A PROFESSIONAL BASKETBALL PLAYER’S THOUGHTS: DE’MON BROOKS

De’Mon Brooks Davidson College Standout & Professional European Basketball Player Interview

de'mon brook davidson basketballDe’Mon Brooks is about to end his 3rd year of European professional basketball. After a short stint in Isreal and some full seasons in Italy, De’Mon made his way to Germany where he plays with Bayreuth in the country’s top professional league.

De’Mon is a graduate of Davidson College where he was a three-time All-Conference player and a two-time Conference Player of the Year. Few players have the drive, work-ethic and determination like De’Mon. Young players can learn a ton from his thoughts below. Enjoy this interview with De’Mon Brooks!

1. Do you feel like you have adjusted to life in Europe? What has been the hardest adjustment for you overseas?

With it being the end of my third year, I feel like I have adjusted pretty well to living here in Europe. With that being said, it did take some time to get used to. My rookie year was by far the toughest year because of the culture shock, on and off the court.

Off the court things like grocery shopping, driving around the city, and finding activities to do at night were a real challenge. Being in the states, we think everyone operates the way America does but that is definitely not the case.

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PROS AND CONS OF EXPOSURE AND ELITE COLLEGE BASKETBALL CAMPS

Showcase Exposure & Elite College Basketball Camps The Truth About Showcase “Exposure” & Elite College Basketball Camps

Now that the 2017 April NCAA “evaluation” or “live” periods have ended, many players are looking forward to the the next evaluation period in July. However, in between now and then, players often times attend “showcase/exposure” and/or “elite” basketball camps, so I wanted to provide some facts on showcase and elite basketball camps as NOT all basketball camps are created equal.

Let’s start with the difference between so-called exposure and elite basketball camps. Showcase (exposure) camps are typically run by private organizations and companies with the goal of bringing in as many talented players as possible, having them play against each other, scouting them, and often times ranking them.

Elite basketball camps are put on by actual colleges and universities who try to bring in as many of their recruits as possible as well as other talented players with the goal of increasing their talent pool of which to recruit from.

There are positives and negatives to both showcase and elite basketball camps, and to be clear, not all showcase and elite basketball camps are run in between the April and July live periods, but many are, especially college basketball elite camps. Exposure basketball camps are typically run throughout the year, mostly in the fall, spring, and summer.

We’ll delve a bit deeper into each basketball camp starting with showcase camps.

Showcase Exposure & Elite College Basketball Camps

Showcase/Exposure Basketball Camps

For the most part, I think showcase basketball camps are a SCAM that sucker players and parents into paying money to come to a “camp” with the promise of getting kids exposure, which can lead to college scholarship offers. There are a few reasons I’m not a huge fan of these events:

  1. I put camp in quotation marks because typically all these events consist of is dividing players up into teams and simply letting them scrimmage or play games. There is usually no teaching or skill work or anything like that, so the team “camp” is not a great word for them.
  2. Division 1 and Division 2 coaches are only allowed to evaluate prospects during official NCAA evaluation periods, so they aren’t allowed to come to these camps. If there is a exposure camp held during a live period, there typically aren’t a lot of coaches there anyway because they’re at AAU events watching teams play.
  3. The highly-rated, sure-fire D1 prospects are usually given free entry to these camps, so that later on, when they sign with a Division 1 school, the showcase camp can put that player on their list of “alumni” and claim that they helped that kid get a scholarship. Future players and parents will then see that and think “if it worked for that kid then it will work for me/my kid” when little do they know that player was going to get scholarship offers regardless of the camp.
  4. College coaches typically don’t listen to these so-called scouting services that often times run these showcase or exposure basketball camps. They get blasted daily by all sorts of scouts and scouting services talking about this kid or that kid and most of the time the emails go to spam or the coaches just delete them without ever reading them. Think about it, the more kids a scouting service can say they helped play in college, the better for them, so they often claim kids are better than they are. A college coach then might go see kids claimed to be a prospect by this scouting service one too many times before they lose all trust and just stop listening altogether.

Again, these are generalizations, but true of the majority of showcase or exposure camps or scouting services. They’re just trying to make money off players and parents hopes and dreams.

