NBA gives back to the Filipino basketball community with a special initiative with Alaska: the JR. NBA National Training Camp. From a pool of the top 75 boys and girls aged 10-14, eight boys and eight girls will be chosen as the 2018 JR. NBA Philippines All-Stars, who, in turn, will attend the NBA China Games 2018 in Shanghai this coming October to see the Philadelphia 76ers and Dallas Mavericks play.
Sacramento Kings Center Willie Cauley-Stein flew to the country to help identify the 16 aspiring all-stars, together with WNBA Legend and Hall of Famer Sheryl Swoopes.
Cauley-Stein was picked sixth overall in the 2015 NBA Draft and was selected NBA All-Rookie Second Team in 2016, and was a member of the Kentucky Wildcats team that had Karl-Anthony Towns and Devin Booker on the same roster.
A known lover of art, Cauley-Stein has also started his own clothing line. “I’ve been scheming on it since I was an eighth grader and it has been one of my big things outside of basketball”, he said. When asked if he would bring his brand to the Philippines, “I’ll bring it anywhere! If they want it, I’d bring it here that’s for sure. I definitely have aspirations of it being a global brand and I am in the beginning stages of it. My first product run is done and I am currently working on season two. It’s always fun and I will definitely will bring it out here.”
He also discussed the importance of the JR. NBA. He said, “I think at the ages of 10 to 14, it is like the best development stage for an aspiring young athlete for any sport. You’re going to retain what we’re teaching you. And then the whole All-Star concept, I love that. It’s going to send you off in basketball and going to send you off in life. You can’t play basketball without respecting one another, respecting your coaches and respecting yourself. You can get through anything in life with the right attitude.”
While many amateur ballers want to rush into going pro, the Kings center advised to take time in developing one’s game. As a matter of fact, Cauley-Stein played college basketball and learned so much from his coach John Calipari. “It (college basketball) was more for mental preparation… I have no regrets,” he stressed.
There are more of those tips at the JR. NBA National Training Camp at the Don Bosco Technical Institute (May 19) and the SM Mall of Asia Music Hall (May 20).
The JR. NBA program is the league’s global youth basketball program for boys and girls and it teaches fundamental skills as well as the core values of the game at the grassroots level in effort to help grow and improve youth basketball experience for players, coaches and parents.