2017 NBA Draft

2017 GZT NBA Draft

The 2017 NBA Draft was a fantastic night for the Ground Zero Training family yielding huge success. Six members of the GZT NBA players were drafted by NBA teams.

1st Round:

– Zach Collins (Portland Trail Blazers)
– Tyler Lydon (Denver Nuggets)
– Kyle Kuzma (Los Angeles Lakers)

2nd Round:
– Sterling Brown (Milwaukee Bucks)
– Sindarius Thornwell (Los Angeles Clippers)
– Alec Peters (Phoenix Suns)

In the last 4 years, GZT, has had 21 players selected in the NBA Draft, with 13 of those being taken in the 1st Round. With such success, GZT is the premier leader in NBA Draft preparation.

 

www.groundzerotraining.com

Advertisements

Ground Zero Training Inks Partnership With FastModel Sports

GZTFastModel

Ground Zero Training has entered into a new partnership with FastModel Sports and their FastDraw product to bring an enhanced training platform to all.

With FastDraw’s software technology allowing for digital creation of drills, combined with Ground Zero Training’s reputation as an industry leader in skill development, basketball training and skill development has reached a new level.

Ground Zero Training’s Executive Vice-President and Director of Basketball Operations, Jason Benadretti, cited an evolving market and increase in reach as a driving force in this partnership, “We are always looking for ways to further improve our services and spread our reach. Unfortunately, we can only be in one place at a time, but due to this exciting new partnership, we can now create drills digitally, save them in an organized library, and send custom drill booklets to clients and fans all over the world. This alignment brings a premier sports technology brand in and allows us to further enhance our training programs and offerings.”

FastModel Sports has developed the industry’s best coaching software products, including FastDraw, the #1 basketball play diagramming and playbook software. FastModel clients include all U.S. professional teams, 85% of D1 college teams, and 8,000+ high school and youth teams from over 75 countries.

For more information on FastModel Sports, please visit http://www.fastmodelsports.com.

logo

Inside The Association: Scout Life

imgres

The following article was written by Ground Zero Training’s Executive Vice President & Director of Basketball Operations, Jason Benadretti, for the website http://www.talkbasket.net.

Do you want to go inside the NBA? Discover the inner workings of the NBA Pre-Draft process? What about understanding the NBA scouting process? Did you even know there are four types of scouts within the front office of an NBA team?

Lucky for you, I’m here to fill you in. Welcome to your inside scoop. Now let’s talk about who I am: my name is Jason Benadretti and I’m the Executive Vice President & Director of Basketball Operations at Ground Zero Training (“GZT” – www.groundzerotraining.com).

Ground Zero is the preferred training destination for many of your favorite NBA players. We specialize in elite basketball skill development, providing training with real game scenarios – not gimmicky drills like you so often see via the world of social media. We have one of the finest trainers in the world in Tim Anderson, the CEO of GZT. We are raw and edgy and not here to say or do what you like. If you want to improve and reach the next level, we are the guys to get you there. In the past three NBA Drafts alone, we have helped produce 15 selections, with 10 of those being 1st Round Picks.

My background extends beyond being a basketball trainer, as I have also coached at multiple levels of the collegiate game in the U.S.A, scouted for an NBA team, and worked as a scout for a third party service that NBA teams utilize for the NBA Draft. I’m here to take you inside the association.

Growing up, I often wondered what the NBA was like and thought that everyone involved with it was a superstar or highly paid. That is only partly true. Working closely with NBA players will quickly make you realize two things. First, these guys are way more talented than you could even imagine and secondly, I look like an ant next to the majority of them. Yes, if you are fortunate enough to play in the NBA, you are quite highly paid. If you are fortunate enough to obtain one of the few spots in the front office or coaching staff, odds are you’re still trying to figure out how to get by with the hopes of advancing up the chain.

For today, let’s talk about what the life of an NBA Scout is all about. Before I got paid to work in basketball, I had no idea how demanding a profession it is. I just assumed everyone made good money and that it was all fun and games. Well, I couldn’t have been more wrong. Now, let’s not get ahead of ourselves here – anyone that gets to work in, and around, the game of basketball is extremely fortunate, and I, myself, feel this way each day. Most people assume that you spend your time traveling the world, watching basketball, and having international and NBA teams pay you for your opinions.

