2016:The 22nd annual NBPA Top 100 Camp tipped off on Tuesday at John Paul Jones Arena at the University of Virginia, featuring the future crop of NBA players.
In the current NBA Finals, eight of the 10 starters and 17 overall players attended the Top 100 Camp, developing into elite prospects under the camp’s unique umbrella of NBA player coaching, as well as life, family, business and professional development. Overall in the camp’s history, 326 teenagers have gone on to the NBA, and 92 NBA players joined benches in the league through the event’s coaching program. Other NBA players have become commentators through the Top 100 Camp’s broadcaster program.
Day 1 was headlined by keynote speaker Derek Anderson, who played in the NBA for 11 years. He started his speech by describing the quote he stands by, “Your passion is your pain.”
Anderson shared his incredible story of being homeless as a teenager and sleeping at his high school, not getting any camp or recruiting letters because he didn’t have an address, his sister being killed and tearing both of his ACLs in college. But he persevered and won a national title at Kentucky in 1996 and an NBA championship 10 years later with the Heat.
And since retirement eight years ago, he’s made more money than in the NBA by owning hotels, being a writer and motivational speaker, and earning royalties off of his Jordan Brand sneaker deal that he signed while in the league. In fact, he helped Michael Jordan design the popular low-cut Jordan XI.
Anderson also discussed maintaining a professional look and feel, and the importance of networking and never looking past someone. That influenced about 10 campers afterward to make a line and meet Anderson.
The orientation included talks by camp director Tim McCormick (who shared a story of how Kobe Bryant in 1994 set the tone for Top 100 in its inaugural year with his intense work ethic), John Lucas (who said to take advantage of every opportunity at the camp) and Mavericks forward Justin Anderson (who stressed “be a dog” on the court).
Day 1 also featured impromptu skill sessions lead by trainer to the pros Keith “Shot Doc” Veney and former NBA player Tamar Slay, the director of the Top 100 Camp’s coaching program. While on-court drills don’t officially start until Day 2, for the campers who first arrived, Veney and Slay’s philosophy was: Why wait? Start them early with complex moves so the rest of the camp comes easier. While Veney put the guards through a series of Eurostep and crossover-into-hop-step moves for different kinds of shots, Slay worked with the big men on different spin, turnaround and hop-step post finishes.
Below is a photo look inside Day 1 of the Top 100 Camp, which showcases the event’s youngest class and biggest group of international prospects. Six of the foreigners are playing overseas and flew from abroad to come to Charlottesville, including Jiayi Li (China), Babacar Niasse (France), Louise Olinde (Germany), Tadas Sedekerskis (Lithuania), Sam Waardenburg (New Zealand) and Yovel Zoosman (Israel).
Photo credits: Davide De Pas and Ralph Raphael (photo editor is Katelyn Greer)