A.T.T.A.C.K. Athletics is a state of the art basketball facility on the west side of Chicago founded by Michael Jordan's former trainer Tim Grover. The facility usually caters to the needs of NBA clients like Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, Andre Iguodala, Devin Harris and DePaul alum Bobby Simmons. Yet for three days this summer the doors to the gym were open to college basketball players.
Among those in attendance at this year's camp were DePaul's Devin Hill, Krys Faber, and Eric Wallace, Northwestern's Kyle Rowley and Michael Thompson, and Jacob Pullen from Kansas State.
This was an opportunity for the college guys to learn something from the experts. Campers watched NBA game video in the daily film sessions and then went to work in skills sessions. They focused on offensive footwork, ball handling, creating space, shots by position, feeding the post, post ups, and the pick and roll game.
Leading the camp was AT.T.A.C.K.'s Mike Procopio. You may not have heard of Procopio, but as the below Yahoo! story illustrates, the L.A. Lakers' Kobe Bryant sure knows who Procopio is.
Kobe's Secret Weapon
Camps such as this one give college players the opportunity to get instruction and a workout during the summer period where the NCAA places restrictions on college coaches working with their own players.
"The biggest thing is instruction," Procopio said. "The NCAA limits the coaches where they can't work with them. Basically, (the players) can work with the strength coaches, they can play and they can do drills by themselves. I think a high-level of instruction, really learning their position, and trying to get better with coaching, is tough in the summer-time for them. Their coaches are very high-level coaches, but if you can't touch them in the summer-time, what can you do?"
So, Procopio and the ATTACK staff provide what the college coaches can't.
"To get three days of a NBA-type atmosphere where you're doing two sessions a day, where you're watching film before every session, and you're getting the game broken down," said Procopio. "It's not just playing basketball. It's not just getting shots off. Everything you do here, you do in game situations in your positions. We don't waste any time. We want to get right to it. We give them 12 hours of instruction, that's a long time. We get a lot of shots up, a lot of repetitions, a lot of instruction. We break everything down. If someone does something incorrect, we correct them and try to give them as much as possible."
Player like DePaul's Wallace, who has been sitting out the last year after transferring from Ohio State, finds value in a camp like this for himself and his teammates.
"It's good," Wallace said. "We're going through a strict regimen and workouts, getting a lot of shots up and coming off screens. It's the important things you need to know about basketball. A lot of people don't know how simple the game of basketball is when you look at the top level games. Here they break it down and show you the simple details of what you need to succeed."
"Coaches can't work with us during the summer," Wallace added. "They offer a coach-like figure. They push you harder than you can push yourself. It's good to have someone there outside of yourself pushing you and making you do the right things in your workouts."
DePaul sophomore big man Krys Faber was able to benefit from some one-on-one work in the post with Procopio during the camp's Saturday afternoon session.
"It's a pretty good experience," Faber said. "I like the drills and the shots we take. That's something that I personally wanted to work on. Overall, it's a good experience and challenging. It's nice to go against new people. I picked up some new moves to work on and to take back with me and use in the open gyms back at DePaul."
Fellow DePaul sophomore Devin Hill valued being able to go up against other college players. He got to do that during a time of the year where that doesn't happen often.
"There are some good players here," Hill said. It's competitive, there are a lot of people who play at a high level."
"It's good," Devin added. "We learned a lot of the little things that really help you out, like setting a screen the right way or little things like that. It's good to get that over the summer when we're not working on that type of stuff. This is different because this is like game situation. It helps you a lot. It's good that they are doing this in the summer. It's the right time."
Procopio and the ATTACK staff try to give campers a taste of what things are like at the highest level in the sport.
"They get a lot of information about what the real world is like in basketball," Mike said. "We don't sugarcoat anything here. If they have any questions about how to get to the next level or how to excel at the college level, we try to help as much as possible. We try to teach them how to play with the basketball in their hands and what to do when you don't have the ball. In dealing with high-level players like Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade and having conversations with them, their biggest thing that makes them great players besides be able to kill you with the ball, is they can do a lot without it. Like move without the ball, set another teammate up with a screen, open up, seal, knowing the mismatches on the floor, and spacing. We try to instill all of that."
It's Propcopio's goal at the camp to supplement what student-athletes are learning at their respective colleges.
"We don't try to take away from the coaching that's done during the winter-time with their coaches philosophy-wise," Procopio said. "What we do say is always move to an open spot, don't stand still, find ways to help your team, even if it's without the ball in your hands."
Instead of spending a weekend at the beach, these college players got some instruction and productive work in during their three days at ATTACK Athletics. Instruction that can carry over into the coming season when the ball is tipped in November.
College Players ATTACK Summer Hoops Camp
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