One of the things I quickly learned is that life in basketball is tough. You don’t really get to travel and explore. You travel because you have to do so to watch said team or player. For an international scout this may mean a scenario like this: you take two flights to cross the ocean, roll off your plane to catch a connection to a small city in Latvia, only to get there and have to navigate a language barrier and many other hurdles thrown your way. Head to the hotel for a shower and back out the door to watch what may be the next Kristaps Porzingis, or perhaps a 15-year-old you feel needs to be monitored. Now what? Vacation time? False. Rush right to the airport because lucky for you, there is a red-eye ticket with your name on it to Spain. Many people would use this chance to catch up on some sleep, but at times that just isn’t an option and that scouting report needs to be written up before you touch back down. Have fun feeling rested and in shape when you have to do this process on a regular basis.

As I mentioned, there are four different types of scouts within the NBA. A big thing they usually have in common is a very large amount of miles logged in the air and very few nights spent in their own beds. Think having a family is easy when you are spending the majority of the year on the road? Pretty tough to watch your children grow up through video chat and social media! Remember that body you used to make a priority to workout daily? Ha! Good luck with that one. It’s also not free spending because you work in the NBA. There is a budget in place which must be adhered to, and so often times this means long, grueling trips to see as many prospects as possible. Now, let’s discuss the four types of scouts and their roles in an organization.

International Scouts are the ones we touched on briefly, and are often the ones that pay the biggest price to their personal lives. These guys have to log some serious air miles and deal with language barriers and different customs all the time. Personally being a world traveler for work and pleasure, I know that this is no easy thing to navigate. Ever tried navigating parts of Eastern Europe without help? I have, and it’s not always the easiest experience in the world. Those friends and family you love so much back home? Well, they’ll love you, but you may just become a memory to them with how little you see each other. These days, most of the international scouts that a team employs will be based in a specific region or country abroad. This is the NBA and teams can’t afford to miss out on the next Kristaps Porzingis, Dirk Nowitzki, Tony Parker, or Giannis Antetokounmpo. The reality is, these guys are few and very, very, very far between. The majority of the players you scout will never step foot in an NBA locker room. Oh, and if they do, you’d better hope your investigative skills and the intel you received was accurate enough to know the ins and out of this individual and his family and life situation.

I think the majority of people in this world think of College Scouts when they imagine what an NBA scout does. Travel the country watching the hottest names in college basketball. Follow the guys that lead their team in the box scores you glimpse at. That’s correct, but there is so much more to it. What about the 6’10 freshman with a wingspan of 7’4 sitting on the bench of a perennial power? How about that guy in Montana annihilating opponents? Ever thought about team culture and how important having good people and leaders are? Yeah, well you’d better watch guys with those traits too. Remember the guy that just locked down but didn’t fill it up on the offensive end? Oh, you’d better make sure you watch him.

Most people can watch a player and have an opinion, but training your eye to recognize what will translate to the next level matters. Is there a player out there who may not be ready for the NBA now, but someone your team should consider drafting and stashing overseas, or in the D-League, to develop for a few years? Of course you will pour over hours and hours of film, but seeing a prospect in front of you in person is completely different.

Let’s talk about how scouts approach watching players in person. Different scouts have different approaches to this. Some like to show up to the game, watch, and then go home and write up their reports, while others like to jot down notes as the action is going on. I’ve done both, and have found an approach that works best for me. It’s critical to not just slide into your seat for a 7:30 tip-off as the ball is thrown in the air. Get to the gym early and observe. This is one of the times where you may pick up critical information. Is the player you’re watching goofing around and taking shots that he will never take in a game? How does he approach warming up? Is he locked in? Is his mind and body all over the place? What about seeing just how he looks? Does he have a frame that can add muscle, or will he always be that lanky, 6’3 guy with calves that resemble pogo sticks?

You’d better not just watch the play on the court. Watch the demeanor of a player when an opponent scores on him, when a teammate doesn’t provide that help on defense when they should, when their coach chews into them, when they pick up their teammates and respond positively. How about when a timeout is called? Yeah, you better see if they listen to their coach, or if they are thinking about the best party after the game, or if that girl in row 15 has a boyfriend.

Ever thought about if this person could handle a large sum of money being suddenly injected into their lives? Well, you’d better do your homework. College scouts are in the business of information gathering. You’d be surprised what you can learn about a player by speaking with an arena security guard or someone that player may have let his guard down to.

