GZT Founder Tim Anderson to Join DePaul Basketball Staff

Tim Anderson DePaul

After years building up a career that has included stops at the high school, college and pro levels, Ground Zero Training (GZT) Founder Tim Anderson has accepted an assistant coach position on the men’s basketball staff at Big East member, DePaul University.

A native of Chicago through and through, Anderson is taking this opportunity to put DePaul and Chicago back at the forefront of the basketball scene, stating, “I couldn’t be more grateful and excited about the opportunity to put on for my city and help return DePaul to where it belongs.”

When it comes to success, DePaul is no stranger. Having been to two NCAA Final Fours, and with a total of 46 DePaul players drafted by NBA teams, the Blue Demons are a major player in the national landscape. As the program moves into the brand new Wintrust Arena in the heart of Chicago, there is a renewed energy surrounding the Blue Demons. Anderson states, “It’s time to bring the DePaul program back to the glory days and we’re going to need everyone’s help. This is Chicago’s team and Chicago is deserving of a winner.”

depa-wta17-court.jpg

As the Founder of GZT, Tim has helped develop numerous NBA players and draft picks. A total of 21 NBA players were drafted in the last four years in the Ground Zero Training NBA Pre-Draft program, including 13 First Round selections. In addition to serving with GZT, Tim has been the Program Director of the national AAU powerhouse, Nike Meanstreets, which includes many NBA players, such as superstars Derrick Rose and Anthony Davis. Tim’s past coaching experience includes stops at NCAA Division 1 school, University of Texas-Pan American, NCAA Division 2 program, Oklahoma Panhandle State University, and NJCAA program, Malcolm X Community College. He also has head coaching experience at his alma mater, Crane High School.

Ground Zero Training’s Director, Jason Benadretti, shared his thoughts on the DePaul hire saying, “DePaul could not have hired a person who embodies more of what community and the city of Chicago is all about. As a true son of Chicago, Tim has been an instrumental part in guiding Chicago’s youth. His track record both on and off the basketball court speaks for itself. DePaul is not only getting someone who has immense relationships within the city of Chicago, but nationally as well.  This is a home run hire in terms of what Tim brings to the table as a former high school head coach in Chicago, collegiate assistant coach at three levels, AAU program director, and as one of the most accomplished NBA Skills Trainers around.”

2017 NBA Draft

www.groundzerotraining.com

www.groundzerotraining.com

The 2017 NBA Draft was a fantastic night for the Ground Zero Training family yielding huge success. Six members of the GZT NBA players were drafted by NBA teams.

1st Round:

- Zach Collins (Portland Trail Blazers)
- Tyler Lydon (Denver Nuggets)
- Kyle Kuzma (Los Angeles Lakers)

2nd Round:
- Sterling Brown (Milwaukee Bucks)
- Sindarius Thornwell (Los Angeles Clippers)
- Alec Peters (Phoenix Suns)

In the last 4 years, GZT, has had 21 players selected in the NBA Draft, with 13 of those being taken in the 1st Round. With such success, GZT is the premier leader in NBA Draft preparation.

South Carolina to name basketball scholarship after Sindarius Thornwell

The University of South Carolina has announced that the legend of SEC Player of the Year and current Ground Zero Training NBA Pre-Draft program participant, Sindarius Thornwell, will continue to live on after announcing a men’s basketball scholarship in his name.

Sindarius GZT

According to the school, once the scholarship is funded, it will be awarded annually to a player that exemplifies the characteristics Sindarius brought to the program. This past season, Sindarius led South Carolina to their first NCAA Final Four.

“One of our student-athletes will benefit from the great leadership that Sindarius showed during his playing days,” USC head coach Frank Martin said in a statement. “This scholarship represents opportunity, commitment, work ethic and success and I want to thank our university and athletics department leadership for launching this effort in Sindarius’ name.”

Thornwell is the first men’s basketball player to earn the coaches’ choice for SEC Player of the Year in school history.

Sindarius GZT

“Truly an honor to have a basketball scholarship named after myself,” Thornwell said in a post on his social media accounts. “Thank you to Coach Frank and the University of South Carolina for everything!”