Fortunately, there are some good ones out there like Phenom Hoop Report out of North Carolina, the Hoop Group Academic Elite Camp, the Jay Bilas Skills Camp, etc., but parents and players must do their homework before paying money to attend.

The main positive most showcase camps have going for them is that since they do typically get a decent amount of talented players all competing to play at the next level, they are often times a good place for players to get a feel for who their competition is and where they fit in that mix.

Just don’t expect to pay a couple hundred bucks, go to a camp or two, and then have college scholarship offers come raining down.

Elite College Basketball Camps

Elite college basketball camps are a much more legit product all around as they are run by actual college coaches on their school’s campus and they have a bit more of a true camp feel to them, so let’s start with the positives.

  1. Elite basketball camps are, like I said, run by college coaches, who are the actual decision makers when offering basketball Showcase Exposure & Elite College Basketball Campsscholarships, not “scouts”. Going right to the source, skipping the middleman so to speak, and having the opportunity to showcase a player’s skills in front of the actual decision makers is a great benefit.
  2. These basketball camps typically have a serious skill work component and often times also film study and a college-style practice on top of scrimmaging and games, so the benefits to the player go far beyond getting “exposure”.
  3. Although one one of the negatives of going to a D1 elite basketball camp is that only D1 school will have coaches there (obviously), there are typically other D3 schools that will come watch as well. This is a great benefit as these are more decision makers and more options for a player to potentially play college basketball.

Like I said, the main negative to an elite college basketball camp is that a player will play just in front of that specific D1 school and no others.

Moreover, that school may only have 1-3 scholarships for that player’s class and with a hundred players at the elite camp as well as thousands more throughout the country that aren’t at camp, the chances aren’t great that a scholarship offer will come out of attending an elite college basketball camp.

Conclusion

With all of that said about showcase/exposure and elite basketball camps, and not wanting to end on a negative note, I believe that these basketball camps are all tools that can be used in combination with others, like playing on a good AAU team for instance, to give players the BEST chance possible to play college basketball.

Showcase camps can be used to play against other good competition and to figure out where they stand in comparison to this competition.

College elite basketball camps can be used to get a better sense of a specific college and the college basketball experience, as well as the opportunity to play in front of the actual scholarship decision makers.

When used thoughtfully and in combination with other tools, showcase and elite camps can be useful on the journey towards getting a college basketball scholarship or recruited.

THE TRUTH ABOUT BASKETBALL ATHLETICISM

Basketball Athleticism Interview with Jeremy Martin from the Ultimate Athlete

Basketball is truly one of the most difficult games to master. Players need to possess an incredible amount of mental toughness, physical toughness, athleticism and very specialized fundamentals.

That’s why you always hear stories about guys getting up shots at 6 am, then heading to the weight room in the afternoon and then back on the court for games in the evening.

Not only that, but the importance of REST and RECOVERY is crucial in such a physically demanding sport. Working hard is not enough. Players must work hard and work smart.

The details of working hard and working smart are still being figured out. We see players doing so many different drills and exercises, all in the hopes of becoming more explosive.

We sat down with the Founder of Charlotte’s Ultimate Athlete, Jeremy Martin, to ask him some questions of how basketball players should think about becoming a better athlete by enhancing their basketball athleticism.

Logan Kosmalski (LK): Jeremy, thanks for agreeing to answer some questions for us. Great to have you!

Jeremy Martin (JM): Thanks for allowing me to be here.

LK: What are some misconceptions that you think a lot of high school basketball players have concerning strength development and sports performance training?

jeremy martin ultimate athleteJM: That’s a great question, Logan. First off, let’s talk about strength training. This is such a broad topic and varies based on the athlete and his or her goals.

When most people think of strength training, they typically picture a guy lifting heavy on the bench or squat.

People probably don’t look at strength training as someone doing shoulder prehab exercises for the rotator cuff, core strength, or hip unilateral activities in the open chain.

Well, guess what?

These are 3 different forms of strength training that are extremely beneficial for any athlete — especially a basketball player.

