach is good from being with them. He runs a tight ship, I respect him and the program. It’s great to see, especially during K Academy. I never miss an opportunity to pick his brain. Basketball or not, I don’t take any conversation with him for granted. I’ve learned so much from him. How could you not? He’s the G.O.A.T. As for Zion, on and off the court, he’s such a good dude. I got to be part of his first national commercial for ESPN with RJ Barrett. So dope. We don’t do any training. I just offer him support and insight when we talk and see one another. It’s always important to keep your friends lifted. I’m so proud of him.
What’s your dream job in Basketball?
I love teaching the game, watching the game, I just love basketball Lol. Working in an NBA front office when it comes to scouting and evaluating player development is something I’d love. Maybe that’s something that comes my way. Until then I’m going to enjoy this ride I’m on. I’m very fortunate.