Alize Johnson Basketball Camp

The Basketball Movement is proud to present a great opportunity for area ballers!

Missouri State Alumni, NBA player, and ally of The Basketball Movement, Alize Johnson is headed back to Springfield, MO to put on a camp for 3rd graders on up to 12th.

The Basketball Movement is proud to host Johnson’s “Blueprint to the Stars of the Game” camp to give community players an opportunity to learn from top-tier talent. Alize has been tearing it up in the NBA Summer League, recently earning a guaranteed contract with the Indiana Pacers. He is using his limited time off to spread a bit of knowledge on what it takes!

In his hometown in Pennsylvania, Alize is about to host a couple of these camps and they sold out quickly. Contact The Basketball Movement at basketballmovement@yahoo.com to get in while you can because spots are limited.

The camp is open to boys and girls. 3rd-6th grade is July 22nd 9:00am-3:00pm. 7th-12th grade is July 23rd 9:00am-3:00pm. You don’t want to miss this opportunity!

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We hope to see you there!

The Rob Yanders Better Vibin Sessions

The Basketball Movement’s new video series is setting out to raise the bar on coach and player relationships.

Recently, The Basketball Movement’s Founder, Robert Yanders has set out to make new improvements to his organization. The facility itself has seen so much love over the last few years, but this improvement will be different.

Yanders is striving to improve his relationships with The Basketball Movement’s athletes by getting to know them through his Better Vibin Sessions.

The sessions are simply Coach Rob sitting down with some of the facility’s most frequent attendees to get to know them as people. Rob always says “The person is the player,” so getting to know them better as people will allow for better relationships and chemistry on the court.

Another goal of Better Vibin is to have conversations that bring back the root of player’s passion for the game to re-ignite the fire that keeps them going.

The first session is already up on YouTube and can be seen below. Rob’s first guest is his own nephew, Kickapoo High and Yanders Law guard, Anton Brookshire. Anton is originally from Milwaukee, WI and has received significant collegiate interest after only his sophomore season from schools like Iowa State and Missouri State.

The video features Rob and Anton just vibin about kicks, basketball, the future, and family. Check it out!

There will of course be more of these sessions headed your way soon, so make sure you are subscribed to our Youtube channel and are following along with us on social media. Until next time!

The Basketball Movement: Tips, motivation, and guidance

We are more than just a gym to go break a sweat in! Click around and you’ll see what we are about.

At The Basketball Movement, skill development is our bread and butter. Making sure that you or your athlete improve basketball skills on the court is our most fundamental priority, and we pride ourselves on being good at what we do.

We also want to make sure that our athletes are prepared for whatever life throws at them off the court as well. Using basketball as a tool, we are always striving to enhance qualities of our players that extend beyond the sport.

Our blog is updated weekly with more than just news from around the world of basketball. It is an excellent resource for tips, motivation, and guidance for not only athletes, but parents, and fans as well. Check out a few such articles below:

Setting goals for yourself

A few tips for parents and other fans

So you didn’t get drafted

Becoming a leader with The Basketball Movement

What to do during the offseason

These are just a handful of examples pulled from the least month and a half or so. So, as you can tell, we are coming at you with this content all the time. Our blog is a great place to check in for tips and motivation centered around hoops.

As The Basketball Movement looks to step up not just the hoops community, but community as a whole, keep checking back for content like this that can motivate, guide, and inspire budding or established hoopers.

Setting goals for yourself

Setting goals is an important thing to do at any stage in life. Do not forget to set some on the court and off.

Many of basketball's brightest stars were born with a lot of natural ability. However, most of them still had to work incredibly hard to get where they are today. Hard work is best when it is directed by established plans and aimed at particular goals.

The Basketball Movement can help players to establish plans and regimens to help them along the way in achieving those goals.

It is not hard to find quotes and tips from people and players that have experienced success in their careers. Setting goals is important, but the growth and experience obtained in the pursuit of those goals is often the true victory.

It’s not about looking for outcomes, but just enjoying the process. That’s when you become in the moment.
— Steve Nash

Goals can be big or small - daily or long-term. They are important in sports like basketball, but also in many other aspects of life.

What goals will you set?

Different individuals may come up with very different goals and aspirations. As a basketball player, one player's goal may be to crack the starting five on their Junior Varsity squad. Another  may want to become a professional, overseas or in the NBA.

Skill development represents smaller, more compartmentalized goals. Your goal may be to improve your free throw percentage by a certain amount or to add two new post moves to your repertoire by the end of the Summer.

A winner is someone who recognizes his (or her) God-given talents, works his (or her) tail off to develop them into skills, and uses these skills to accomplish his (or her) goals.
— Larry Bird

Personal goals off the court are important also. Goals for school or for a career help you to stay focused on what is important. Try to make a point to be an achiever in all that you do.

For more motivation, basketball news, and Basketball Movement goodness, keep looking around our blog here!

Around the NBA: Wild free agency weekend

Yesterday marked the beginning of official NBA free agency, and it didn’t take long until madness ensued.

Player movement in the NBA has become increasingly common over the past decade or so. Players are taking their careers in their own hands and deciding where they want to play. Conversely, owners see this and have no qualms about shipping players suddenly and often with little explanation. The result is what we experienced yesterday - madness on day one of NBA free agency with players moving around like wild.

