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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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The Training Diary: Shaquille Hines

THE TRAINING DIARY FEATURES NEWS, NOTES, AND INTERVIEWS FROM THE GROUND ZERO TRAINING FAMILY. THE FIRST PLAYER INTERVIEW, IN WHAT WILL BE A FEATURE SERIES, SPOTLIGHTS SHAQUILLE HINES OF BORÅS BASKET IN SWEDEN.

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A native of Chicago, IL, Hines spent four years at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley before embarking on what is now his rookie season playing professionally. After a stint with the Portland Trail Blazers before the start of the Las Vegas NBA Summer League, Hines signed a deal with Borås Basket in Sweden.

Hines finished his four-year collegiate career ranked seventh in program history in scoring with 1,325 points and fourth in blocks with 74. He is also one of just two players in program history to score 1,000+ points, grab 500+ rebounds, and block 60+ shots.

Q. Tell us about your experiences growing up on the South Side of Chicago. 

 Shaquille Hines:
Growing up, I, like so many in my community, had to go through some tough times and unfortunate situations, but dealing with all that stuff just made me grow up faster. It made me realize that I had to be something in life. I was really able to, and forced to, learn from other people’s mistakes. This put me in a position to be different, and to carry myself a certain way in order to find a better life for myself, and others around me. Through it all though, I did have some good experiences growing up and will always have a special love for my hometown.

 

Q. How big a role did basketball play in helping you escape some situations that weren’t always ideal?

SH:
Basketball played a huge role in helping me escape and get away from so many bad situations. When I’m on the court, I don’t think of anything but basketball. For that hour or two, problems just don’t exist.

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Q. Do you have any specific mentors or people that helped guide you along the right path?

SH:
There are definitely some people who helped me stay on the right path. First off, my family was always there for me. Both my parents made sure to guide me and keep me in the clear as much as they could. I also had Lawrence Burnett, my mentor, there for me. He was one of the first people to tell me that I’d be a professional ball player, and he really helped me get to the point I’m at now.

 

Q. After your high school years, you decided to attend what was then known as the University of Texas-Pan American. What made you choose a D1 school located far from home in TX?

SH:
I chose UTPA primarily because of the Chicago connection. Both Ryan Marks and Tim Anderson were from Chicago. I knew that they would take care of me. That was a major factor for my family and me. I also knew I would have a chance to play right away, and that was definitely something important to me. Tim watched me play when I was in high school, and had a relationship with people I leaned on, so I was very familiar with him. I do want to give a shout out to Jason Benadretti, who was also on staff at UTPA my freshman year. We hit it off immediately and have been good friends ever since. Looking back on all of it, the relationships really put the icing on the cake for me.

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Q. Is there any advice you would like to give current and future recruits when deciding on a college?

 SH:
I would tell the kids to go to a school where the coaches really care for you as a person. So many coaches these days are full of garbage. They’ll say what they want you to hear, and not think about the long-term picture of developing and helping shape a person. I do also think a school where you’ll have the chance to play and get better is huge. There’s no point in going to a school where you don’t get the opportunity to step on the court if your goal is to make it as a pro. It’s important to not be rushed in the decision-making process. Make the right decision for you, and you will know when the time is right to do that.

 

Q. Talk about your experience this past summer with the Portland Trail Blazers. Being around so many other high level players, was there anything you were able to take away from that experience that you now use in your career? 

SH:
My experience this summer with the Trail Blazers was amazing! That was great. I was able to learn so much and was able to meet some great people. They are a world-class organization that treats everybody with the upmost respect. What I took from that experience was to always carry myself as a pro. People are always watching and judging both on and off the court, so it’s important to never lose sight of that. Just remaining humble, and to be appreciative of special opportunities like that, is something I’ll continue to take with me in my career.

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Q. How are you settling into your new environment in Sweden? What is it like for a kid from Chicago to be paid to play professional basketball in a different part of the world?

SH:
Sweden has been great so far. This is an exciting time for me. I really like it here. I love learning about different cultures and seeing the way they live. Luckily for me, this town has plenty of people who speak English. They have some of the same food that I’m used to eating, and I find it very easy to get whatever I need to purchase. So, it hasn’t been too much of a culture shock. The club I’m playing for is great. They are all very nice and welcoming people and run it like a top-notch organization as well. I’m just thankful to be in such a great place to start off my career.

 

Q. What is it like for a kid from Chicago to be paid to play professional basketball in a different part of the world?

SH:
It’s great being paid to play the game I love. A kid from the South Side of Chicago is now being paid as a professional basketball player. Just to think about that means I’ve come a long way. I can’t give enough thanks to all the people who have helped me in reaching this stage. I know I’ve worked really hard for this, and I think the best is yet to come.

Ground Zero Training

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Get To Know GZT: An Interview with Ground Zero Training’s Tim Anderson and Jason Benadretti

After a very busy summer, Ground Zero Training Founder and CEO, Tim Anderson, and Executive V.P. and Director of Basketball Operations, Jason Benadretti, sat down for an in depth interview.