When I look at strength training, I first think about the athletes’ muscle imbalances. And yes, every athlete has them! In every sport, there are certain movement patterns done repeatedly and because of this, certain muscles are over-utilized and some are under-utilized.

There are certain length-tension relationships with every muscle and it is my goal to make sure all my athletes fall into this category…and the only way to get there is through strength training.

Basketball Athleticism Training

LK: What are some new trends in sports performance training for basketball that you like? Some that you don’t like?

JM: I like some of the sport-specific stuff that I have seen recently. Anytime we can have the athlete understand the drill/movement pattern better by putting them in their natural environment (possibly with a ball in their hand) or simply relating the drill to what they do on the court is important.

I always like to think about a concept from the athlete’s perspective and make sure they fully understand why we are doing something and how it will help them become a better player on the court.

I think Alan Stein does a great job with this concept. He takes fundamental sports performance drills with a speed ladder or micro-hurdles, adds a basketball to it, and immediately the players feel like it is more of a “basketball drill” and gets a lot of productivity out of his players. I do think that every player has certain limitations and there is always an area that needs special attention.

Doing some of the fancy stuff that looks cool on YouTube or Instagram is great, but sometimes you need to ask yourself, “is this drill making me better?Is it increasing my vertical jump or helping me run faster? Or is it just a good complementary tool that allows me to show off my vertical or how fast I run?

For example, let’s take the vertimax machine. It’s very popular in jumping-based sports like basketball or volleyball. For those of you that are unfamiliar, the concept is to do a variety of high-level plyometric (jumping) activities under tension of bands.

Obviously, basketball players jump a lot in their sport so the concept of the vertimax is to do more jumping. The vertimax can be a great complement and supplementary machine to a sports performance program – but to truly become more powerful and explosive, you first need to know what power is.

Power is the combination of force and velocity. The vertimax provides velocity, but guess what? Basketball players are already doing plenty of that during their practices, games, and private training.

Have you ever asked yourself how much jumping you do in each week…from the lay-up line to the practice to the game? Well trust me – it’s a lot! Now ask yourself this question, “how many drills in each training week do you do to work on the force or force production part of the equation?” I’ll bet it is not enough.

Adding drills that are power-oriented that require triple joint extension (discussed further in later blogs) will be critical in completing the equation of power = force x velocity. The vertimax alone will not warrant the long-term change to vertical jump and/or overall power output.

LK: Every basketball player wants to increase their vertical. What is the very first piece of how to improve athleticism for basketballadvice you have for a high school player that comes to you and says “I want to jump higher”?

JM: How much relative body strength do you have? A lot of high school basketball players haven’t even developed fundamental body weight strength for their size and therefore remain grounded until that changes.

If you struggle doing pull-ups, push-ups or core work for high reps, then the chances are you probably do not have very good relative body strength and it’s almost impossible to have a big vertical jump.

The athletes that I have worked with who have a big leap
all have one thing in common. They all have good relative body strength on the drills I discussed. Let me ask you this question: how many pull-ups and push-ups do you think LeBron James can do?

Once the relative body strength is established, we can now start talking about force production and more importantly, ground reaction force. Ground reaction force is essentially what the athlete is doing during a vertical jump.

Think it about it…the athlete is providing force into the ground and quickly extending at the hip, knee, and ankle. This is also called ‘triple joint extension’ and needs to be trained using high-load speed strength activities and low-load speed-strength activities that will definitely increase the vertical and make our players more explosive on the court.

We spend a lot of time with our basketball players doing an explosive strength drill that requires triple-extension like a hang clean, front squat or Olympic style pull and quickly add a powerful plyometric activity right after it. This concept uses high-load and low-load speed strength inside of the same workout to get maximum power output. Trust me, before you know it, your jumping can go to a completely different level.

LK: At your gym, it seems like every day is a full body workout. Do you buy the old notion of “chest days”, “leg days”, “back days”, etc.?

JM: First off, you will never see a ‘chest day’ at ULTIMATE ATHLETE. We are athletes who are strength training to help us in a sport – not a bodybuilder simply trying to look good at their local figure competition.

I say this jokingly, but it is amazing to me how many athletes and training programs follow more of a bodybuilding routine over a sports performance program that willbasketball athleticism training help you increase your performance. Isn’t that the goal? To become a better athlete?