Ground Zero Training Conducts 2017 NBA Pre-Draft Pro Day

On Friday May 26, 2017, Ground Zero Training directed its annual Pro Day workout for their 2017 NBA Pre-Draft players in Chicago in conjunction with Priority Sports and Entertainment.

2017 SEC Player of the Year Sindarius Thornwell 

2017 SEC Player of the Year Sindarius Thornwell 

With front office executives from a confirmed 26 NBA teams present, the group of players were given a fantastic opportunity to showcase themselves in front of a huge crowd of their future employers.

Pro Day 2017.JPG

Some of those in attendance included, Bryan Colangelo (Philadelphia 76ers President of Basketball Operations and General Manager), Tom Thibodeau (Minnesota Timberwolves Head Coach and President of Basketball Operations), Masai Ujiri (Toronto Raptors President of Basketball Operations), Lawrence Frank (Los Angeles Clippers Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations), John Hammond (Orlando Magic General Manager), R.C. Buford (San Antonio Spurs General Manager), Rob Pelinka (Los Angeles Lakers General Manager), and Pat Riley (Miami Heat President) among many others. It was a who’s who crowd of NBA personnel for this big day.

GZT's Tim Anderson, Patrell Green, and Jason Benadretti with the 2017 GZT NBA Pre-Draft class

GZT's Tim Anderson, Patrell Green, and Jason Benadretti with the 2017 GZT NBA Pre-Draft class

Former Arkansas Razorback Moses Kingsley

Former Arkansas Razorback Moses Kingsley

Stay tuned as these players go through the NBA Pre-Draft process leading up to the 2017 NBA Draft on June 22nd.

2017 GZT NBA Pre-Draft Class: Sterling Brown, Sindarius Thornwell, Alec Peters, Moses Kingsley, Zach Collins, Derrick Walton Jr., Kyle Kuzma, and Tyler Lydon

2017 GZT NBA Pre-Draft Class: Sterling Brown, Sindarius Thornwell, Alec Peters, Moses Kingsley, Zach Collins, Derrick Walton Jr., Kyle Kuzma, and Tyler Lydon

Ground Zero Training Inks Partnership With FastModel Sports

FastModel Sports Ground Zero Training

Ground Zero Training has entered into a new partnership with FastModel Sports and their FastDraw product to bring an enhanced training platform to all.

With FastDraw’s software technology allowing for digital creation of drills, combined with Ground Zero Training’s reputation as an industry leader in skill development, basketball training and skill development has reached a new level.

Ground Zero Training’s Executive Vice-President and Director of Basketball Operations, Jason Benadretti, cited an evolving market and increase in reach as a driving force in this partnership, “We are always looking for ways to further improve our services and spread our reach. Unfortunately, we can only be in one place at a time, but due to this exciting new partnership, we can now create drills digitally, save them in an organized library, and send custom drill booklets to clients and fans all over the world. This alignment brings a premier sports technology brand in and allows us to further enhance our training programs and offerings.”

FastModel Sports has developed the industry’s best coaching software products, including FastDraw, the #1 basketball play diagramming and playbook software. FastModel clients include all U.S. professional teams, 85% of D1 college teams, and 8,000+ high school and youth teams from over 75 countries.

For more information on FastModel Sports, please visit www.fastmodelsports.com.

FastModel Sports GZT

Inside The Association: Scout Life

Kristaps Porizingis Scout Life Jason Benadretti

The following article was written by Ground Zero Training's Executive Vice President & Director of Basketball Operations, Jason Benadretti, for the website www.talkbasket.net. The article can be found by clicking here as well. 

Do you want to go inside the NBA? Discover the inner workings of the NBA Pre-Draft process? What about understanding the NBA scouting process? Did you even know there are four types of scouts within the front office of an NBA team?

Lucky for you, I’m here to fill you in. Welcome to your inside scoop. Now let’s talk about who I am: my name is Jason Benadretti and I’m the Executive Vice President & Director of Basketball Operations at Ground Zero Training (“GZT” – www.groundzerotraining.com).