The below tweet by SLAM Newswire is about as condensed a way for us to show you all player movement as is possible. The information is solid as of midnight or so, though there are now rumblings that something is holding up the Jimmy Butler sign-and-trade with Miami, though that will likely be cleared up soon.

To highlight some moves from the already long list - Kevin Durant has made a decision and Kawhi Leonard has not. Those are undeniably the top names on the list, though Durant’s achilles injury in game 5 of the Finals means he will miss next season and may not be 100% the same when he does return. Kawhi is showing interest in the two LA teams, though a return to Toronto is still a strong possibility.

Kevin Durant is heading to the Brooklyn Nets with another big free agent as his running mate. Kyrie Irving was expected to leave the Boston Celtics, but that became abundantly clear when it came out Saturday that Boston intended to sign Hornets All-Star Kemba Walker to a lucrative 4-year deal. The Irving-to-Brooklyn news was fairly simultaneous with the KD news this past weekend. We also learned later that both took less money so that DeAndre Jordan could come across town from the Knicks for a cool $10M/year for four seasons.

Jimmy Butler is another big one in the aforementioned sign-and-trade with the Heat that would send the less talented, but more versatile, Josh Richardson to Philly. The move is an interesting one for Butler, who came to the Sixers because he “only care(d) about winning.” He was fed up with a lackadaisical Karl Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins, but now is heading to the so-so Heat and known lazy center Hassan Whiteside. Alright, Jimmy.

Though the Celtics found a nice shoot-first point guard replacement for Irving in Kemba Walker, they will be hard-pressed to replace big man, Al Horford, who is now a Philadelphia 76er.

Perhaps the most underrated move this free agency is the Utah Jazz signing Bojan Bogdanovic, formerly an Indian Pacer. After a trade the prior week to acquire Mike Conely, the Utah Jazz are looking like a legitimate contender in the Western Conference.

A few other noteworthy deals: First-time All-Star, DeAngelo Russel is headed from Brooklyn to Golden State as the Warriors seek post-Durant scoring while Klay Thompson heals up. The Bucks had to watch Malcolm Brogdon depart, but retained Kris Middleton, Brook Lopez, and George Hill - they have also signed Brook’s twin brother, Robin Lopez. Harrison Barnes resigned for plenty of money with Sacremento. Kristaps Porzingis is locked in with the Mavericks long-term, who also acquired Goran Dragic to create a full Slovenian backcourt with ROY, Luke Doncic. Nik Vucevic and Terrance Ross resigned with Orlando. Rudy Gay is staying in San Antonio and Ricky Rubio is going from Utah to Phoenix.

Player movement is not over, especially with Finals MVP, Kawhi Leonard still yet to make a decision. Follow us on Twitter and keep checking in on this blog as we strive to continue to bring you the top news from the NBA as well as the rest of the basketball world!

A few tips for parents or other fans

Playing the game can be tough, as can coaching. Watching the games? As invested fans, that can be tough at times too.

As fans of basketball, it can be all too easy at times to get involved in everything that goes on on the court - especially for parents. You are taking your kids to camps, practices, and games as well as footing the bills for leagues, equipment, and so on. This gives a deep feeling of involvement with your player and the program.

This is a good thing! You should be active and engaged in what is going on in your son or daughter’s lives. However, this involvement can also make things a bit difficult when you see your athlete placed in tough situations or under-performing.

Just remember - it is often best to address these situations according to the time and place. On the way to or from games are terrific times for constructive discussions, as everything is fresh in the player’s head. At practices, that is the coach’s jurisdiction. Let the coaching staff handle everything on the floor.

Where things often get tough for parents is where it is toughest for all parties - during games.

There are fine lines to walk during games. On the one hand, you are encouraged to cheer on your players and team, to praise them during their successes, and to build them back up when they make mistakes. As such an invested individual though, you may sometimes make mistakes.

Encouragement is always helpful, there is no limit on that. Where things can go wrong though lies in criticism, whether it is of your player, the coach, or even referees. Shouting at the refs will build bad blood between that ref and your team, no matter where it comes from. It also sets a poor example for the players, leading them to believe referees are a scapegoat for their shortcomings.

Criticizing coaches or your player’s teammates is of course discouraged as well. It will distract all of the players and take away from the important focuses of playing the sport.

Finally, save constructive criticism of your own player for another time. Your son, daughter, or otherwise is already going to be aware when they make a mistake. Compounding that with a public disappointment of their parents is going to get in their head in a big way. During game time, just remember - encourage, encourage, encourage. Let the coaches and team handle the rest.

Being an involved parent or fan is important, just do your best to go about it in the best way possible. The Basketball Movement shares a bond with our athletes and their families, and we have faith that our parents, players, and coaches can set great examples for each other.

So you didn't get drafted

The 2019 NBA Draft has come and gone with only 60 names being called. What now?

Only a limited number of individuals in the world can be a part of the NBA or WNBA. There are professional teams all over the globe, but the top of the basketball world is known to be here in the good ol’ U.S.A. With spots at the top being so limited, what are you to do if you don’t make it in?

