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NBA PM: Kansas Lands A Star In Wiggins
Posted By Yannis Koutroupis On May 14, 2013 @ 5:17 pm In NCAA | No Comments
After a magical NCAA Tournament run at Florida Gulf Coast, Sherwood Brown is out to prove he belongs in the NBA. He talks about that and more in today's video of the day.Watch More Video Here
Kansas Lands a Star in Wiggins
The University of Kansas landed the gem of the 2013 recruiting class today in Andrew Wiggins. Wiggins chose Kansas over North Carolina, Florida State and Kentucky. It was long assumed that it was a two-school race for Wiggins between FSU and Kentucky, but Kansas was able to win the sweepstakes despite getting involved later in the process than their competition.
The addition of Wiggins makes Kansas’ recruiting class second only to Kentucky’s. He’ll be joining fellow five-star prospects Joel Embiid and Wayne Selden along with Conner Frankamp, Brannen Greene and Frank Mason, who are all four-star recruits.
After losing Jeff Withey, Travis Releford, Elijah Johnson and Kevin Young to graduation and Ben McLemore to the NBA Draft, every spot in the starting lineup at Kansas is up for grabs. This loaded recruiting class will likely make up a big portion of their starting lineup, if not all of it. The Jayhawks will be extremely young, but they’ll be just as talented. They may have some growing pains early on as most young teams do, but by the end of the season they could be one of the scariest contenders for the national championship. Given their head coach Bill Self’s track record for developing talent, there’s no doubt that this team should make great strides throughout the course of the season.
Wiggins is going to be the piece that makes everything work at Kansas next season. They were going to be a good team already. Despite their youth, you can never count out a team coached by Self. However, with Wiggins now on board, the speed of their development will get kicked up a couple of notches because he is the kind of player who just makes the game easier for everyone else.
Without even touching the basketball, Wiggins has a presence on the court that impacts the game. It’s something only the truly promising prospects possess. When he steps out on the court, the opposition knows they’re in for a rough game and his teammates’ confidence is boosted as well because they know they’re playing with someone who can do it all.
Kansas is going to provide Wiggins with a tremendous opportunity to showcase his leadership skills. This team is going to be reliant on him to produce at a high level game in and game out and set the example for everyone else with his work ethic and approach.
Wiggins is only going to be at Kansas a year, but he has the potential to leave a lasting impact on this program with his leadership on his classmates, who will likely be around for more than just their freshmen campaigns. NBA teams already view him as the top prospect for the 2014 NBA Draft because of his incredible talent, but if he thrives in the captain role for Kansas he may enter the league as his team’s go-to guy, just like LeBron James was in Cleveland and Kevin Durant was in Seattle.
Kansas is currently hosting Tarik Black, a transfer from Memphis who will be immediately eligible to play next season. Adding Black would give Kansas a strong presence in the interior and some much needed experience. So, this historic day for the Jayhawks could get even better before the night is over.
Oppenheimer: One of the Best Trainers Not in the NBA Yet
With the 2013 NBA Draft right around the corner, we’re hearing a lot about how much upside and potential certain players have. The draft couldn’t be less about who is the best right now. It’s all about who can be the best down the line. Players’ ceilings are determined by lots of factors, like their age, skill level, athletic abilities, previous production and body type.
However, what rarely gets mentioned is who they’ll be working with and what they’ll be doing once they become a pro. While training with the right person may not be as vital as having a seven-foot wingspan or a 40” vertical, it’s an extremely important aspect when it comes to maximizing potential.
The NBA is filled with some of the best player development coaches and trainers the game of basketball has to offer; some, not all.
Josh Oppenhemier of Excel Basketball, a former player with nine years of professional experience and 35 years total devoted to the game of basketball, has yet to work exclusively for a NBA team. But, he’s put together a program and body of work that any NBA team would greatly benefit from adding.
Oppenheimer is currently training pre-draft prospects like Duke’s Mason Plumlee, Michigan’s Tim Hardaway Jr. and Murray State’s Isaiah Canaan among others (Click on the individual players to see some footage of their workouts with Oppenheimer). He’s preparing them for NBA workouts and making sure that they are at their best as the audition for a spot in the draft.
“I’m really loyal to the guys I work with,” Oppenheimer said to HOOPSWORLD. “I really want them to succeed. As the guys I work with know I’m available basically 24 hours a day to work with guys. I love being in the gym probably as much as a player does. It’s where I’ve thrived and what I like to do. I just put in an honest day’s work and a hard day’s work every day. I’ll be there every day for the player and I think that’s most important, to beat the player in, stay after a player. They see that, appreciate it, they start staying longer and getting in more work. And that gets them better and that’s what I’m all about.”
“I knew everyday going into the gym with Josh I was going to be challenged and pushed to the next level and that as much as anything he believed in me and my ability to be the player I wanted to be at a time when not many people did.” – Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder
Oppenheimer connects with players in a special way, not only because he’s very personable and passionate about the game, but because he’s still a player at heart. He understands what it takes to play at the highest level because he’s been a pro himself and has worked with some of the best, like All-Stars Luol Deng, Russell Westbrook and Paul George among dozens of other pros.
As rich as Oppenheimer’s knowledge is, he also never hesitates to switch from preaching to just showing, like when he went 17-18 from NBA three during a drill with Tim Hardaway Jr., quite possibly the best shooter in the 2013 draft, making it near impossible for him to win.