Ground Zero is the preferred training destination for many of your favorite NBA players. We specialize in elite basketball skill development, providing training with real game scenarios – not gimmicky drills like you so often see via the world of social media. We have one of the finest trainers in the world in Tim Anderson, the CEO of GZT. We are raw and edgy and not here to say or do what you like. If you want to improve and reach the next level, we are the guys to get you there. In the past three NBA Drafts alone, we have helped produce 15 selections, with 10 of those being 1st Round Picks.

My background extends beyond being a basketball trainer, as I have also coached at multiple levels of the collegiate game in the U.S.A, scouted for an NBA team, and worked as a scout for a third party service that NBA teams utilize for the NBA Draft. I’m here to take you inside the association.

Growing up, I often wondered what the NBA was like and thought that everyone involved with it was a superstar or highly paid. That is only partly true. Working closely with NBA players will quickly make you realize two things. First, these guys are way more talented than you could even imagine and secondly, I look like an ant next to the majority of them. Yes, if you are fortunate enough to play in the NBA, you are quite highly paid. If you are fortunate enough to obtain one of the few spots in the front office or coaching staff, odds are you’re still trying to figure out how to get by with the hopes of advancing up the chain.

For today, let’s talk about what the life of an NBA Scout is all about. Before I got paid to work in basketball, I had no idea how demanding a profession it is. I just assumed everyone made good money and that it was all fun and games. Well, I couldn’t have been more wrong. Now, let’s not get ahead of ourselves here – anyone that gets to work in, and around, the game of basketball is extremely fortunate, and I, myself, feel this way each day. Most people assume that you spend your time traveling the world, watching basketball, and having international and NBA teams pay you for your opinions.

One of the things I quickly learned is that life in basketball is tough. You don’t really get to travel and explore. You travel because you have to do so to watch said team or player. For an international scout this may mean a scenario like this: you take two flights to cross the ocean, roll off your plane to catch a connection to a small city in Latvia, only to get there and have to navigate a language barrier and many other hurdles thrown your way. Head to the hotel for a shower and back out the door to watch what may be the next Kristaps Porzingis, or perhaps a 15-year-old you feel needs to be monitored. Now what? Vacation time? False. Rush right to the airport because lucky for you, there is a red-eye ticket with your name on it to Spain. Many people would use this chance to catch up on some sleep, but at times that just isn’t an option and that scouting report needs to be written up before you touch back down. Have fun feeling rested and in shape when you have to do this process on a regular basis.

As I mentioned, there are four different types of scouts within the NBA. A big thing they usually have in common is a very large amount of miles logged in the air and very few nights spent in their own beds. Think having a family is easy when you are spending the majority of the year on the road? Pretty tough to watch your children grow up through video chat and social media! Remember that body you used to make a priority to workout daily? Ha! Good luck with that one. It’s also not free spending because you work in the NBA. There is a budget in place which must be adhered to, and so often times this means long, grueling trips to see as many prospects as possible. Now, let’s discuss the four types of scouts and their roles in an organization.

International Scouts are the ones we touched on briefly, and are often the ones that pay the biggest price to their personal lives. These guys have to log some serious air miles and deal with language barriers and different customs all the time. Personally being a world traveler for work and pleasure, I know that this is no easy thing to navigate. Ever tried navigating parts of Eastern Europe without help? I have, and it’s not always the easiest experience in the world. Those friends and family you love so much back home? Well, they’ll love you, but you may just become a memory to them with how little you see each other. These days, most of the international scouts that a team employs will be based in a specific region or country abroad. This is the NBA and teams can’t afford to miss out on the next Kristaps Porzingis, Dirk Nowitzki, Tony Parker, or Giannis Antetokounmpo. The reality is, these guys are few and very, very, very far between. The majority of the players you scout will never step foot in an NBA locker room. Oh, and if they do, you’d better hope your investigative skills and the intel you received was accurate enough to know the ins and out of this individual and his family and life situation.