If being in the NBA or WNBA is your dream, if basketball is your passion, and if you are willing to work, nothing should stop you.

Here is what you do: Get in the gym. Come to The Basketball Movement. Meet with a trainer that is dedicated to helping take your game as far as it can possibly go. We saw the snippets of the NBA Draft’s top pick, Zion Williamson - when he was four, he wanted to be the top player in the nation. By nine, he was getting up hundreds of jumpers every day.

Being at the top of the basketball world doesn’t just happen; not even for freak athletes like Zion. It takes WORK. Hundreds of hours in the gym, peak physical condition and then some, and being married to the game.

If you don’t love basketball, the NBA and WNBA aren’t for you. These leagues are not for the faint of heart. The unseen hours that are required to make it to, and stay in these leagues is a barrier to entry that not many can hurdle.

So you didn’t get drafted? You aren’t working hard enough. You must have a fire to make it to the Association and there is nothing The Basketball Movement does better than stoke that fire. If you have the work ethic, we have the work. Strength and conditioning, skill development/maintenance, film study and more await you within the doors of the basketball mecca of the Midwest.

Our own Rob Yanders’ first-hand experience at multiple levels of the pro circuit mixed with the passion all our staff possesses is a recipe for elevating you to reach your potential. Reach out to us and we will make sure you won’t regret it. You may find out this road is too hard for you, or you may just let us help you all the way down the road to your ultimate destination. We’re excited to find out with you.

Tonight begins the 2019 NBA Draft

The millionth-ish annual NBA Draft begins tonight - Here is what you need to know about the 2019 edition.

Even with the recent conclusion of the 2019 NBA Finals, the Association has remained abuzz with trades, rumors, and talk of the upcoming NBA Draft. For many of us, basketball has been a 365 day-per-year focus for a while now. More and more, the NBA alone is a year-round event.

With trades continuing to roll in, (recently Mike Conely Jr. from Memphis to Utah for Kyle Korver, Grayson Allen, Jae Crowder, this year’s 23rd pick, and another future first-rounder) focus is firmly on the draft. The biggest trade after the season ended sent superstar Anthony Davis to the Lakers for Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, Brandon Ingram, and three first round picks, including number four overall tonight. This trade is noteworthy as it greatly affects tonight’s draft.

Lakerland is focused on winning now, as any team boasting LeBron James should be. The New Orleans Pelicans now have young talent to build around, which they will be able to do right away.

New Orleans will likely select consensus top-talent, Zion Williamson of Duke first overall. Now, they get to select another impressive talent to pair with him since they appear to have control of the number four pick technically still owned by the Lakers. The pick is expected to be Jarrett Culver or De’Andre Hunter to pair with Williamson. Darius Garland will be in the mix as well.

The Grizzlies and Knicks pick number two and three, respectively. Those picks are expected to be Ja Morant of Murray State or RJ Barrett out of Duke.

Below is a mock draft example taken directly from ESPN (that was before the AD to LA deal):

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These player rankings are speculation and it is wild how close to the moment these teams often change their minds. There is plenty of reason to believe there will be picks traded throughout the night as well, starting with that new number four overall pick.

It will be interesting to see how everything shakes out as so many young men see their dreams come true. 60 players will be selected - not all will go straight to the association, as many will wind up in the G-League, etc. Either way, they are all moving one step closer to the ultimate basketball dream and we wish them the best!

Around the NBA: 2019 NBA Finals in the books

The deep, talented Toronto Raptors overcame a shorthanded Golden State Warriors squad to seize their first-ever NBA title.

Congratulations to the 2019 NBA Champion Toronto Raptors! This is the first championship for the Raptors since originating in 1995. That also makes them the first team from another country to win the NBA Finals, which sounds neat.

Powered by Serge Ibaka and Fred VanVleet, the Raptors bench outclassed the Warriors reserved by a large margin. Toronto’s depth was pivotal all these 2019 NBA Playoffs. Former Defensive Player of the Year and first-time champion, Marc Gasol had a shaky Finals, but played a large role for the team since being traded from Memphis in February.

Likely the NBA’s Most Improved Player award recipient, Pascal Siakam showed us that his stellar season was not a flash in the pan. Siakam handled the pressure like a grizzled veteran and continued using his length to score over defenders until the very end. When you think Raptors though, you have likely thought Kyle Lowry for the last multiple years.

Lowry was passive at times all season, but remained an All-Star with his steadying leadership. He was bummed about losing his running-mate DeMar DeRozan this offseason, but the trade seems to have worked out in the end.

With the departure of DeMar DeRozan came the acquisition of now two-time Finals MVP, Kawhi Leonard. “The Klaw” was a monster all postseason on both ends of the floor. His demeanor remained unassuming, but his scoring, rebounding, and all-around game would not be ignored.

Does this title come with an asterisk?

The Golden State Warriors could not complete the ever-difficult three-peat. It was a valiant effort on their part, with the most shallow lineup they’ve had in years. DeMarcus Cousins seemed a step slow from his injuries and he never was succussfully integrated in the first place anyway. Fellow center, Kevon Looney was playing hurt as well.

Steph Curry did his thing all series, though his shot appeared to have a mysterious hitch at times. Klay Thompson missed a game, but came back firing like a madman. Unfortunately, after dropping 30 early points last night, he suffered an ACL tear in his knee, ending his Finals.