Ever wonder who evaluates the players in the NBA and the D-League? Well, it isn’t just the General Manager. Welcome to the role of Pro Personnel Scouts. These are the guys who are heavily involved in preparing information for trades and free agency. They focus specifically on players already in the NBA and D-League. Pro Personnel Scouts are there to support the GM in not only giving their views on a player, but also to gather information. They can often be found at the arena hours before a game tips off watching players trickle out of the locker room to warm up. You’d better make sure to see that guy who isn’t going to get one minute of game time. What if a trade comes up with said person’s involvement and you don’t have an opinion? Not exactly an ideal situation to be in. These are often the scouts that have deep relationships with coaches, front office personnel, and fellow colleagues, as information is vital in making a correct decision.

Now to a position I have a ton of love for, Advance Scouts. Having held various roles in basketball, this is arguably the most grueling position out there. I personally think you have to be a little crazy to do this job. These are the guys who focus on the X’s and 0’s of the game. Does your team play San Antonio in five games? Well, chances are you’re watching the Spurs play and dissecting their actions, play calls, and tendencies. Good luck ever watching a game the same way after having held this role. To this day, I struggle to not dissect actions when I am watching a game. Instead of seeing that amazing shot, I’m looking at what actions led to that shot.

An advance scout is essentially an extension of the coaching staff. While watching a game, your job is to watch what Greg Popovich is motioning. Did an assistant just give a hand signal? You’d better write that down. Did Tony Parker just yell out a play call or motion in a specific manner that may indicate a play signal? Write that down. Oh, and when the Spurs score on an action, you’d better identify what led to it and be able to report back with a name for this play. You basically have to block out any of the exciting areas of the game day environment, and the game itself, to succeed at this job. P.S. after the game is over you usually rush back to your hotel and re-watch parts of the game where you missed an action or call, as the TV microphones often pick up on something you couldn’t at the game. Time to spend a few hours writing up your report and sending it back to the staff before you sleep for three hours, pack up, and head off to the airport for the next city.

The NBA never stops and neither does your work as a scout. Every team wants to win and bring glory to their city and fans. As a scout, you do the little things, which may never directly result in an impact on your organization, or a team’s game plan. You scour the country and globe for talent-making sacrifices that are borderline insane. You work hours that are often a bit off the wall. Your support system better be solid, because this type of work can tear people and relationships up. Scout life is about time management. Scout life is about gathering information and studying your craft. Passion is what connects us all as scouts and members of the basketball community.

Scout life…

 

 

www.groundzerotraining.com

GZT’s Brian Bowen Selected To the 2017 McDonald’s All-American Game!

cg1yq7kukaagods

On Sunday night, the rosters for the 4th annual McDonald’s All-American game were announced with GZT’s Brian Bowen being named a selection. McDonald’s All-Americans represent some of the best graduating high school seniors in the nation. Well regarded as the nation’s premier high school basketball all star event, the McDonald’s All-American Game will take place March 29 at the United Center in Chicago. The 2017 teams feature the best players in the nation, residing in 13 different states.

brianbowen
GZT CEO Tim Anderson coaching Brian Bowen during the Nike EYBL 

Since the inception of the McDonald’s All-American Game in 1978, nearly 1,300 players have competed in this event. These players form a highly elite group of talent, and some of the most recognizable names in basketball history, including Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant, and LeBron James to name a few. Brian joins an ever growing list of Ground Zero Training clients to be selected as a McDonald’s All-American.

 

www.groundzerotraining.com

 

Charlie Moore Sets Cal Freshman Scoring Record

charlie-moore-gzt

Charlie Moore scored 38 points to break Shareef Abdur-Rahim’s school freshman record of 33 points set in 1995. His 38 points were the most since fellow GZT product Jerome Randle scored 39 points at Washington State in 2010. In a come from behind win, Moore shot 10-20 from the field with three 3-pointers and made 15 of 17 free throws.

 

 

www.groundzerotraining.com

The Training Diary: David Walker

THE TRAINING DIARY FEATURES NEWS, NOTES, AND INTERVIEWS FROM THE GROUND ZERO TRAINING FAMILY. THE THIRD PLAYER INTERVIEW, IN WHAT IS A FEATURE SERIES, SPOTLIGHTS DAVID WALKER.

david-walker-gzt-morabanc-andorra

A native of Stow, OH, Walker spent four years at Northeastern University. He finished his collegiate career by cementing his name among the top shooters in school history and leading his team to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 24 years. Since graduating, Walker has embarked on a professional basketball career, which has taken him to Andorra in the ACB, which is widely regarded as one of the top leagues in the world. Currently, David is in his rookie season playing for MoraBanc Andorra.

