My Off-Season Is Anything But Off

At the end of the season, it is protocol for each team to conduct exit interviews with their players. These interviews review your season, lay out expectations for the summer and hopes for the following year. My exit interviews were held with Coach Terry Stotts and General Manger Neil Olshey. My meeting was quick and the goal was clear.

I need to spend as much time working out and playing competitive basketball as possible.

To some, this may be a “no brainer” why this is important for me. For others who don’t know, big men develop best when they are playing in game-type situations. This means I need to be playing as much 1-on-1, 3-on-3 and 5-on-5 as possible. All three of these game-like situations offer their own benefits. 1-on-1 is great because I am constantly working on my defense and scoring. When I play 3-on-3, the court is more spread out which teaches me to react and understand spacing on offense and defense. Of the three, 5-on-5 is the most important because it allows me to improve all aspects of my game.

With this goal in mind, here is my summer schedule:


You will notice that my training does not take place in just one location. Starting in June, I am expected to come back to Portland for “Summer Workouts.” This is daily shooting, drills, weight lifting and conditioning that majority of the younger guys on the team will participate in.

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At the end of June, I get to go home to host my first basketball camp in my hometown of Robinson, IL. While I am there, my big man coach, Kim Hughes, will accompany me. This means that before, between and after my 6 hours of camp, I will be working on my own individual workouts.

Starting in July, I will spend most of my time in Las Vegas. Similar to my last two summers, I will be playing in Summer League and participating in Gurgurich NBA Basketball Camp.  Summer League is tournament for NBA teams to test out potential rosters with a combination of current players, free agents and draft picks. Gurgurich NBA Basketball Camp is a mini training camp that works with nearly 75 players from all different teams. In the morning, we work on drills, defense and shooting. While in the evening, we scrimmage 5-on-5 against each other.

Moving into August, my training will take me to Los Angeles. Spending the majority of my time at the Clippers facility, Los Angeles is home to some of the best NBA players in the off-season. This makes my time in California a key part of my summer because it will give me experience playing against these players 5 days a week.