Durant had an even more brief appearance, playing just a few minutes of game five before suffering an achilles injury. He has undergone successful surgery, but will likely miss next season - a huge blow to NBA basketball.

The Warriors had tough luck, but this championship should not have an asterisk by it for the Toronto Raptors.

Toronto has one of the deepest rosters in the NBA. They also have one of the best players in Kawhi Leonard. To even get to face the reigning champs, they had to defeat the talented Philidelphia 76ers (by a game seven buzzer-beater courtesy of Kawhi) and the Milwukee Bucks, who had the best record in the NBA and MVP candidate, Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Every season and especially every postseason has ample player injuries. It happens to several teams each year and it was just that year for Golden State.

To be down to three perennial All-Stars available for most of the series was the situation the Warriors found themselves in, so they were more equipped than most to deal with big injuries. Toronto can feel proud in defeating this squad to win the championship.

There is still WNBA hoops, USA basketball, the draft, awards, and more to come, so the pro basketball goodness is still far from over! Keep it locked to The Basketball Movement as we keep up with what is happening Around the NBA and beyond.

Rob Yanders: Playing professionally overseas

The Basketball Movement's founder, Rob Yanders dishes on his experience playing professional ball in Europe.

Rob Yanders' local impact through The Basketball Movement has been immense. He cherishes this community and is here to give back and enhance it through the sport he loves. Rob's time in Springfield and West Plains was a big part of his career, but his professional experience led him to a much different place.

For some of us, it is easy to forget that there is more to basketball than what we see in high school, the NCAA, and NBA. There are basketball teams all over the world; many are at the professional level.

The Movement is very unique in that it offers Euro Preparation to players that are looking to break into the pro scene. Rob's experience is an amazing resource for any American player considering playing basketball abroad.

I (@WilHarrington) sat down with Robert at The Basketball Movement to talk about his time in Europe.

Rob's experience playing overseas

After college, Rob Yanders headed to Sheffield, England to begin his rookie year of pro ball. He said that it was certainly a culture shock, but the team won the British Championship, easing his transition. "When you're successful and winning, everything is great." He credits the people he met and his teammate for helping to make it a great experience.

My experience in Europe helped mold me into the person I am today - my experiences getting away and getting cultured through these different walks of life. Sheffield, France, Scotland, Treviso, Norway, Zurich, Germany, Israel - because of basketball. Because of that round, orange thing, I’ve been to some amazing places.

In his pro career, he went on to win three European Championships, two regular season Championships, a National Cup, and Finals MVP. In France, Rob was also voted team MVP with both VCB and KABCA teams and earned All-Star Team honors in 2012. His time as a pro in Europe was certainly a success.

How Rob applies what he learned to The Basketball Movement

As a pro, Robert told me that you are always thinking about what comes next. Players are rarely guaranteed a safety net in their brief careers. When Rob thought about what he wanted to do, he leaned on what made him happy: basketball.

Enjoying and being around the sport of basketball does not have to end when playing days are over. Robert was a Community Recreation major in college and knew that he wanted to build or run a sports facility.

I grew up in Salvation Army, Boys and Girls Clubs, and YMCA’s. Those were places that gave me shelter to play the game and keep me safe from the streets.

He talked about the alone time you experience playing in a foreign country and the amount of time it allowed him to reflect on the future. He also got to participate in many camps, clinics, speaking opportunities, and mentorships. His leadership grew even more and allowed him to confidently assume his role within The Movement as founder and owner.

Advice for players considering college or the pro game

The advice that Robert shared on this topic centered around personal circumstances - situations vary greatly from player to player.

Do what’s best for your family. Invest in you and invest in your family - your time is valuable. Make sure you get the right council and information.

Rob also warned that the pro game will be a stark contrast for any players that are talented enough to play professionally straight out of high school. Playing with grown men that are playing for paychecks is a whole new world.

If the opportunity for a "one-and-done" type of player to play professionally presented itself, and they needed money, he may recommend going if the player is confident in professional ball as a career. For most though, an education is always a great idea. It will pay off more than fizzling out after a few pro seasons.

As Rob mentioned, receiving the right council and information is very important when considering playing in Europe or anywhere else. Coach Rob, Coach Anthony Shavies, and more can help players with this preparation right here at The Basketball Movement.

If you are interested in any capacity in playing overseas, please contact us and let us help you navigate the intimidating options that follow.

Becoming a leader with The Basketball Movement

In basketball and in life, leadership is highly valuable. It is the goal of The Basketball Movement to turn out as many leaders as possible.

Every individual is made up of unique skills, strengths, and weaknesses. Society and teams are at their best though when leaders are able to step up and guide groups in ways that benefit everyone. The Basketball Movement wants to make sure to do our part in creating as many leaders as possible.

On the basketball court, it is easy to point to a team’s leading scorer or point guard when picking out the leader. This of course does not have to be true. Leadership is possible at all positions.

A player that always makes sure to be a positive presence on the bench is a leader. Players that work to foster off-court relationships with their teammates are leaders. Players that outrun everyone else during practice are leaders. Players that hold teammates accountable in the classroom are leaders.

