June 30, 2006

Afternoon Recap: Players break up into positions

The second session of Friday at the 2006 Lute Olson Advanced Skill & Development Camp is completed and players had the chance to get to work a little closer with the UA coaches.

After lunch, the campers split into groups of two. Half of them went into the weight room to receive instruction there, while the other half split into positions and worked in small groups.

Miles Simon taught the wings while Josh Pastner worked with the big men. We walked back and forth watching both positions for two hours.

Campers working with Simon included Chase Budinger, Jamelle Horne, Zane Johnson and Laval Lucas-Perry. Simon had the four players doing a series of drills helping them move without the ball better and create space from a defender once they receive a pass.

One drill had the wings moving around a trash can, receiving a pass, taking a step in, faking the defender, stepping back and pulling up. There were several variations of this drill, all of which Budinger mastered at ease.

The most entertaining drill was when the wings would take the ball strong to the basket and Simon would push them with a rubber pad once they got close to the rim. Sometimes Simon would hit the player and sometimes not, but the point was to go strong and finish regardless of whether or not you're fouled.

The most amusing moment of the day came right before Budinger was going to the basket, when he was looking uneasily at the pad. Simon told him to relax and that he wasn't going to hit him. When Budinger went strong to the basket, Simon pushed him hard with the pad in the stomach, drawing laughter from everyone.

Across McKale, Pastner was working with Alex Jacobson, Jeff Withey, Andy Poling and Clint Amberry. Pastner taught the campers about footwork, ball handling, decision making once they received the pass and much more.

Withey's athleticism always makes him stand out in these drills. He dunks the ball whenever he gets close to the rim and grabs a lot of rebounds as well.

The first group of players went in the locker-room and switched with the other half of the campers. Luke Babbitt, Jeremy Tyler and Uros Lukovic worked with Pastner and we watched these three the majority of the time.

Babbitt and Tyler continuously went hard after each other and it was pretty competitive. Damon Stoudamire came in and worked with the two of them, teaching them about instincts and decision making.

Both players were eager to listen to Stoudamire and asked them questions. Stoudamire did a great job with both of them, being very hands on and teaching them everything they wanted to know.

Andre Iguodala and Richard Jefferson were also in the gym but weren't on the floor much in the first half of the day. Both should participate in pickup games, which begin around 5:15pm.

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