I think the majority of people in this world think of College Scouts when they imagine what an NBA scout does. Travel the country watching the hottest names in college basketball. Follow the guys that lead their team in the box scores you glimpse at. That’s correct, but there is so much more to it. What about the 6’10 freshman with a wingspan of 7’4 sitting on the bench of a perennial power? How about that guy in Montana annihilating opponents? Ever thought about team culture and how important having good people and leaders are? Yeah, well you’d better watch guys with those traits too. Remember the guy that just locked down but didn’t fill it up on the offensive end? Oh, you’d better make sure you watch him.

Most people can watch a player and have an opinion, but training your eye to recognize what will translate to the next level matters. Is there a player out there who may not be ready for the NBA now, but someone your team should consider drafting and stashing overseas, or in the D-League, to develop for a few years? Of course you will pour over hours and hours of film, but seeing a prospect in front of you in person is completely different.

Let’s talk about how scouts approach watching players in person. Different scouts have different approaches to this. Some like to show up to the game, watch, and then go home and write up their reports, while others like to jot down notes as the action is going on. I’ve done both, and have found an approach that works best for me. It’s critical to not just slide into your seat for a 7:30 tip-off as the ball is thrown in the air. Get to the gym early and observe. This is one of the times where you may pick up critical information. Is the player you’re watching goofing around and taking shots that he will never take in a game? How does he approach warming up? Is he locked in? Is his mind and body all over the place? What about seeing just how he looks? Does he have a frame that can add muscle, or will he always be that lanky, 6’3 guy with calves that resemble pogo sticks?

You’d better not just watch the play on the court. Watch the demeanor of a player when an opponent scores on him, when a teammate doesn’t provide that help on defense when they should, when their coach chews into them, when they pick up their teammates and respond positively. How about when a timeout is called? Yeah, you better see if they listen to their coach, or if they are thinking about the best party after the game, or if that girl in row 15 has a boyfriend.

Ever thought about if this person could handle a large sum of money being suddenly injected into their lives? Well, you’d better do your homework. College scouts are in the business of information gathering. You’d be surprised what you can learn about a player by speaking with an arena security guard or someone that player may have let his guard down to.

Ever wonder who evaluates the players in the NBA and the D-League? Well, it isn’t just the General Manager. Welcome to the role of Pro Personnel Scouts. These are the guys who are heavily involved in preparing information for trades and free agency. They focus specifically on players already in the NBA and D-League. Pro Personnel Scouts are there to support the GM in not only giving their views on a player, but also to gather information. They can often be found at the arena hours before a game tips off watching players trickle out of the locker room to warm up. You’d better make sure to see that guy who isn’t going to get one minute of game time. What if a trade comes up with said person’s involvement and you don’t have an opinion? Not exactly an ideal situation to be in. These are often the scouts that have deep relationships with coaches, front office personnel, and fellow colleagues, as information is vital in making a correct decision.

Now to a position I have a ton of love for, Advance Scouts. Having held various roles in basketball, this is arguably the most grueling position out there. I personally think you have to be a little crazy to do this job. These are the guys who focus on the X’s and 0’s of the game. Does your team play San Antonio in five games? Well, chances are you’re watching the Spurs play and dissecting their actions, play calls, and tendencies. Good luck ever watching a game the same way after having held this role. To this day, I struggle to not dissect actions when I am watching a game. Instead of seeing that amazing shot, I’m looking at what actions led to that shot.

An advance scout is essentially an extension of the coaching staff. While watching a game, your job is to watch what Greg Popovich is motioning. Did an assistant just give a hand signal? You’d better write that down. Did Tony Parker just yell out a play call or motion in a specific manner that may indicate a play signal? Write that down. Oh, and when the Spurs score on an action, you’d better identify what led to it and be able to report back with a name for this play. You basically have to block out any of the exciting areas of the game day environment, and the game itself, to succeed at this job. P.S. after the game is over you usually rush back to your hotel and re-watch parts of the game where you missed an action or call, as the TV microphones often pick up on something you couldn’t at the game. Time to spend a few hours writing up your report and sending it back to the staff before you sleep for three hours, pack up, and head off to the airport for the next city.

