I begin today's entry reflecting on the amazing past month or so I've had, outside of one unfortunate encounter with an old work acquaintance. It started last month when I attended the Basketball Without Borders Global Camp during NBA All-Star weekend in Charlotte and it ended last week on April 10, 2019 when I received word that I had been credentialed for the Nike Hoop Summit in Portland in April, Sunbelt Basketball Tournament in New Orleans.
My time in Charlotte at the Basketball Without Borders Camp was eye opening, becasue I was to gage the best talent abroad with the best talent I've seen here in the state. I also had the chance to get my eyes a few potential NBA Lottery Picks in the 2020 and 2021 draft class. Highlighted by Khalifa Diop, a 6'11 242 lbs Center from Senegal ( Draft 2021), Killian Hayes, a 6'5 190 lbs Combo Guard from France (Draft 2020) and Deni Avdija, a 6'8 210 lbs Point Guard from Israel (Draft 2020).
While I was in the gym with what seemed to be every NBA Executive and scout in the league, I had a surreal feeling of that in one scan I could see and hear everyone in the gym at the same time (weird). BUT THEN HE WALKED IN! I was talking to Executive F who I met at the 2018 NBA Summer League, he asked how my scouting service was going and who I liked in the upcoming draft. Just when I started to share my thoughts Executive XX walked over and completely interrupted our conversation, I know how it goes when you're the least important person in a conversation, so I politely stepped away and started watching a game.
To give you a bit of background; Executive XX and I crossed paths in the past when I got my first Job in the NBA and crossed again when I was up for another NBA job. He was the sole cause for me losing the first job and for not getting the second job I'd all but secured before he interjected. After I found out about the second job and the reason why I didn't get it, I reached out to him to figure out why he seemed to be against me and he had the audacity to tell me that he didn't think I liked basketball and I should probably find a new profession to pursue! I would've respected him more if he told me that I didn't kiss the metaphorical ring but the whole you don't love basketball was crap! Since then I have bumped into him a few times at games or events and I have always been polite, but to be honest. If I were stopped at a red light and he walked in front of my car, I would without hesitation punch the gas and let the chips fall where they may, LOL...but I'm Serious!
Before I move on there is a truthful disclaimer about Executive XX that I have to add. He is really good at his job, he works hard and I actually learned a lot from him. But simply put, he's an ASSHOLE! I felt like he partly wanted me to kiss his ass because he was in a position of power and he partly wanted to shit on me because when he started in the NBA he got shit on so he says. Either way, I really don't like the guy and it pissed me off that he deliberately walked up and interrupted my conversation.
Now that we've gotten the unpleasantness out of the way, the rest of my time in Charlotte was great as I was able to watch some of the best young up and coming talent in the world for 3 days. It was a blessing to be in that gym watching so much talent as well as getting the chance to chat with the greatest basketball minds in the world. I was able to catch up with several Executives I have relationships with and was also able to cultivate a couple of new ones as well.
Moving on from the Basketball Without Borders Camp, moving right into the happiest time of the year for me and most basketball people. That being High School Playoff here in Georgia we recently crowned our state champions and we've already had a few Senior Showcases and AAU tournaments. College Basketball Selection Sunday was yesterday and I'm penciling a few games I would like to attend, while also trying to fill out a bracket for fun. Lastly, the NBA Playoffs are on the horizon which leads right into the draft and the summer league so you can see why this is my favorite time of the year.
As I stated earlier, I received my credentials for the Nike Hoop Summit and the Sunbelt Conference Tournament which were both pretty exciting for and I am still praying for the McDonald's All-American Game, USA Basketball Mini-Camp During the Final Four and a few other events. I know it may seem insignificant but to me, it just reminds me where I am. Because I don't always get awarded credentials (I was denied for the ACC, SEC, All the Regional NCAA Events and the Final Four in the last month) which means I'm still buying tickets to get into events to scout. So I am always grateful!
I received my first major credential for the 2018 G-League showcase in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. With all the relationships I've built with NBA Executives I do my best to offer assistance more than I ask for help. I even pledged to myself that between all of them I only make one request per year, whether it's a job referral or a ticket to a game when I'm in their city so I try to make them count. So when Executive P asked if I planned on attending the Showcase, I told him I was but I was waiting to hear back from the league about my credential request he told me to let him know because he was pretty sure he could get me on his team list if I was declined.
When I received the bad news from the league, informing me that my credential request was denied, it took me a couple of days to reach out to Executive P. I had no reason to think I was bothering him, seeing that he told me to reach out, that is exactly where my mind was. I did finally reach out and he simply replied: "Send me a Head-shot and I'll take care of the rest". A couple of days before the showcase he sent me a text with confirmation that I had received a credential and he would see me in Canada.
So I flew into Toronto, caught an Uber to my hotel, checked in (I still had to cover my on flight and hotel) and headed to the Hersey Centre for the showcase. I don't know why I was nervous when I walked into the credential check-in but I was. It went very smooth, I gave them my name and they reached into a big yellow envelope and pulled out a credential with my picture on it, I couldn't help but smile at that moment.
It was at this showcase where I was able to connect with several Executives that I'm close with today. I was able to watch a game or two, give some insight on what I was seeing as well as share some of my background with Executive M who I met at the previous Summer League and Executive J who I was corresponding with for the past few months via e-mail after I sent him some of my reports. I was also able to meet in person for the first time Executive PP who I have been speaking to via email off and on for the past 7 years or so.
Overall the experiences over the last month has shown me that there is a steady progression in the space, to appreciate where I am, to never be afraid to ask for help and to take advantage of the situation when it's presented.....Breaking News, I just received my credential confirmation for the McDonald's All-American Game new week in Atlanta! Until next time.....