You can still have the classic leaders as well; The most vocal defender, the offense initiator, or others that lead by example.

Leadership can be a difficult aspect of life to hone. To be a leader means to be one step ahead of others by taking initiative. That can be a bit scary sometimes, and it may occasionally strike a nerve with those around you. The key is to be confident and understanding of the sacrifices it takes to help a team succeed.

If you’re going to be a leader, you’re not going to please everybody. You gotta hold people accountable, even if you have that moment of being uncomfortable.
— Kobe Bryant

The Basketball Movement understands that leadership can come from anywhere, so we make sure to empower all of our players to step up as leaders in their own way. Leadership in basketball is just one of many lessons that we want our athletes to take away from their time with us.

Those of you that are leaders already - Go forth! Spread your gift in any way you can that helps others, on the court or off. As our players apply their lessons to their respective teams and other aspects of life such as work or school, we wish them the best and hope they continue to hold themselves to our high standards.

For more on The Basketball Movement, you are in the right place, but can also follow along with us on Twitter @BBall_Movement

Around the NBA: Finals update

The 2019 NBA Finals is four games in but does not look the way it was expected to.

A game four victory for the Toronto Raptors last night gave them a 3 to 1 series lead over the defending champion Golden State Warriors. The Warriors are looking to three-peat, but injuries and poor defense have them teetering on the brink of elimination in the association’s 2019 Finals.

DeMarcus Cousins is back, but with no Kevin Durant so far in these Finals, the Warriors appear more vulnerable than they have been in years. Klay Thompson even missed game three, though he was able to return for four.

In game one, Golden State showed the world that they were mortal, losing and falling behind in the series off the bat. The defense was porous, with Toronto’s shooters firing at will. The Warriors did bounce back in game two, maintaining a steady lead to even the series after two games in Toronto.

Game three brought the series to the Bay Area, where the Warriors were even more shorthanded, holding Klay Thompson out due to injury. The Raps took full advantage, continuing to light up the poor defense of Golden State. Despite a herculean effort by Steph Curry, Toronto stole the road game to retake the series lead.

Now following game four, Toronto has a commanding 3 to 1 lead in the series as it heads back up north of the border. The Raptors are seeking their first championship in franchise history.

Should the series end in game five, it would certainly be Kawhi Leonard who would claim the Finals MVP award. It wouldn’t be his first time, as he raised the trophy once before in his time as a San Antonio Spur. Leonard’s scoring and rebounding have been phenomenal. The defense that got him to the league in the first place looks just as elite.

Steph Curry has looked like the scorer and sniper he is famous for being, but he needs help. Klay Thompson has been good and Draymond Green has been distributing away, but the Warriors depth has been a defensive issue.

The true hinge of the remainder of these Finals is the health of Kevin Durant. If Durant could come return next game and help them steal one in Toronto, then they would get to come back home. If they win that home game, we are already at a game 7 loaded with Finals-experienced Warriors vs. the depth of the Raptors.

Sounds exciting, but we will have to see what unfolds one game at a time. Game five is Monday (6/10) at 8:00PM (CST) on ABC. Tune in to see what happens!

Media and exposure for our athletes

The Basketball Movement caters to numerous age and skill groups. For many upper-tier athletes, we offer media exposure to help in their career.

There are plenty of reasons for The Basketball Movement to try as hard as we do on videos, photography, interviews, and more. The bread and butter of the facility and its coaches is skill development. Individual and team workouts are our primary tools to facilitate the growth of our athletes. There is more to basketball than skill development, however.

As players improve, it will show on the court - many fans, coaches, and recruits will see this. However, not everyone is going to be around to travel to your games. The more media you have, the more visible you will become. The more visible you are, the more likely you are to get noticed by people that can aid you in your career as a player.

Aside from being more visible as an athlete, the media can also help with confidence. If we throw up a cool video of players putting in work at our facility, that is going to make that player feel good and want to build upon what others are now getting to see. The importance of confidence on the floor cannot be understated. When you look good, you feel good, so we hope that our media clips can help athletes maintain the swagger required to stand out.

Simply put, all the pictures and videos are fun too. Having professionally created videos and images is a blast for players and guardians, and we have a good time putting it together as well. At our clinics, The League, invitational camps, what have you, the players have a blast lining up to get headshots at The Basketball Movement. The younger players in particular eat it up.

So, don’t have any delusions about the reasoning behind our media. Understand that everything we do, we do it for the benefit of our guys and girls.

Exposure is important as players near the collegiate level of the sport. Confidence is a key to hoops, and this can help with that. Also, remember that it is all in great fun as we continue to highlight many of our hardest workers.

Most of our full-length clips are over on our Instagram, but all media is distributed across our Facebook and Twitter as well. Thanks as always for tuning in to what is happening here at The Basketball Movement!

What to do during the offseason

You probably aren’t playing in the NBA Finals and may not even be on Spring or Summer teams. What should you do?

We are going to hit on the basics, but of course our biggest offseason recommendation is checking out everything offered at The Basketball Movement. The Movement provides training in every aspect of the game for every level of player.

That is the obvious answer, so we will break it down more in a bit. Here are the basics for how to use your time in the offseason.