The NBA never stops and neither does your work as a scout. Every team wants to win and bring glory to their city and fans. As a scout, you do the little things, which may never directly result in an impact on your organization, or a team’s game plan. You scour the country and globe for talent-making sacrifices that are borderline insane. You work hours that are often a bit off the wall. Your support system better be solid, because this type of work can tear people and relationships up. Scout life is about time management. Scout life is about gathering information and studying your craft. Passion is what connects us all as scouts and members of the basketball community.

Scout life…

 

 

www.groundzerotraining.com

GZT's Brian Bowen Selected to the 2017 McDonald's All-American Game!

BrianBowenGroundZeroTraining

On Sunday night, the rosters for the 4th annual McDonald's All-American game were announced with GZT's Brian Bowen being named a selection. McDonald's All-Americans represent some of the best graduating high school seniors in the nation. Well regarded as the nation's premier high school basketball all star event, the McDonald's All-American Game will take place March 29 at the United Center in Chicago. The 2017 teams feature the best players in the nation, residing in 13 different states.

GZT CEO coaching Brian Bowen during Nike EYBL play

GZT CEO coaching Brian Bowen during Nike EYBL play

Since the inception of the McDonald's All-American Game in 1978, nearly 1,300 players have competed in this event. These players form a highly elite group of talent, and some of the most recognizable names in basketball history, including Michael Jordan, Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe Bryant, and LeBron James to name a few. Brian joins an ever growing list of Ground Zero Training clients to be selected as a McDonald's All-American.

 

Charlie Moore Sets Cal Freshman Scoring Record

Charlie Moore Cal Ground Zero Training

Charlie Moore scored 38 points to break Shareef Abdur-Rahim's school freshman record of 33 points set in 1995. His 38 points were the most since fellow GZT product Jerome Randle scored 39 points at Washington State in 2010. In a come from behind win, Moore shot 10-20 from the field with three 3-pointers and made 15 of 17 free throws.

 

 

www.groundzerotraining.com

The Training Diary: David Walker

THE TRAINING DIARY FEATURES NEWS, NOTES, AND INTERVIEWS FROM THE GROUND ZERO TRAINING FAMILY. THE THIRD PLAYER INTERVIEW, IN WHAT IS A FEATURE SERIES, SPOTLIGHTS DAVID WALKER.

David Walker Ground Zero Training MoraBanc Andorra

A native of Stow, OH, Walker spent four years at Northeastern University. He finished his collegiate career by cementing his name among the top shooters in school history and leading his team to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 24 years. Since graduating, Walker has embarked on a professional basketball career, which has taken him to Andorra in the ACB, which is widely regarded as one of the top leagues in the world. Currently, David is in his rookie season playing for MoraBanc Andorra.


Q. After your high school career was up, you made the decision to attend Northeastern, what made you make that specific decision? Do you feel slighted that you weren’t given scholarship offers by some bigger name schools?

David Walker:
I decided to go to Northeastern because I felt like I had a chance to really play good minutes as a freshman or even to start. It was just such a family atmosphere on the visit and that really drew me in. I did feel slighted that the offers never came my way from the bigger schools, and really carried that chip on my shoulder when we went up against those top programs. On the other side, had I ended up at a bigger school, I might have not had an impact like I did right away. In the end, I had such a phenomenal experience at Northeastern and am really proud to be associated with such a great school and program.
 

Q. What was it like winning the Colonial Athletic Association with Northeastern your junior year and making the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 24 years?

DW:
It’s an unimaginable experience going to the NCAA Tournament. To be able to break such a long drought is amazing. There’s something special about the atmosphere in the NCAA Tournament. It was truly electrifying. We fought hard and almost advanced. I just wish we had the opportunity to play in even more games. It was definitely an experience I will always remember and be very proud of.


Q. After a very impressive collegiate career, you went undrafted in the 2016 NBA Draft. How much does that fuel you to keep proving people wrong?

