Pre season Training…let the hard work and recruiting begin!
Well, we have just commenced our 4th week back together for those players that are back in The Gong. Most of the players have been keeping themselves in some sort of shape but from a Strength and Conditioning perspective we have to increase the workload week by week rather than just getting straight into smashing them and risk soft tissue injuries!
We spent week 1 purely on shooting technique and shooting drills. We have gone back to basics working on proper shooting technique and footwork drills just like their junior days! We did 3 sessions this week with high intensity shooting and got literally 1000’s of shots up!
In week 2, it was time to get the boys back in the gym with BaiMed where all players were put through a battery of tests to see where they are at Physically…at the end of the season, all players were given specific individual goals that they need to achieve and our S and C Coach Nathan Spencer has the whip out!
We were blessed to have our Boomer Boys Norto and Nick back with the group after being away at National Camp on the Gold Coast and Cody Ellis came back from Perth for the week to do his Physical testing, and train with the team… as mentioned last week, Cody has lost a lot of weight and will surprise a lot of people with his “new” body shape.
In week 3, we had 5 sessions this week and continued to increase the workload on the court and in the gym. We spent 50% of the sessions shooting and 50% of the session playing 3 on 3. I had actually only scheduled 4 sessions (Mon, Tues, Thurs and Fri) this week and made the Wednesday session an optional shooting session for getting up extra shots. I was pleasantly surprised that EVERY available player came in at 9.00am sharp for the session and they worked their butts off…this is a really good sign for our group!
In week 4, we have continued to work harder physically particularly on the conditioning side of things where we are now combining conditioning drills, shooting drills and scrimmaging up and down the floor and the guys are really going for it…the sessions have been of a very high quality for this time of the year. In particularly, the old fella Ozzie is shooting the lights out in the scrimmages but most surprisingly, he is dunking on everyone as well and “posterising” Whitey…ok, I made that one up!!!!
Over the past few weeks we have “an open training” policy where we have invited in local players from the Illawarra as well as players from interstate. We have had players come from Melbourne, Perth, Bendigo and from all over Sydney to join in with our contracted players and to see how they measure up…it has been great to have the extra bodies on the floor so we can do a whole lot more at our sessions. From these open sessions, this helps with the process of selecting Development Players (DP’s) for the season rather than having a one off camp to select players.
Ok…I have had LOTS of people ask about what is happening with our imports and I can assure you that we HAVE NOT been sitting on our hands doing nothing!!! We have been quite meticulous with the process as there is lots to do when recruiting the “right” player!
Over the past few months we have received 100’s of emails from agents recommending players for our team and that is a big task for the coaching staff to go through all of these players. We know what we want and what type of player that is needed BUT we are also in competition with other NBL teams, D-League teams, Asian teams and European teams that have MUCH larger budgets than what we do. We have found some OUTSTANDING players but simply cannot get them due to the massive $$$ that some teams are paying!!!
From the hundreds of players that come across our desk, we then short list them and then start the process of doing checks on them. We look at every player on Synergy to look at their strengths and weakness…Synergy is a high level software package that has the ability to breakdown and report on nearly every player from College basketball through to all International leagues around the world. You can get incredible playing information on most players in the World!
We then do extensive research through the internet where we are searching for any possible issues…we have some players that are recommended by agents with all sorts of charges such as domestic violence, assault, drug issues and even had a player who has been charged with attempted murder!! We look at their social media accounts to see what type of person they are as well and when you see some posts, it is an automatic NO!! Yes…big brother is watching so all those people / players out there, be careful what you say on Social Media as this becomes public to all of us!!
Dealing with agents is a real experience and I find that this is a necessary evil!
Some agents would sell their children to get a deal done and you simply cannot trust them at all!!! Luckily with doing this gig for many years you start to develop relationships with some good agents and get to trust some of them which helps immensely with filtering out the good and the bad character players. No matter how good a player you find, the character of the player is the MOST IMPORTANT characteristic that I am looking for…they MUST be good people and be able to fit into our team and community!!
Having worked in International Basketball for most of my career, I also have some very trustworthy coaches that I reach out to as well. In particular, I have a guy on the ground that works with Memphis Grizzlies by the name of Mike Schmidt who helps with the process of weeding out the good from the bad. He knows most of the D-League players and provides a lot of information on players and does a lot of background checks through his network and also gets me in touch with their coaches.
Once I get the player details, the final things that I do when recruiting players is to call the player and their coaches directly to really find out what they are like. I talk about our program, what we are about and what we are trying to achieve…basically trying to sell our program to them. I want to know about their coachability, their attitude, are they are good teammate, do they work hard and so on, what are their views on different things, I want to know about their personal life, family etc., so I can get a good feel for the player. This is definitely not fool proof but it generally does help.
Once we have found what we want it is now over to our management to do the wheeling and dealing with agents to try and get the players that we want. Sometimes we can get what we want, sometimes we don’t as the players that we are looking at are also getting recruited by a number of other teams.
So…please stay patient and believe that the imports that we are bringing in will be a really good fit for our team.
These announcements will be made VERY SOON so stay tuned but I am REALLY HAPPY with who is coming in!
That’s it for now and until next week’s update, take care and FEAR THE HAWK!!