#1 - Work on your skills

During the season, you probably work plenty on situations, plays, and team drills. During the offseason is the best time to improve as an individual. Particularly, this is a great time to work on your shot and your ball handling.

Individual ball handling can be practiced in the gym or driveway. You can work on your shot anywhere you can find a goal to achieve a quicker release or smoother stroke. Have a coach to guide you through? Even better. Where do you find such a person? I think you know.

#2 - Work on your body

For players that or old enough (consult parents, coaches, or even a doctor), the offseason is the best time to hit the weight room. You do not need to be Arnold Schwarzenegger on the court, just achieve your body's balance to be as strong as necessary.

It has been said that you cannot teach speed, but even if you have a limit, you likely have not hit it yet. Speed and agility training are too real (ask The Basketball Movement for details). Agility as well on conditioning are very important and there is always more time for a run during the offseason.

#3 - Refresh your mind

The offseason is also a great time to reflect on what you accomplished or consider the goals you were not able to obtain. Take note of areas where you would like to have been better, making sure you focus on those during the offseason as well as your strengths.

Also, have fun! After a long season it is important to take a little time off as well to clear your mind. Get involved with a basketball program, play another sport to remain active, or even rest to nurse any nagging injuries or give your body some time to relax. Then once you are ready to get back, get in touch with The Basketball Movement of course!

The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses - behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights.
— Muhhamad Ali

In case you had not noticed, a solution to a lot of these fixes has been sprinkled in a few times. At The Basketball Movement, you will find top-of-the-line equipment to help you build muscle and stay in shape. Not to mention staff dedicated to improving your agility, skills, and mind.

To become the best player you can be and make the most out of your offseason this year, make your way to the basketball mecca of the Midwest - The Basketball Movement.

Around the NBA: 2019 NBA Finals preview

With a valiant comeback last night, the Toronto Raptors upset the Bucks to advance to the NBA Finals to face the Golden State Warriors.

With a few days to catch our breath before the NBA Finals, let’s take a step back to see how the Raptors and Warriors arrived here. Well, I suppose we all know how the Warriors arrived here for a fifth consecutive Finals appearance: they’re stupid good.

Golden State dropped a couple games to the Los Angeles Clippers in the first-round, but the biggest loss was DeMarcus Cousins to injury. We did not get to see much of Cousins in the regular season anyway, so any scares about ball-movement and flow were non-existent. They did suffer a second-round injury though that had greater implications.

Losing Kevin Durant to a leg injury seemed to leave a window of opportunity wide open for the Houston Rockets. Anytime one of the best basketball players on the planet goes down, the team should suffer, right?

Wrong.

The Warriors reverted seamlessly to the team that was so dominant before the Durant days, with Steph Curry and Klay Thompson whipping the ball around and splashing threes at a dazzling clip. Draymond Green looked the best he’s looked all season, stepping up his distribution and hitting timely triples. They swept the Trail Blazers in the Western Conference Finals and have been resting ever since. KD’s health will be a big story in these Finals, though he expected to be available.

Toronto’s path the the Finals

After losing the first game of the Playoffs to the Magic, the Raptors rattled off four wins in a row to advance to face the talented 76ers. That wound up being a seven game series, with the Raptors riding the capable shoulders of Kawhi Leonard to victory.

Next up they faced the Milwaukee Bucks, that boasted an NBA regular season-best 60 wins. The Bucks took the first two games at home, but then Toronto turned around and did the same, taking their home games. With the momentum (and some poor shooting by Milwaukee), the Raptors turned their two-game streak into four, and now get a meeting with the reigning champs for their trouble.

This is the first Finals appearance in Toronto Raptors history.

2019 NBA Finals preview

The Golden State Warriors will be heavily favorited to win this series, especially if two-time Finals MVP Kevin Durant is back to full strength. If he isn’t, they will still have three All-Stars in Curry, Thompson, and Green as well as Finals MVP Andre Iguodala coming off the bench to help defend Kawhi Leonard.

Leonard is a Finals MVP himself from his days playing for Gregg Popovich and the San Antonio Spurs. Kyle Lowry is an All-Star, but will have his hands full trying to keep up with a quicker player in Steph Curry. Perhaps the biggest advantage the Raptors hold is a more talented bench, led by Wichita State alum, Fred VanVleet, who shot lights out to close the series against the Bucks.

Toronto owns homecourt advantage too, but it will still be tough sledding with the difference in experience playing against a squad that routinely plays this deep into the Playoffs.

Below is the Finals schedule, taken directly from NBA.com:

Game 1: Thur, May 30, Golden State at Toronto | 9 ET (ABC)
Game 2: Sun, June 2, Golden State at Toronto | 8  ET (ABC) 
Game 3: Wed, June 5, Toronto at Golden State | 9 ET (ABC)
Game 4: Fri, June 7, Toronto at Golden State | 9 ET (ABC)
*Game 5: Mon, June 10, Golden State at Toronto | 9 ET (ABC)
*Game 6: Thur, June 13, Toronto at Golden State | 9 ET (ABC)
*Game 7: Sun, June 16, Golden State at Toronto | 8 ET (ABC)  

* – If Necessary

Golden State has a knack for making the spectacular appear routine, so all expectations are for them to hoist the Larry O’Brian trophy once again. Hopefully the Raptors can provide some magic and steal some momentum again in this series. The closer to a full seven games, the better for basketball fans, so that is the goal! For continued coverage of the NBA Playoffs and these 2019 NBA Finals, keep it locked to The Basketball Movement!

