Our final day of the Russell Hoops’ tour was a basketball extravaganza, with a focus on improvement and skill development.
We headed off in the morning to PSA where the boys would be treated to a skill development workout with Coach Josh Feemster of one of the areas top AAU programs, Nike Pro Skills. Nike Pro Skills are consistently one of the best AAU teams in the nation, and it was clear to see why as Coach Feemster really put the boys through their paces. They worked on ball-handling, shooting, toughness and a LOT of conditioning with some serious full-court end to end drills that left the boys looking flustered!
After the workout it was back to the residence for some lunch and relaxation. Some of the boys attempted to pack some of their things, but judging by the current mayhem going on upstairs I think many of them left it till this morning
In the afternoon Coach Tom sat the boys down for a workshop which covered a general to-do list if the goal is to play college basketball, outside of the obvious time and energy that needs to be spent on the court and in the weight room. The boys took notes on this information, which was incredibly important as an error in the college and NCAA application process can be very costly. He then shared his college basketball story and all the things he learnt along the way, from how to be a more selfless teammate to being grateful for every basketball experience and opportunity that comes your way. The boys were very engaged in the talk and many of them came to say thank you after it was over.
In the evening we were scheduled to take on Coach Feemster’s Nike Pro Skills u15 group, an incredibly talented group of young men that on Thursday would be competing in the AAU nationals held here in Texas. Our boys started the game a bit slow as Pro Skills came out in an intense full-court press, but once we settled down we began to take control of the game with some nice buckets from Ope Afolabi and Stephen Akpan, who also played great man to man defense. Stanley Howard provided great energy both on the court and from the bench, and we began to build some momentum. Our size and strength ended up being too much for the Nike Pro Skills group and we came away with the 67-54 victory.
A very lively and happy group of boys sang their way back to the residence to be met by a selection of tasty pizzas and drinks for their final evening meal together. It was a wonderful moment for a group that have worked so hard and been such a joy to be around for the past 10 days.