Tag Archives: All-Stars

NBA/ WNBA veterans Norris Cole and Taj McWilliams-Franklin serve as mentors as Jr.NBA/WNBA PH chooses 2016 All-Star line up 

   

New Orleans Pelicans Norris Cole

 

Two-time WNBA champion and 6-time All Star Taj McWilliams-Franklin
 
Norris Cole of the New Orleans Pelicans and WNBA Champion Taj McWilliams-Franklin expresses high expectations for the National Training Camp of the Jr NBA/WNBA PH presented by Alaska. 

The veteran players will serve as mentors to 50 boys and 25 girls as they all battle for a place at the 2016 Jr. NBA/Jr. WNBA All-Stars. The National Training Camp will be held at the Don Bosco Technical Institute April 22-23 and at the SM Mall of Asia Music Hall on April 24.

Cole and McWilliams-Franklin will join Jr. NBA/Jr. WNBA Head Coach Craig Brown to coach the 2016 finalists at the National Training Camp and will also serve as coaches for the annual Jr. NBA Alumni All-Star Game featuring past Jr. NBA standouts. This year’s program has reached a record 20,000 players and coaches across the country.

“I’ve heard basketball is a way of life in the Philippines, and I look forward to experiencing this passion during my first visit to the country,” said Cole. “I am also eager to work with the Jr. NBA and Jr. WNBA participants and to share the importance of a winning attitude on and off the court.”

   

 

“It feels great knowing how much boys and girls in the Philippines appreciate basketball,” said McWilliams-Franklin. “I’m excited to share my time on and off the court and inspire more children to play the game.”

Cole, who was drafted 28th overall in the 2011 NBA Draft, won two NBA championships with the Miami Heat in 2012 and 2013. He averaged 10.6 points, 3.7 assists and 3.4 rebounds per game with the Pelicans this season.

Other than a stellar NBA career, Cole also has the distinction of graduated university with honors. In an interview, Cole credits the upbringing given by his parents as source of his drive and determination to succeed both in and out the court, “In our house, with my parents – it’s not a choice between basketball or having my education. It’s trying to do both. I am passionate about both so I did my best to succeed on both fields. It’s not easy – you have to be passionate and you have to be determined and I am lucky to be able to do both.”

McWilliams-Franklin, a two-time WNBA champion and six-time WNBA All-Star, was selected 32nd overall in the 1999 WNBA Draft. McWilliams-Franklin spent 14 seasons in the WNBA, playing for the Orlando Miracle, Connecticut Sun, Los Angeles Sparks, Washington Mystics, Detroit Shock, New York Liberty and Minnesota Lynx.

McWilliams-Franklin also credit her passion for basketball as the reason why she was able to successfully balance an amazing basketball career and motherhood (she has 3 kids). “It’s a conscious effort to do great for both. I don’t want to choose between basketball and raising a family so I have to do both – and do both very well.” 

The Jr. NBA/Jr. WNBA Philippines 2016 presented by Alaska culminates with the National Training Camp, which provides the top 50 boys and top 24 girls with the opportunity to train with and compete against their peers. The finalists were selected from Regional Selection Camp participants from Baguio, Cebu, Davao and Manila. 

At the end of the National Training Camp, 10 boys and five girls will be selected as Jr. NBA and Jr. WNBA All-Stars and will travel on an overseas NBA experience trip together with fellow Jr. NBA All-Stars from Southeast Asia. The program will also feature the selections of the 2016 Jr. NBA and Jr. WNBA Coaches of the Year, who will join the Jr. NBA and Jr. WNBA All-Stars on the experience trip.
Photo credits: all photos are from the Jr NBA/WNBA Facebook page

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The wind beneath every young cager’s dreams: behind-the-scene musings from the Jr.NBA/WNBA staging 

There is a wise saying, “it takes a village to raise a child.” 

This age-old adage rings true in every Jr.NBA/Jr.WNBA staging – whether in Baguio, Davao or in Manila. To put it in context, “It takes a whole team to raise a future basketball star.”

Much has been said or written on the proficiency and the potential of every participant. This blog, in fact, has written quite a few articles on how expansive is the potential for future basketball superstars. And how–even in the far corners of the North, amidst the rice paddies and mountain crevices, you will see a kid in his flip flops  dribbling an old basketball, nursing little dreams of seeing action in the PBA someday. 

A future star cager and the wind beneath her wings

As this year’s JrNBA/JrWNBA draws to a close and another batch of All Stars are chosen, we are also sharing the spotlight to the unsung heroes to this initiative. 

Coach Craig Brown, who has done a great job in molding future basketball stars and uplifting the morale of those who weren’t chosen, recognizes that the amount of work behind every staging is staggering. In a quick interview, he gives recognition to the people behind the program – from long-time event partner Alaska down to the support staff tasked in putting up the court and drills in ever staging. 

  

“The partnership that we have with Alaska is outstanding and the work they do to promote wellness…and a healthy lifestyle has been tremendous. I am also lucky to work with a great event staff and a great coaching team. They make my work easy, they are very professional and with a good feel for basketball,” said Brown. 

The work that goes behind every selection event is truly staggering: from setting up the event venue, to setting up the drills and the scrimmage, to the selection of the final regional line-up and even down to organizing media coverage.

It is a lot of work yet efficiently put together like one big orchestra. To an outsider, it’s like seeing puzzle pieces fall into place one at a time: 

a medic tends to an injured participant
a last-minute pep talk prior to the selection

these guys calls the shots on court

 
a quick briefing with bloggers

  
a flurry of interviews

 
Job Well Done!

 
  Before the sound of sneakers bring life into every venue, what happens first is the event staff shuffling through with equipment, lugging sacks-full of basketball, clip boards and practice cones. It is of the coaching staff running through the drills, reviewing every child one by one, patiently evaluating and pushing every participant to their full potential. This happens simultaneously as the brand partners open shop, providing nourishment and thrills to spectators and young players alike. In one corner, the first aid team stands on duty while a team of seasoned referees huddle reviewing calls and ongoing scrimmage. 

Coach Craig understands the hard work displayed by everyone, “When I arrive at every venue, it helps that the event staff always has things in place. On day one, all the skills station and things we need are set up. The time and the sacrifice that they put up is something — they’re here late at night and I am back at the hotel; they’re here early in the morning. (I’m glad)…because it’s important that these people get recognized for what they do.” 

For referees Fernando Adamero, Danilo Rivera and Vic Amante, there’s something great about being amongst passionate young ballers and see them reach their full potential, “Nakakatuwa ang mga bata. Minsan maiisip mo talaga na baka sa  susunod mo silang makita, naglalaro na sila sa PBA,” quips Amante who has been serving as referree for JrNBA the longest. 

As the National Training Camp draws near and Jr.NBA/Jr.WNBA selects this year’s All-Stars, those who will not be selected will move on to other opportunities or maybe look forward to next year’s camp. The lucky ones will move on to the overseas training camp and maybe-who knows-to a potential career in collegiate basketball. 

For the team behind the event, the logistics, the coaching staff, the brand partners and the PR team – what follows is just a quick breather. Until the rush, the excitement and the relentless search for 2017’s future basketball superstars begins anew.