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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