“I think trust is huge, but trust isn’t easily given,” Oppenheimer said. “You have to earn it. One thing I try to do is whether a guy is a top-five pick or a guy is a potentially undrafted free agent is treat them all the same. Treat them all with respect. Show them all that I’m in it to get them better, give them the greatest opportunity and chance they have to achieve their dreams and what they really want to do. That’s really what it’s about. It’s not about me. I want to help these guys. I think if I show them that it gives me a chance to earn their trust and earn their confidence.
“I really think if I put in an honest day of work and they see that and that I treat them fairly and work just as hard with a guy who will be an undrafted free agent as a guy who will be a lottery pick, I think that goes a long way with a guy from top to bottom.”
“Josh instills so much confidence in you when you work with him. His drills are efficient and challenging. The thing that sets him apart from other trainers is that you know he generally cares about our improvement as a player as much you do yourself and he’s gonna push you until you get there.” – Luol Deng of the Chicago Bulls.
Despite the immense amount of rave reviews that Oppenheimer has from the players who have worked on him, he’s quick to give the credit to them.
“I think it’s really important,” Oppenheimer said of players having the right training. “But I also think it a lot of it rests with the player. There’s a lot of guys out there who work with players and do a really really good job. I think sometimes how much a guy improved, the trainer gets sometime too much credit. If a guy doesn’t improve enough the trainer is blamed too much. I think it’s kind of in between. You have to have a good working relationship and trust with a player, but a lot of it is how much effort the player is going to put in. Is the player going to listen, trust what the trainer is telling them and is the trainer qualified to do his job in a short amount of time?
“You’re not going to change anybody in a month but depending on how you approach it as a trainer and how the player approaches it, you work together as a team. You can get a lot accomplished, but you’re not going to turn into somebody new. It’s about extenuating what they do well, getting them to do those things well in a workout. If you can touch on a couple things to help them improve in maybe an area they’re deficient you can do that. But, you’re not going to take a guy who can’t shoot and make him into a shooter. You’re not going to take a guy who can’t dribble and make him a great ball handler. But, you can improve little bits and pieces. But I really think extenuating what a player does, what the NBA people are looking for and getting most guys to be able to do that and what they do they well is as important as anything.
“I had been told for a long time, working with pros is different than working with college guys. And I kind of view it as working with a basketball player is working with a basketball player. Guys who want to get good allow you to help them, teach them and try to give them some insight on what you know.”
To learn more about Oppenheimer and his program, make sure to check out his website Excelmygame.com.
Point 3 All About Hoopers
There’s an emerging apparel company called Point 3 sports that is solely dedicated to performance-enhancing items for basketball players from the ankle up. While all of the major companies like Nike, adidas and Under Armour are trying to appease athletes in all sports, Point 3 is only about basketball and doing things for basketball players that those companies simply do not.
“We started company because there has been incredible innovation in the basketball footwear space,” Michael Luscher, the founder of Point 3, said to HOOPSWORLD. “People think about basketball equipment, what basketball players wear and actually gravitate to footwear. There has been amazing innovation. But, there’s really been no innovation for basketball players ankles up. If you think about, you’re a runner, tennis player, golfer, yoga, companies embrace and pay a lot of attention to your body. Basketball, which is the number one team sport in the country being almost 30 million participants, guys are still wearing cotton t-shirts, wife beaters, the same shorts the fab five came out with in 1992. Our intent and really the purpose of our company is to evolve basketball apparel and innovate ankles up so all players have a brand that really represents what their needs are and helps them be their best on the court.
“When we came up with the idea for the company it was based on a void in the space. There was no company that was exclusively dedicated to basketball performance apparel, which is a glaring need for people who play a lot of hoops.”
Point 3 products have a special patent that provides basketball players with something they’ve needed since the invention of the game, but has never been produced until now.
“We have a proprietary technology that we call DRYV® moisture control,” Luscher said. “Basically what that is is a built in towel into your shorts. All players are constantly using their jersey to wipe sweat off their face and they’re using their shorts to wipe moisture off of their hands. The vast majority of basketball apparel today is designed to move moisture, not absorb it. What we’ve done and we’ve patented this process, we provide an outer layer of absorbent material into our garments on top of an inner layer so it gives you a place to wipe your hands on your shorts, a place to wipe your face on your shirt. The moisture passes through a layer of air and then it hits the inner layer, which is what’s on your skin and evaporates so that moisture that you’re absorbing never actually reaches the body in the end. We’re the only company in the world that does that. That’s kind of been our secret sauce.
“All we do all day long is think about what basketball players wear on their body and how can we make it better. So our compression top is cut so that there’s a ventilated heat zone, an area that allows your body to expel more heat and sweat less. Our hoody is designed to move with your body when you shoot. All we do is talk to and think about basketball players. Our brand voice is exclusively to the basketball player and a propriety technology that addresses a long standing need for the ball player.”
While the other big brands look at apparel as compliments to their footwear, Point 3 looks at the apparel as something primary, not secondary.
“The reality of it is the apparel needs its own innovator, its own caretaker,” Luscher said. “In a way of course we’re competitors because every market share point that we gain is probably a sacrifice of what they’re doing. But the reality is we exist in a bit of a vacuum that we’re the only ones that occupy.”
Point 3 has other big projects currently being developed that is projected for a winter release like a state of the art sock and warm up pants to go along with their hoody’s that are unrestricting to the shooting process.
“We can’t put our logo on anything unless it improves on what is currently is out there,” Luscher said. “The 3-point logo doesn’t yet mean innovation in basketball space, it will, but it doesn’t inherently mean that yet. So every garment that we make has to be better than what’s already out there. That’s the design ethos and the theory behind everything that we make. It has to be better than what’s currently out there.”
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