Q. After your high school career was up, you made the decision to attend Northeastern, what made you make that specific decision? Do you feel slighted that you weren’t given scholarship offers by some bigger name schools?

David Walker:
I decided to go to Northeastern because I felt like I had a chance to really play good minutes as a freshman or even to start. It was just such a family atmosphere on the visit and that really drew me in. I did feel slighted that the offers never came my way from the bigger schools, and really carried that chip on my shoulder when we went up against those top programs. On the other side, had I ended up at a bigger school, I might have not had an impact like I did right away. In the end, I had such a phenomenal experience at Northeastern and am really proud to be associated with such a great school and program.

Q. What was it like winning the Colonial Athletic Association with Northeastern your junior year and making the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 24 years?

DW:
It’s an unimaginable experience going to the NCAA Tournament. To be able to break such a long drought is amazing. There’s something special about the atmosphere in the NCAA Tournament. It was truly electrifying. We fought hard and almost advanced. I just wish we had the opportunity to play in even more games. It was definitely an experience I will always remember and be very proud of.

Q. After a very impressive collegiate career, you went undrafted in the 2016 NBA Draft. How much does that fuel you to keep proving people wrong?

DW:
It definitely fuels me to prove people wrong because I was never a big name. I have confidence in myself that I can play at the highest level. In the end, I believe going undrafted and playing overseas now is going to be a blessing in disguise. I just look forward to waking up and working each and every single day to not only contribute to my current team, but to show others what I am capable of.

david-walker-gzt-dunk

Q. Tell us about your experience so far playing in the ACB.

DW:
This league is everything people said it was. When I found out that I had the opportunity to play in one of the toughest leagues in the world, I did not hesitate. The level of talent here is great. There are NBA players in this league, and as you saw this past summer, players moved from the ACB to the NBA. On any night, any team can win. It really makes you hold yourself accountable. As individuals and as a team, you have to come focused and ready to play.

Q. What’s it like having to completely adjust your way of life and to move to a different country where there is a cultural adjustment?

DW:
It was definitely hard moving to another country. I do think being away from my family during college helped prepare me in a sense for this experience. There are surprisingly a decent amount of English speakers here, which is really helpful. The language barrier can be tough at times, but I’m really enjoying the experience and by now I do feel pretty comfortable.

 Q. Give your fans back home an idea of Andorra and what a typical day looks like for you?

 DW:
I feel very fortunate to be in such a great country and surrounded by so many welcoming people. Andorra is beautiful. This a place and team I’m very proud to represent.  

A typical day during the preseason would start with me waking up around 8 or 9 in the morning. I’d always start off with a healthy breakfast to fuel me for the day. From there, I would generally go lift and head to our first practice. Lunch would follow, along with a nap to help recharge and get ready for the second practice at around 5 or 6. When practice was over, it was usually about 7 or 8 at night so we would go eat dinner afterwards. By the time I got home, it would really be time to go to sleep. It was definitely a tough preseason, but now that season has started, the focus is a bit different and I have a lot more time on my hands. I really try to keep myself occupied in my down time by catching up with friends and family back home, and watching a few shows on Netflix.

david-walker-gzt-floater

Q. How was your experience representing the Miami Heat this summer?

DW:
Playing for the Heat was a great experience on so many levels. I was just able to learn so many subtle things that go into being a true professional. Just simple things like what to eat for breakfast, getting your legs right, and how to recover in the most efficient way possible. The NBA atmosphere was amazing, and I’m so thankful that I had the opportunity to play for such a historic franchise.  

Q. Your versatility has been a major asset to you in your career, and is one thing that really has NBA and international teams intrigued. Do you feel that you are someone who can not only step out and play multiple positions, but guard them as well?

DW:
For sure. I think that I can play multiple positions because I’m a great passer and shooter. I think being able to play out of the ball screen well is huge and an asset of mine. I feel as though I will only continue to get better at all of these. On the defensive end, I think I can defend multiple positions due to my size and athleticism. Over time, as I get quicker and stronger, I think my defensive abilities will only improve.

Q. Did you ever envision that basketball would allow you to not only get a free top-level education, but also take you around the world and provide you a career?

DW:
Not really! When I played in high school, I didn’t even imagine playing in college until the summer going into my junior year. I was able to continue to develop my game thanks to some great coaching in high school, and eventually had college offers. When I got to college, I wanted to excel and perform at a high level, but never imagined I would play professionally. Once I started hearing about scouts at my games, and different agents contacting my coach, I realized I could use the game I love as a career. It’s truly a blessing to be able to get paid to play basketball, and traveling the world is a great bonus that just happened to come along with it. I love my job.