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Q: Tell us a little about your background.

Tim Anderson:

I grew up in the inner city of Chicago and used basketball as a way to not only get out of an undesirable living situation, but also to get myself an education. Growing up in a tough neighborhood can shape someone, but it can also break them too, and I’ve seen so many people go down the wrong path. I’ve lost family and friends to the wrong things, but I was very fortunate to have some great mentors to help guide me in the right direction.

Jason Benadretti:

Tim and I arguably have some of the biggest differences in upbringing and environment, but some very real similarities too. I grew up in Irvine, CA, which is ranked as one of the safest cities in the country year after year. As the son of African immigrants, I was brought up with a very real perspective on life and a sound appreciation for cultural differences. And, just like Tim, I was fortunate to use basketball to obtain a degree. This game is a major driving force in so many of my life experiences.

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Nike’s “The Trip” team after their win over the Bahamas. The team consisting of 13 of the nation’s top prospects was coached by GZT’s Tim Anderson, 5 Time NBA champion/LA Lakers Associate Head Coach Brian Shaw, NBA Champion Rasheed Wallace, and 1997 NCAA Tournament Champion and Most Outstanding Player Miles Simon

 

Q. How did you get into player development?

TA:

My path has been a winding one for sure, but one that has always placed player development and relationships at its core. Growing up, I attended one of the toughest, and most talented schools in the country, Crane High School, where I played alongside NBA players, Tony Allen, and my brother, Will Bynum. Even at a young age, I had a passion for increasing skill development in others and made an effort to train players. After I finished playing in college at Oklahoma Panhandle State University, I played semi-pro ball and then jumped right into coaching. I coached at the HS, JUCO, D2, and D1 levels, where I was always in charge of the player development programs. Watching my players improve as the days went on was a motivating factor for me, and that was really what drove me to start Ground Zero Training.

JB:

My path has undoubtedly taken some twists and turns as the years have gone on. I was an average player, with a passion and hunger for the game that was off the charts. After college, I jumped head first into the coaching world, very eager to blaze a path forward. I spent some time working in the college ranks at the JUCO, NAIA, and D1 levels. That then led to an opportunity working as a scout in the NBA. Through it all, I constantly had the desire to help players improve their game. That desire reached a new level during my time spent scouting, as it was the first time I didn’t have the opportunity to make an impact on the outcome of a game. This made me really analyze player strengths and weaknesses, and I found myself more eager than ever to help players take it to a new level. When the opportunity came to help Tim build up GZT, I jumped right on it. I’m very fortunate to do what I do today. Working with someone I consider family, and some of the top basketball players in the world is special, and special should never be taken for granted.

 

Q. Is there credence to the old saying, “players don’t care what you know until they know you care?”

TA:

That saying couldn’t be more true and it’s what we base Ground Zero Training off of. Our goal is to help every single player improve their skills as well as help each one move onto the next phase of his or her life. The relationships we develop in the gym, and off the court, last a lifetime. This is family.

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GZT’s Tim Anderson with NBA Veteran Will Bynum

 

Q.Why the name Ground Zero Training?

JB:

There are two things that really went into the name. First off, we are at the epicenter of player development. In the last three NBA Drafts we have had 15 players drafted with 10 of those being 1st Round Picks. Beyond that, multiple players have signed NBA contracts. That’s just at the NBA level too. We’ve been fortunate to be a part of the process for so many players who have secured professional contracts overseas, college scholarships, and even improved their standing at the high school and youth levels. The second thing that went into the name is huge – GZT was shaped by our backgrounds. We want to show everyone that there is a way out of any situation through hard work and refusing to settle for anything less than your best. To this day, I’m extremely proud of what Ground Zero Training stands for and represents.

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GZT’s Jason Benadretti at the end of a group workout

 

Q. What does a typical day consist of for GZT with your NBA players?

TA:

Each day is a bit different and it really depends on whether our players are in season or out of season. First off, you need to treat each player as his or her own mold. We all have our strengths and weaknesses, and at GZT we aim to improve both of those areas every single day. That doesn’t just go for the players we train, but for the staff as well. We are big believers in film study, as the tape usually doesn’t lie. We need our NBA and professional clients to be able to continue to improve at a level that is so cutthroat. During the off-season, our NBA guys often go through a skill development workout, a shooting workout, and depending on the players and the timing, 3-on-3, 4-on-4, or 5-on-5, where we are able to institute certain NBA aspects a player might see in a game. We are available 24 hours a day to our guys. The fight to be at the top is so intense, and sometimes you find yourself having to go at it a bit with some of the guys in order for them to just get some rest. It’s not rare for Will Bynum or Jabari Parker to call at 3:00 or 4:00am and want to get a workout in. I know I can speak for Jason about this too – we feel the highs and lows of our players’ performances. If a guy has a bad night, we may get a call or text asking to come in and lend a hand, or to give him some feedback. So we’re constantly trying to balance trusting the process and figuring out what can be done to help our guys.

