MIAMI, Fla. – It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to be successful in the game of basketball.
Six players—three guards and three forwards–from the Miami Heat offered their advice to young players and shared some individual drills they did when they were in high school to help others further their basketball careers:
PG Shabazz Napier (pictured), 1st NBA season. College: Connecticut, Hometown: Roxbury, Mass.
“I did a lot of close to the rim, one ball, one-hand shooting. I’d start real close and then keep backing up and get further and further. It teaches you how to put a lot of arc on the ball. It’s funny, when I was a freshman in high school I didn’t know how to shoot well and I was able to meet with a guy who is one of my mentors, who helped me understand the ability and the idea of shooting with one hand. He got it from Larry Bird and just having that touch. You would think I was born to shoot it the way I shoot, but that’s not the case. I just continued to work on that and I still to that to this day and it’s something that everyone does.”
PG Norris Cole, 4th NBA season. College: Cleveland State; Hometown: Dayton, Ohio
“I always played basketball, but in order to excel at the next level physically you have to be at a certain level especially to be like an All-American and be a pro. And so, physically I got my body strong enough and in shape enough where I could perform and show my skill level. Once my body caught up with my skill level, that’s when I became a pro.”
PF Josh McRoberts, 8th NBA season. College: Duke; Hometown: Carmel, Ind.
“I think just being able to play all over the court and face the basket helped me. I was lucky growing up to have good coaches and people around me that didn’t pigeon-hole me to be a big guy and just go stand under the rim. I was able to play a lot of different positions and play against older kids where I could be smaller and play guard and face the basket. Having that versatility where I worked on everything probably helped me a lot. My athleticism hurt me more than anything because once I got athletic I didn’t really need as much of the skill work and I didn’t have to focus as much on that at the high school level because I could just overpower or out-jump everybody.”
“I think shooting the ball is something you’re always improving on and that’s something I’ve improve on since high school such as where I shoot my shot from and my release and a lot of that is working on it with different coaches and you kind of have to make it your own. You have shooting coaches or shooting guys or coaches that try to help you and they might have their way of doing it, but you have to take pieces from everybody and figure out how you do it. You kind of have to be creative and figure out what works best for you and how you’re going to stay consistent.”
SG Shannon Brown, 9th NBA season. College: Michigan State; Hometown: Maywood, Ill.
“I’ve always been super athletic and I was blessed with super athleticism and I’ve been able to run and jump. My skills start developing a little bit later in my basketball career. When I first touched a basketball, it was like a foreign object to me. I knew I liked it and when I watched it on TV, it was like ‘oh shoot I want to do that.’ Just the understanding of basketball and really locking into basketball, I think I let too many other outside influences kind of had me one foot in, one foot out and obviously now I’m over that, but my skill set starting developing a little bit later.”
“Me personally, when I was young, I was out-running and out-jumping and out-athleticisming everybody, that had nothing to do with skill. So once I got a little bit to college and then more in the NBA, I really had to take a few steps back and really sit back, watch and understand what basketball is all about. What triggered it for me was wanting to be great. I knew I didn’t know everything so I just stayed in the gym. I was always shooting, always working out, always getting up extra shots trying to figure out how I can get the edge. That’s pretty much what it was, my mentality was to play as hard as I can and let the chips fall where they may.”
SF James Ennis, 1st NBA season. College: Long Beach State; Hometown: Ventura, Calif.
“In high school I couldn’t shoot the ball so by me going to my J.C. at Oxnard, I couldn’t really shoot it, but once I went to my other junior college (Ventura) I was able to shoot it a lot better by me putting more work in and just focusing on my form. I was just staying in the gym. I was a gym rat with my brother and he really motivated me to go to the gym a lot and I put a lot of shots up and it carried over. I was shooting close to 1,000 shots a day every day and I was in there twice a day in the morning and at night during my senior year at Long Beach.”
F Shawne Williams, 8th NBA season. College: Memphis; Hometown: Laurinburg, N.C.
“Coming out of high school I remember this chair drill that our coach used to make us go through all the time. We would put a chair on each side of the elbow. It was brutal, but we used to have to do it. We would come down, do one move on a chair and then getting to the hole. We used to do every move from a crossover to between your legs to a spin move to a double spin move, do lay-ups and jumpers. We used to do that for about 40 minutes.”