Q. Anything you would like to say to your fans around the world?

DW:
I just want to say thank you to everyone that has supported me since day one! I would tell everyone to just do what makes you happy, because as I’ve realized, being able to go to work every day and love it, is something to never take for granted. I really couldn’t be happier with where I’m at being 22 years old. As they say, if you love your job, you will never work a day in your life.

Ground Zero Training

www.groundzerotraining.com

The Training Diary: Brandon Provost

THE TRAINING DIARY FEATURES NEWS, NOTES, AND INTERVIEWS FROM THE GROUND ZERO TRAINING FAMILY. THE SECOND PLAYER INTERVIEW, IN WHAT IS A FEATURE SERIES, SPOTLIGHTS BRANDON PROVOST.

brandon-provost-colombia-gzt

A native of Katy, TX, Provost spent one year at the Air Force Academy before transferring to the University of Texas-Pan American. Provost finished his collegiate career by cementing his name in many statistical category top rankings, including a .452 shooting percentage, good for second in UTPA program history. Since graduating, Provost has embarked on a professional basketball career which has taken him around the world.

Q. After a highly successful high school career, you decided to attend the Air Force Academy. What made you make that specific decision?

Brandon Provost:
I decided to go to the Air Force Academy for a few reasons really. I knew that I was making a decision that wasn’t solely about basketball. I was putting myself in a position to grow and mature as a person. The institution is a really special place. Even though I left the AFA, I still have such a huge level of appreciation for all that work and attend there. On the basketball side, this was a place that had been ranked in the top 25 a couple years before I attended, and played in the Mountain West Conference. That alone is something to be held in high regard. In addition, I built a great relationship with one of the assistant coaches on staff. They were just some very positive things about it, and that ultimately led me to want to attend the Air Force Academy.

Q. You decided to transfer after one season there. Why was that?

BP:
I made the decision to transfer because after re-evaluating things, the lifestyle wasn’t exactly what I expected it to be. I have all the respect in the world for members of our armed forces, but at the AFA, there are so many things that pull at you. I found myself just wanting to go to school and play basketball. In the end, all the extra military activities and expectations just were not something that I wanted to concentrate on so heavily at the time.
Q. Is there anything you would change about your collegiate career and overall experience?

BP:
My college experience was a phenomenal one. If I had one thing I could go back and do differently though, I would choose to be a more aggressive player. Looking back I feel like my passive and easy going attitude carried over on the court at times. Having experienced playing professional basketball, and needing to be the go to guy, I feel like I could have impacted my team in a more positive manner, and in turn probably lifted my own level of potential personal success.

brandon-provost-dunk-gzt

Q. Talk to us about your professional basketball career. What countries has basketball taken you to and what teams have you played with?

BP:
My pro career has definitely taken me to some places I never thought I would go to. My first year out of college, I played for BG Leitershofen in Germany. Then I joined the RGV Vipers and Erie Bayhawks of the NBA Development League. After those stops, I played with Al Sadd in Qatar, Astros del Valle in Cali, Colombia and finally with Fuerza Guinda de Nogales in the Mexican CIBACOPA League.
Q. What is it like having to pack up and essentially be forced to adjust to a different country and culture? Any advice you have to share for those that will be making the jump overseas for the first time?

BP:
Packing and leaving gets easier as time goes on. It’s all about knowing what to expect and the main thing to expect is the required period for adjustment. My only advice would be to not panic. Adjusting to the overseas game can sometimes take time, but an adjustment to the culture will also not happen overnight.

brandon-provost-dleague-gzt

Q. Are there any funny stories or moments that stand out?

BP:
Oh man, too many. One of the best ones is when I was involved in getting hit by a car in Germany. I was walking back from the store at about 8:30 AM and some older lady threw her car in reverse without looking. Well, she hit me. Thankfully, she didn’t hit me too hard. It was hard enough to knock me down and leave some nice bruises, but I didn’t even miss practice. The worst part about that all was having to eat dry cereal after, because when I fell, the milk carton unfortunately went down too. Rough.
Q. Did you ever envision that basketball would allow you to not only get a free education, but take you around the world and provide you a career?

BP:
I think after my first year playing at UTPA, it became more of a possibility in my head. It kind of switched from just being a dream to a goal at that point. When it happens though, it is still such a surreal feeling and something I’m fortunate to get to do.

Ground Zero Training

www.groundzerotraining.com