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GZT clients Will Bynum, Charles Matthews, and Tyler Ulis during a recent off-season workout

 

Q. Is there anywhere you won’t go to help a client?

JB:

Not really. Like Tim said, we are essentially on call for our guys. This is what we do and we want to make sure everyone has their best chance to be successful at their respective level. We don’t just serve them domestically, but internationally as well. Tim has previously spent months in China with Will Bynum, and Yi Jianlian when they were with the Guangdong Southern Tigers, and today both players are back in the NBA. I personally just returned from Colombia where I spent a few weeks helping a pro team, Aguilas de Tunja, get ready for their season. You never really know who is going to need you, and when, but we are always more than willing to do what is necessary to help our clients.

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GZT recently traveled to Tunja, Colombia to help prepare the professional team, Aguilas de Tunja, for their upcoming season

 

Q. What’s next for GZT?

TA:

We’re looking to expand our brand even further. People have to realize that nothing is more important than your reputation and name, so we have purposely passed on some opportunities and built GZT to what it is today in a very deliberate manner. We’re at a point where we do feel comfortable looking into some expansion opportunities now. This is definitely an exciting time for GZT and we look forward to the future as well.

Ground Zero Training

www.groundzerotraining.com

Ground Zero Training In Colombia

Ground Zero Training’s Jason Benadretti recently visited Colombia to work with Aguilas de Tunja of Colombia’s professional basketball league. The 2015 Champions welcomed him with open arms as they embarked on a 2.5 week training experience to prepare for their upcoming season. Aguilas aim to regain their league title this season, and set themselves on a path to doing so with two-a-day on court skill development sessions. In addition, members of the team were put on a strength training and nutrition program to help fine tune their bodies, and increase athletic performance.

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As part of Benadretti’s trip, he co-hosted a camp for the youth in conjunction with Aguilas de Tunja. The two weekend camp consisted of two-a-day sessions on both Saturday and Sunday in an effort to provide as much player development time as possible.

gztaguilascampGZT’s Jason Benadretti (center) with some members of the co-hosted camp with Aguilas de Tunja

 

Best of luck to Aguilas de Tunja this upcoming season! We look forward to working with them and the Colombian basketball community again in the very near future.

 

www.groundzerotraining.com

 

Ground Zero’s Yi Jianlian Inks Deal With The Los Angeles Lakers

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The Los Angeles Lakers have officially announced the signing of Ground Zero Training client Yi Jianlian!

Yi, who is from China, recently finished playing for his country at the ’16 Olympic Games, where he averaged over 20 points per game while shooting 46.7% from three-point range. This was Yi’s 4th Olympic Games in his highly successful career.

Lakers fans shouldn’t take this signing lightly, as Yi was formerly drafted with the 6th pick in the ’07 NBA Draft by the Milwaukee Bucks. This marks Yi’s fifth team in his NBA career with stints as arguably the most successful player in the Chinese Basketball Association’s history.  He is a polarizing figure in the league having been named the CBA MVP 8 times. In addition, he is a 4 time CBA Champion, 2 time CBA Finals MVP, and has won 3 gold medals at the FIBA Asia Championships.

After a season working with Ground Zero Training’s CEO Tim Anderson and teaming with fellow GZT client Will Bynum, Yi Jianlian went on to claim the CBA MVP award for his 8th time! We look forward to continuing to work with Yi as he returns to the NBA to team with 2015 1st Round GZT product, Larry Nance Jr.

 

 

www.groundzerotraining.com

Ground Zero CEO Tim Anderson Helps Lead Nike EYB Team To Win Over Bahamas

Ground Zero CEO Tim Anderson Helps Lead Nike EYB Team To Win Over Bahamas

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Ground Zero CEO Tim Anderson was selected to be a member of the prestigious coaching staff for Nike’s “The Trip.” This second annual event features 13 of the top prospects in the nation training in an incredibly competitive environment, leading up to a game against the Bahamas. In addition to Anderson, the coaching staff consisted of 5 Time NBA Champion/ LA Lakers Associate Head Coach Brian Shaw, NBA Champion Rasheed Wallace, and 1997 NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player Miles Simon.

The trip started with a visit to Washington DC and the White House, where the players met with key advisors while addressing leadership and community impact.

The Nike EYBL Elite team had no problem dismantling the Bahamas team coached by 1st Round NBA selection, Buddy Hield, and walked away with a 113-88 victory. Keep an eye out on these guys as you are bound to see many of them in the NBA soon!

 

 

www.groundzerotraining.com

Ryan Boatright Signs In China

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Ground Zero Training’s Ryan Boatright has signed a contract with the Foshan Long-Lions in China! Adding another impressive stop to the resume, Ryan will relish the chance to be a tough nosed leader. Boatright is sure to become a fan favorite, as they will get an opportunity to see his fast and aggressive attacking style of play. Best of luck to Ryan as he continues the next step in a great career!

 

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