Recently I was hired to workout Darius Johnson-Odom by his agent, Lance Young, for the NBA Draft. We did most of the workouts at the Al McGuire Center in downtown Milwaukee, which gave me the opportunity to be around the Marquette Men’s basketball program the last month. Here are a few things that I learned.
We Over Me
Players at Marquette are really locked in on the “we over me” concept. During the first workout I did with Darius Johnson-Odom a couple of the current players were working out on their own on the other side of the gym. During a break that they took to get some water they were watching DJO and I workout. Within 10 seconds of them grabbing water I heard “Good work DJ” “Keep going hard man”
Another workout I was putting DJO through a dribbling and passing drill we call the “Vision” Drill. It’s probably one of the most difficult, challenging and game like drills we do. The drill was tough and DJ lost the ball a few times, but here comes in Jae Crowder who was just showing up from class. “Nice D – you look good man”. What does that do for someone’s confidence when they are trying to go from playing the 2 in college to being a point in the NBA?
Here’s the drill we were doing.
Player 1 starts with a 2 basketballs basketball and performs the stationary 2 ball dribble move that he is going to do through the cones. If he is doing Inside Out dribble through the cones he starts out with 2 ball stationary inside out. When the coach says “Go” he passing one ball off the dribble to the coach and starts out going through the cones making an inside out dribble at each cone. If the coach passes him the ball he has to pass his basketball to the coach, catch the ball from the coach and continue through the drill. Perform 2 Trips Each Move 1. Inside Out L 2. Inside Out R 3. Crossover 4. Between the Legs 5. Behind the Back 6. Freestyle (any move you want). The coach controls the drill by throwing as many passes as he wants to the player.
Always be improving.
The 3rd day I was there I was working with Jae Crowder and DJO on some footwork off the dribble. After explaining the stride stop footwork Jae said,”Ok DJ – let’s get better at this today”. It wasn’t just the “Ok”. It was an enthusiastic affirmation of what we needed to do to improve that day. I truly believe that means more than I can explain here. It also means that a teammate, friend and 2012 Big East Player of the Year is saying to you “It’s ok that we aren’t doing it right, but let’s forget about that and just get better. That’s all we can control.”
Always be learning.
Head Coach Buzz Williams actually came in a watched a workout one day to see what we were teaching and pick up some new drills. Luke Meier and I chatted with him for about an hour after the workout, which turned into him asking me about 20 questions. Here’s a guy who has taken his team to back to back Sweet 16 appearances, running a high major DI basketball program, and he’s asking me for new drills. You can always be learning no matter who it is from.
By emphasizing the we over me concept players are encouraging and supportive of each other, which in turn really is going to improve them as individuals. The better the players you have around you the harder you are going to have to work and more you are going to improve as an individual. A candle never loses it’s light from lighting another candle.