NCAA: Juwan Howard is going back to Michigan

NCAA hoops fans both new and old are familiar with Michigan’s “fab five” from the early 90’s, which included Juwan Howard - now the Wolverine’s Head Coach.

Perhaps one of the most talented NCAA rosters ever, Michigan’s “fab five” team still stands as one of the best remembered squads in college basketball history. The program drew four McDonald’s All Americans back in 1991 and went on to experience plenty of success. You could call them embattled though, as both of their Final Four appearances and many of their wins were expunged due to compromises in amateur status for several players.

The fab five were: Chris Webber, Jalen Rose, Jimmy King, Ray Jackson, and Juwan Howard.

Jimmy King’s NBA career was brief and Ray Jackson did not go on to play in the association. Chris Webber went on to have a 15-year career in the NBA, though he seemed to spend much of it injured. Despite missing multiple games almost every season, he holds career averages of almost 21 points and 10 boards. He is now an analyst on TNT.

Jalen Rose is also currently an analyst and personality on TV, over at ESPN. Rose was a solid scorer for over a decade in the NBA. Juwan Howard was an NBA journeyman and excellent scorer over his NBA career. He last averaged double-digits with Houston in the 05-06 season, but continued playing as a veteran presence for teams until retiring after the 12-13 season. He was a two-time champion riding the pine with the big 3 era Miami Heat.

For Howard, his days at Michigan are not over yet.

Coaching comeback for Juwan Howard

As we have told you, former Michigan coach, John Beilein has agreed to a deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers to become their new head coach. After a stint as an Assistant Coach for the Miami Heat, Juwan Howard is now heading back to Michigan to assume head coaching duties.

Howard will bring a deep knowledge of the game to Michigan, but also a passion that stems from his now ongoing legacy with the school.

This is not the only situation like this going on in the NCAA world. Penny Hardaway is looking to begin his second year as Head Coach for Memphis, where he played two seasons as a player. He had a strong campaign last year and expectations will be high after drawing the nation’s top recruit in James Wiseman.

Patrick Ewing is also coaching at his alma mater in Georgetown. There he will hope that the undeniable star-power of Mac McClung will payoff as they shoot to return to the NCAA Tournament.

For more NCAA, NBA, and prep news and updates, keep checking back with us at The Basketball Movement!

Establishing a support system

In basketball and in life, you are going to need a support system. The further you want to go, the more important it becomes.

Whether it is 100 people or just one person, you are going to need a support system of some kind as you advance in your basketball career. You may have a circle already, but is it filled with individuals that truly support and want the best for you?

Yes, your mama can be your support system. Yes, a teacher, friend, or coach can be your support system. It doesn’t matter who it is as long as they are honest, supportive, and willing to have your back as you fight to achieve your dreams. Taking any path in life by yourself is going to be exponentially more difficult than doing it with the support of others. Even more difficult is going through life surrounded by the wrong people.

Individuals can unfortunately be toxic in many different ways. There are those that scheme and undermine you intentionally, though it may not always be immediately apparent. Sometimes people just don’t want you to succeed and will work behind the scenes to hold you back. It is a tough reality to face when this happens, especially when it comes from a source that you believed was in your corner.

Often, there is an even more difficult obstacle to detect. Some people in your corner may be unintentionally toxic. They think they help, they think they build you up, but really they are unaware that they do more harm than good. These situations are tough to deal with.

Cutting ties with someone you’re close to is going to be hard. However, it is imperative that you only surround yourself with those that will build you up and help you be the best person and player you can be.

The further you get in your basketball career, the more important this lesson will become. A negative influence is going to impact you at any level. That said, seriousness turns up as you select a college to play for. The more positive voices in your ear, the better. The more negative influences, the greater the consequences.

After college, if you are trying to play pro ball, you will need to work harder than you ever had in your life. You need everything to be as streamlined and beneficial as possible. At this stage, a negative influence can cost you everything. Make sure that your support system is filled with those that want to lift you up - not those that are looking for a meal ticket.

Knowing exactly who has your back can be more difficult than it sounds. Trust your instincts and listen to any nagging inclinations that someone may not have your best interest in mind. What is easy is stringing these people along for far too long. Don’t make that mistake; you will need to pull the weeds as soon as you can if you are going to grow and flourish to reach your potential (congratulations on reading the first and last gardening/basketball tie-in ever).

We used the words “difficult” and “tough” quite a bit in here. Establishing a support system is not always difficult, but maintaining it can be. Do your best, and really lean on those that you can trust completely. A strong support system will carry you far in all aspects of life!

Around the NBA: Draft lottery, Conference Championships, and Beilein

Tonight is the NBA Draft Lottery, meaning the future of several franchises hang in the balance.

Two Around the NBA articles back-to-back? It must be your lucky day. Or, it could just be a busy time around the association. The Eastern and Western Conference Championships have been highly anticipated and the draft lottery has been on the calendar for a long time. We did however receive some interesting news from one of the organizations vying for a top pick.