So yes, we do NOT follow or believe in the notion of training one body part per day. In sports, it is rarely ever an isolated movement.

Most of the time the athlete is using the entire kinetic chain and multiple muscles at one time to perform the desired skill or movement. Wouldn’t it make sense to train the same way?

Even though our strength workouts will always have a specific focus, we want to have our athletes on their feet as much as possible in an environment that is very similar to what they experience on the court.

Each workout needs to complement what we are doing with our speed and agility program and what will warrant the best results in the drills we test like the Vertical Jump and Broad Jump.

How to Improve Athleticism for Basketball

JM: I will talk more about power and explosive drills that we use at the training center in later blogs that require some equipment and technique, but for this blog, I want to give the readers’ three drills that do not require a lot of equipment, detailed technique, or space.LK: If you could advise basketball players to only do three exercises to develop explosiveness, what are they and how often should they do them?

1. Seated Box Jump: To do this, you need a small box to sit on and a taller box to jump on.
Start by sitting on the small box, bring the feet slightly off the ground and then explode
onto the taller box. I would recommend doing 4 sets of 6-8 repetitions.

2. Floor Bridge: To perform this exercise all you need is the box that you used for the
vertical jump. Place the box on its side (preferably 20’ height). Place the heels on the
box while you are lying flat on the floor and drive through the heels to extend the hips.
This drill is working your hamstrings and glutes which are big prime movers for jumping
and power activities. I would recommend doing 4 sets of 10-12 repetitions.

3. Pull-ups: Find a bar, start from a dead hang and pull yourself up. If you cannot perform
from a dead hang, use your feet from the ground ‘to assist’ you to jump up and thenbasketball athleticism
control the downward portion creating more ‘time under tension’ during the eccentric portion of the drill. This bodyweight drill is by far the best for developing relative body strength and overall upper body strength in general. If you can perform from a dead hang, I would recommend doing 4 sets of 5 repetitions to start and increase a rep each week until failure.

These are 3 simple drills any player could easily do in 20 minutes 3x per week.

Thanks, Jeremy!

If you’re interested in learning more or setting up a free evaluation at Ultimate Athlete, contact Jeremy Martin at 704.577.1402, or visit www.ultathlete.com.

HOW TO BECOME AN OVERSEAS PROFESSIONAL BASKETBALL PLAYER

5 Actionable Tips to Playing Basketball Overseas

It’s that time of year again. College basketball players have their NCAA careers come to an end, in what seems like the blink of an eye.

For many, the DREAM of playing basketball for a living begins. Where do you start? Who do you talk to? What are you supposed to do?

For college basketball players that have never been to another country or don’t know anyone that has played professional basketball overseas, beginning this process can seem like swimming in the middle of the ocean, you have no idea which direction to go and time is of the essence.

overseas basketball contract

At this point of your career, you should know if you have the skills to play in the NBA or D-League. For most college basketball players that want to continue their basketball career, playing internationally in Europe, Asia, Australia and Latin America is a viable next step.

So, the most common question you hear from college basketball players is, how do I play basketball overseas?

Hopefully, the 5 actionable tips below will help kick-start your thinking process and show you which direction to swim. But one word of warning, unless you have a ton of connections or you played at a big-time college basketball, to get a job playing overseas is NOT EASY and will require a ton of investment….an investment with no guarantee of a return.

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HOW TO EMAIL COLLEGE BASKETBALL COACHES FOR RECRUITING

how to email college basketball coaches

5 Tips To Get Your Email Noticed by College Basketball Coaches

Last year, I wrote a blog post about how to play basketball in college, and it included 10 important steps. The final step, which at this point the player is a LEGITIMATE college basketball prospect, is to email college basketball coaches.

Emailing college basketball coaches is a proactive step to let them know as a player you are interested in their basketball program, and hopefully, create some interest from the college coach in recruiting you.

So, what I’d like to do is explain the process of emailing college basketball coaches starting with creating a list of possible schools, how to find a college coach’s email addresses, what to include in the email, and finishing with how to send the emails.

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