DW:
It definitely fuels me to prove people wrong because I was never a big name. I have confidence in myself that I can play at the highest level. In the end, I believe going undrafted and playing overseas now is going to be a blessing in disguise. I just look forward to waking up and working each and every single day to not only contribute to my current team, but to show others what I am capable of.

David Walker Ground Zero Training Northeastern Dunk

Q. Tell us about your experience so far playing in the ACB.

DW:
This league is everything people said it was. When I found out that I had the opportunity to play in one of the toughest leagues in the world, I did not hesitate. The level of talent here is great. There are NBA players in this league, and as you saw this past summer, players moved from the ACB to the NBA. On any night, any team can win. It really makes you hold yourself accountable. As individuals and as a team, you have to come focused and ready to play.


Q. What’s it like having to completely adjust your way of life and to move to a different country where there is a cultural adjustment?

DW:
It was definitely hard moving to another country. I do think being away from my family during college helped prepare me in a sense for this experience. There are surprisingly a decent amount of English speakers here, which is really helpful. The language barrier can be tough at times, but I'm really enjoying the experience and by now I do feel pretty comfortable. 
 

 Q. Give your fans back home an idea of Andorra and what a typical day looks like for you?

 DW:
I feel very fortunate to be in such a great country and surrounded by so many welcoming people. Andorra is beautiful. This a place and team I’m very proud to represent.  

A typical day during the preseason would start with me waking up around 8 or 9 in the morning. I’d always start off with a healthy breakfast to fuel me for the day. From there, I would generally go lift and head to our first practice. Lunch would follow, along with a nap to help recharge and get ready for the second practice at around 5 or 6. When practice was over, it was usually about 7 or 8 at night so we would go eat dinner afterwards. By the time I got home, it would really be time to go to sleep. It was definitely a tough preseason, but now that season has started, the focus is a bit different and I have a lot more time on my hands. I really try to keep myself occupied in my down time by catching up with friends and family back home, and watching a few shows on Netflix.

David Walker Ground Zero Training MoraBanc Andorra Floater

Q. How was your experience representing the Miami Heat this summer?

DW:
Playing for the Heat was a great experience on so many levels. I was just able to learn so many subtle things that go into being a true professional. Just simple things like what to eat for breakfast, getting your legs right, and how to recover in the most efficient way possible. The NBA atmosphere was amazing, and I’m so thankful that I had the opportunity to play for such a historic franchise.  

 

Q. Your versatility has been a major asset to you in your career, and is one thing that really has NBA and international teams intrigued. Do you feel that you are someone who can not only step out and play multiple positions, but guard them as well?

DW:
For sure. I think that I can play multiple positions because I’m a great passer and shooter. I think being able to play out of the ball screen well is huge and an asset of mine. I feel as though I will only continue to get better at all of these. On the defensive end, I think I can defend multiple positions due to my size and athleticism. Over time, as I get quicker and stronger, I think my defensive abilities will only improve.

 

Q. Did you ever envision that basketball would allow you to not only get a free top-level education, but also take you around the world and provide you a career?

DW:
Not really! When I played in high school, I didn’t even imagine playing in college until the summer going into my junior year. I was able to continue to develop my game thanks to some great coaching in high school, and eventually had college offers. When I got to college, I wanted to excel and perform at a high level, but never imagined I would play professionally. Once I started hearing about scouts at my games, and different agents contacting my coach, I realized I could use the game I love as a career. It’s truly a blessing to be able to get paid to play basketball, and traveling the world is a great bonus that just happened to come along with it. I love my job.

 

Q. Anything you would like to say to your fans around the world?

DW:
I just want to say thank you to everyone that has supported me since day one! I would tell everyone to just do what makes you happy, because as I’ve realized, being able to go to work every day and love it, is something to never take for granted. I really couldn’t be happier with where I’m at being 22 years old. As they say, if you love your job, you will never work a day in your life.

