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NBA AM: Larry Sanders Expanding His Game
Posted By Alex Kennedy On August 11, 2011 @ 6:04 am In All,Main Page,NBA | No Comments
Larry Sanders is only 22 years old, but he’s already displaying the maturity and professionalism of a seasoned veteran. The 15th overall pick in last year’s NBA Draft is working out at the famed IMG Academy in Florida to prepare for his sophomore season, and he’s not taking any shortcuts.
Sanders is on a customized training regimen that includes two-a-day workouts, weekly meetings with a nutritionist and daily weightlifting sessions. After averaging 4.3 points and 3.0 rebounds in 60 games last season with the Milwaukee Bucks, Sanders is hoping to speed along his development and contribute more next year.
“My first year was a rollercoaster ride,” Sanders told HOOPSWORLD. “I think that’s how it is for a lot of guys in their first season. There were a lot of ups and downs, but I really learned a lot. I got the chance to play and learn from all of my teammates. I’m just taking everything that I learned during the past year and using it this summer to get better for next season. Whenever the lockout ends, I know I need to be prepared and ready to go. That’s what my team expects and that’s what I expect out of myself.”
One area that Sanders is particularly focused on improving is his jump shot. He has spent a significant amount of time perfecting his mechanics and working with shooting coaches. Now, he has extended his range and become more confident in his shooting ability.
“I’ve been working on my jumper a lot,” Sanders said. “The shooting is coming along great. My jump shot is feeling really fluid. I’m starting to release the ball on the way up more and my feet are landing a lot better. The mechanics just feel a lot better with my jump shot. That’s just from working on it and having so much repetition. Hopefully I can keep it going and improve it even more so that by the time the season starts, it’ll be clicking and I can help my team win.”
“I’m really just trying to improve every aspect of my game,” he continued. “I’m a big man, but I want to expand my game and add new skills. I just want to keep getting better. The offseason is when champions are made. You have to put this work in during the summer. A lot of guys don’t do it and we all see what happens to their game.”
After spending so much time in the weight room, Saunders has bulked up and increased his strength. After matching up with some of the NBA’s best big last year, he realizes that he must continue to add muscle and get stronger. He has already made tremendous progress in the several weeks he has been at IMG, and he hopes to see even more improvement as he continues his training.
“I’ve improved a lot,” Sanders said. “Last summer, I was here before the draft and I was able to surprise a lot of people with how fit I was and how much muscle I had put on just from my workouts here at IMG. Now, we’re doing that same thing this year, but we’re turning it up. We’re really turning it up so I’m expecting even better results.”
While some players are signing abroad during the work stoppage, Sanders has no desire to play overseas. He’s focusing all of his attention on the Bucks and making his sophomore season his top priority. Sanders will remain at IMG until the lockout comes to an end.
“I’ll be here the whole summer,” Sanders said. “As long as the lockout is going on, I’ll be here. A lot of guys are going overseas and I’m not knocking that at all, but I just feel like I need to establish myself in this league before I start flirting with other ones. I’m just working out here so that I can have a good sophomore year and help my team make it further than we did last year.”
Sanders is taking the initiative to develop his game and chose to work out at IMG specifically because they could help him improve in so many different areas.
“There are all of these people here that want to help you, but they teach you responsibility at the same time,” Sanders said. “I’m making my own schedule and doing things by myself, which is important as a player and as a professional. You have to be able to take of yourself. That means making yourself better and knowing what to eat. There’s so much help here from nutritionists and trainers. It makes everything a lot easier and you can learn from them. That’s the biggest reason why I chose to work out here.”
Entering his second season in the NBA, Sanders is doing all of the right things and looking forward to the end of the lockout, when all of his hard work will start to pay off.
Houston Hosting 2013 All-Star Game: If the NBA lockout ends in a timely fashion and the upcoming season is saved, this 2012 All-Star game will be played at the new Amway Center in Orlando. While the current status of the league puts those plans up in the air, it sounds like the NBA is already one step ahead.
A new collective bargaining agreement will be ratified by 2013, which is why the league has begun making plans for the 2013 All-Star game. While the NBA hasn’t officially announced the location, it sounds like the festivities will be held in Houston.
The Associated Press reports that hotels surrounding the Toyota Center have been informed about the events so that they can begin to prepare for the weekend’s events.
Tere Perry, public relations manager at the Hilton Americas hotel, confirmed the NBA’s contact to the AP. An official announcement is expected closer to the date.
The last time Houston hosted the All-Star game was in 2006, when the Rockets had two Western Conference starters: Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady.
It was one of the more exciting All-Star games in recent years, as the East defeated the West, 122-120, thanks to Dwyane Wade’s game-winning layup in the final seconds.
News and Notes: Here are some items from this week’s news and notes bin.
• Blake Griffin is coming off of an extremely successful rookie campaign, and he won’t let the lockout slow down his development. Griffin is waking up at 7 a.m. every morning and working out to prepare for his sophomore season. Even when he was holding his first annual basketball camp in Oklahoma City last week, Griffin was always the first person in the gym and completed his morning workout before the campers arrived.
• John Wall returned to his hometown of Raleigh last night to compete in the NC Pro-Am, but received a surprising reaction from the fans in attendance. Rather than cheer for last year’s top overall pick, many of the spectators were openly rooting against the hometown hero. Last night, Wall was frustration after the game and sent out the following tweets: “Heard [I] had a lot of booo’s and haters out there tonite…but thanks y’all give me more motivation to keep workin… It amaze me what I try to do for my hometown and [how I] get treated…but that’s how it goes in life…”
• Last night, Rudy Gay was able to shoot a basketball for the first time in five months. Gay underwent surgery to repair his partially-dislocated left shoulder in March, but he has now been cleared to put up shots. Immediately after receiving the good news, the small forward went to a nearby gym to shoot around. While he still has a lot of work to do before he can play at full speed, this is a step in the right direction for Gay, who last played on February 15.
• Amar’e Stoudemire is attempting to organize a minicamp for the New York Knicks, but many of the details are still being worked out. The workouts would likely be held at IMG Academy in September, but official dates haven’t been scheduled yet. The only Knicks player who will be at IMG prior to the minicamp is rookie Iman Shumpert, who trained at the facilities during the pre-draft process.
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