The Cleveland Cavaliers made a surprising announcement yesterday. They have hired former Michigan coach, John Beilein. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported via Twitter that Beilein and the Cavs have agreed to a five-year deal.

At 65 years old, the contract could very well take Beilein right into retirement once his obligation is complete. The Cavs cited character as a large reason for the decision and referred to Beilein as a “culture driver.” In his 39 seasons as a coach at the collegiate level, he has had much success, especially leading the Michigan Wolverines over the last five years.

NBA Draft Lottery

Tonight is the night that teams around the NBA will learn where they will be picking in the 2019 Draft. The lottery will be televised on ESPN starting at 7:30pm (CST).

With a strong consensus for the number one selection in Zion Williamson, the order will have a big impact on the landscape of the NBA for years to come. The second selection will likely be Ja Morant or RJ Barrett, depending on team needs. The third of the Duke freshman trio, Cam Reddish is projected at seven. Darius Garland and NCAA Champion De’Andre Hunter are currently projected as the fourth and fifth picks, respectively.

A few picks have already been traded some time ago and could shift depending on tonight’s lottery. For example, if the Dallas Maverick’s pick is outside the top five, they owe it to the Hawks. Per ESPN: “If not conveyed, the pick remains top-five protected in 2020, falls to top-three protected until 2022 and becomes unprotected in 2023.”

ESPN lists the odds for each team as shown below:

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Conference Championships

In addition to the draft lottery, tonight also marks the start of the NBA Conference Championships. Beginning at 8:00pm (CST) on ESPN, the Portland Trail Blazers travel to take on the Golden State Warriors. The Western Conference Championship is still Golden State’s to lose, though they will be without Kevin Durant due to injury, at least for the first game or two.

In Portland’s game 7 win over Denver on Sunday, they proved that on the rare occasion that Damian Lillard is not scoring in loads, they can still stay afloat. CJ McCollum carried the Blazers in that game 7, but will have his hands full with Klay Thompson this round.

The Eastern Conference Championship begins tomorrow with the Toronto Raptors coming to the United States to take on the Bucks in Milwaukee. The draw to this series should be self-explanatory. Giannis Antetokounmpo vs. Kawhi Leonard. The Greek Freak vs. The Klaw. This game is a true test of superiority for the Eastern Conference and should be thrilling throughout.

That should have you pretty caught-up on what’s happening Around the NBA. Keep checking back with us and follow along on Twitter as we continue to break down the action!

Around the NBA: Brink of elimination

The Milwaukee Bucks are headed to the Eastern Conference Championship, but we still have three other series coming down to the wire.

After having an NBA regular-season-best 60 wins, the Milwaukee Bucks may have had the easiest road to the Finals. They first got a Detroit Pistons team that did not have their best player, Blake Griffin at full health. Up next they were to get the winner of an overachieving Pacers squad or under achieving Celtics squad. Boston looked for a while like they had flipped the switch, but lost four straight to the Bucks after taking game 1.

Thus begins a new, interesting story line in the NBA: Kyrie Irving the seemingly disgruntled free agent. That is an article for another day though, as the Playoffs are still in full swing.

Bucks vs. Celtics is the only Conference Semifinal matchup that has concluded. All other series are heading into game 6, meaning a team is up three games to two in all of them. The higher seeds have the advantage in all of the matchups to this point. It is also interesting to note that all of the first round matches went to the higher seeds. Will we see an upset in these Playoffs?

Potential elimination games are always fun. It will be interesting to see what Houston, Portland, and the 76ers do with their backs against the wall, facing elimination. All three of these teams certainly pack the firepower to climb back into their series. Hopefully we will see at least one or two game 7 situations.

When, where, and who

ESPN has tonight’s games: Raptors @ 76ers at 7:00pm (CST) and Nuggets @ Trail Blazers at 9:30pm (CST). The Sixers seem to have as much talent as anyone in the league, though their starters have all played less than 20 games together including the Playoffs. The Raptors have an edge in experience, but also Kawhi Leonard, who has been playing at an MVP level.

Nuggets vs. Trail Blazers has had interesting ups and downs, with the series seeming to hinge on Damian Lillard’s ability to go full Steph Curry when possible.

Perhaps the most intriguing matchup, Warriors @ Rockets is at 8:00pm (CST) tomorrow, also on ESPN. This has been a good series in its own right to this point, but it now has an interesting wrinkle. The Warriors lost DeMarcus Cousins to an injury in the first round, but last night, they lost Kevin Durant to a “calf strain.”

Exactly how long Durant will be out is unknown, but he will at least miss tomorrow’s tilt. It certainly not only changes the landscape of this series, but the entire playoff picture. Sure, it seems like being down to three All-Stars isn’t that bad, but Golden State isn’t as deep this year as they have been in the past.

On TNT’s Inside the NBA, Charles Barkley went as far as to say the remaining Warriors cannot win this series against Houston. The Warriors will still be an extremely tough out, but it appears that a window may be open for the Rockets to knock off the defending champs.

Plenty of exciting basketball to watch and we aren’t even to the Conference Championships yet. Keep an eye on these games over the next few days and follow along with us as we keep you up-to-date on the action.