Pro Basketball Hopefuls In Ventura County Prepping For NBA Draft
The NBA’s next big star might not be in New York or Los Angeles right now, but at a sports complex in Ventura County.
A dozen high-level college basketball players from teams like the University of Kentucky, Houston, Indiana, and Duke are in the Conejo Valley, for a special new training program intended to prepare them for the NBA draft.
Andrew Henke is the Director of Basketball for what’s called The Sports Academy, a new sports training facility located in Thousand Oaks. He says they are helping the players get into peak physical condition, as well as working with them mentally on everything from the pressure of playing for scouts, and team officials to dealing with the interviews which are part of the process.
Martez Harrison was a guard with the University of Missouri-Kansas City who’s hoping to make it to the NBA. Harrison is hoping the extra training will give him an extra leg up when NBA scouts, coaches, and managers make their decisions.
Henke says this is the first time they’ve hosted an NBA pre-draft development program. Before the draft, players will take part in workouts with teams to showcase their skills.
The coaches for the camp include Thomas Scott, who’s coached for the Lakers and Cleveland Cavaliers, and is the son of NBA star player and coach Byron Scott. Scott says this mini-camp is giving prospects what amounts to a cheat sheet to prepare for their shot with NBA teams.
It’s an opportunity for some college players who were good, but may not be one of the 60 drafted by NBA teams. Outside of the draft, only a handful of other players usually get signed.
JJ Outlaw has been a coach with the Lakers and other teams, and is working as a consultant with players at the Thousand Oaks program. He says besides looking for college players who are obvious NBA starters right off the bat, teams also look for promising prospects they can use to fill long-range needs.
These players live and breathe basketball. Many of them received college scholarships to play ball. Now, they’re hoping to take those dreams one step further, with a shot at the NBA, and a career in the sport.