Ground Zero Training

The Training Diary: Brandon Provost

THE TRAINING DIARY FEATURES NEWS, NOTES, AND INTERVIEWS FROM THE GROUND ZERO TRAINING FAMILY. THE SECOND PLAYER INTERVIEW, IN WHAT IS A FEATURE SERIES, SPOTLIGHTS BRANDON PROVOST.

Brandon Provost Ground Zero Training

A native of Katy, TX, Provost spent one year at the Air Force Academy before transferring to the University of Texas-Pan American. Provost finished his collegiate career by cementing his name in many statistical category top rankings, including a .452 shooting percentage, good for second in UTPA program history. Since graduating, Provost has embarked on a professional basketball career which has taken him around the world.
 

Q. After a highly successful high school career, you decided to attend the Air Force Academy. What made you make that specific decision? 

Brandon Provost:
I decided to go to the Air Force Academy for a few reasons really. I knew that I was making a decision that wasn't solely about basketball. I was putting myself in a position to grow and mature as a person. The institution is a really special place. Even though I left the AFA, I still have such a huge level of appreciation for all that work and attend there. On the basketball side, this was a place that had been ranked in the top 25 a couple years before I attended, and played in the Mountain West Conference. That alone is something to be held in high regard. In addition, I built a great relationship with one of the assistant coaches on staff. There were just some very positive things about it, and that ultimately led me to want to attend the Air Force Academy. 
 

Q. You decided to transfer after one season there. Why was that?

BP:
I made the decision to transfer because after re-evaluating things, the lifestyle wasn't exactly what I expected it to be. I have all the respect in the world for members of our armed forces, but at the AFA, there are so many things that pull at you. I found myself just wanting to go to school and play basketball. In the end, all the extra military activities and expectations just were not something that I wanted to concentrate on so heavily at the time. 


Q. Is there anything you would change about your collegiate career and overall experience?

BP:
My college experience was a phenomenal one. If I had one thing I could go back and do differently though, I would choose to be a more aggressive player. Looking back I feel like my passive and easy going attitude carried over on the court at times. Having experienced playing professional basketball, and needing to be the go to guy, I feel like I could have impacted my team in a more positive manner, and in turn probably lifted my own level of potential personal success. 

Q. Talk to us about your professional basketball career. What countries has basketball taken you to and what teams have you played with?

BP:
My pro career has definitely taken me to some places I never thought I would go to. My first year out of college, I played for BG Leitershofen in Germany. Then I joined the RGV Vipers and Erie Bayhawks of the NBA Development League. After those stops, I played with Al Sadd in Qatar, Astros del Valle in Cali, Colombia and finally with Fuerza Guinda de Nogales in the Mexican CIBACOPA League. 


Q. What is it like having to pack up and essentially be forced to adjust to a different country and culture? Any advice you have to share for those that will be making the jump overseas for the first time?

BP:
Packing and leaving gets easier as time goes on. It's all about knowing what to expect and the main thing to expect is the required period for adjustment. My only advice would be to not panic. Adjusting to the overseas game can sometimes take time, but an adjustment to the culture will also not happen overnight. 

Brandon Provost NBA League Ground Zero Training

Q. Are there any funny stories or moments that stand out?

BP:
Oh man, too many. One of the best ones is when I was involved in getting hit by a car in Germany. I was walking back from the store at about 8:30 AM and some older lady threw her car in reverse without looking. Well, she hit me. Thankfully, she didn't hit me too hard. It was hard enough to knock me down and leave some nice bruises, but I didn't even miss practice. The worst part about that all was having to eat dry cereal after, because when I fell, the milk carton unfortunately went down too. Rough.

Q. Did you ever envision that basketball would allow you to not only get a free education, but take you around the world and provide you a career?

BP:
I think after my first year playing at UTPA, it became more of a possibility in my head. It kind of switched from just being a dream to a goal at that point. When it happens though, it is still such a surreal feeling and something I'm fortunate to get to do. 

Ground Zero Training

The Training Diary: Shaquille Hines

The Training Diary features news, notes, and interviews from the Ground Zero Training family. The first player interview, in what will be a feature series, spotlights Shaquille Hines of Borås Basket in Sweden.

Shaquille Hines Boras Basket Ground Zero Training

A native of Chicago, IL, Hines spent four years at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley before embarking on what is now his rookie season playing professionally. After a stint with the Portland Trail Blazers before the start of the Las Vegas NBA Summer League, Hines signed a deal with Borås Basket in Sweden.
 
Hines finished his four-year collegiate career ranked seventh in program history in scoring with 1,325 points and fourth in blocks with 74. He is also one of just two players in program history to score 1,000+ points, grab 500+ rebounds, and block 60+ shots.



Q. Tell us about your experiences growing up on the South Side of Chicago. 

 Shaquille Hines:
Growing up, I, like so many in my community, had to go through some tough times and unfortunate situations, but dealing with all that stuff just made me grow up faster. It made me realize that I had to be something in life. I was really able to, and forced to, learn from other people’s mistakes. This put me in a position to be different, and to carry myself a certain way in order to find a better life for myself, and others around me. Through it all though, I did have some good experiences growing up and will always have a special love for my hometown.

 

Q. How big a role did basketball play in helping you escape some situations that weren't always ideal?

SH:
Basketball played a huge role in helping me escape and get away from so many bad situations. When I'm on the court, I don't think of anything but basketball. For that hour or two, problems just don't exist.

Shaquille Hines Dunk Ground Zero Training

 

Q. Do you have any specific mentors or people that helped guide you along the right path?

SH:
There are definitely some people who helped me stay on the right path. First off, my family was always there for me. Both my parents made sure to guide me and keep me in the clear as much as they could. I also had Lawrence Burnett, my mentor, there for me. He was one of the first people to tell me that I'd be a professional ball player, and he really helped me get to the point I’m at now. 

 

Q. After your high school years, you decided to attend what was then known as the University of Texas-Pan American. What made you choose a D1 school located far from home in TX?

SH:
I chose UTPA primarily because of the Chicago connection. Both Ryan Marks and Tim Anderson were from Chicago. I knew that they would take care of me. That was a major factor for my family and me. I also knew I would have a chance to play right away, and that was definitely something important to me. Tim watched me play when I was in high school, and had a relationship with people I leaned on, so I was very familiar with him. I do want to give a shout out to Jason Benadretti, who was also on staff at UTPA my freshman year. We hit it off immediately and have been good friends ever since. Looking back on all of it, the relationships really put the icing on the cake for me.

Shaquille Hines UTPA Ground Zero Training

 

Q. Is there any advice you would like to give current and future recruits when deciding on a college?

 SH:
I would tell the kids to go to a school where the coaches really care for you as a person. So many coaches these days are full of garbage. They’ll say what they want you to hear, and not think about the long-term picture of developing and helping shape a person. I do also think a school where you’ll have the chance to play and get better is huge. There’s no point in going to a school where you don’t get the opportunity to step on the court if your goal is to make it as a pro. It’s important to not be rushed in the decision-making process. Make the right decision for you, and you will know when the time is right to do that.

 

Q. Talk about your experience this past summer with the Portland Trail Blazers. Being around so many other high level players, was there anything you were able to take away from that experience that you now use in your career? 

SH:
My experience this summer with the Trail Blazers was amazing! That was great. I was able to learn so much and was able to meet some great people. They are a world-class organization that treats everybody with the upmost respect. What I took from that experience was to always carry myself as a pro. People are always watching and judging both on and off the court, so it’s important to never lose sight of that. Just remaining humble, and to be appreciative of special opportunities like that, is something I'll continue to take with me in my career. 

Shaquille Hines Boras Basket Ground Zero Training

  

Q. How are you settling into your new environment in Sweden? What is it like for a kid from Chicago to be paid to play professional basketball in a different part of the world?

SH:
Sweden has been great so far. This is an exciting time for me. I really like it here. I love learning about different cultures and seeing the way they live. Luckily for me, this town has plenty of people who speak English. They have some of the same food that I’m used to eating, and I find it very easy to get whatever I need to purchase. So, it hasn’t been too much of a culture shock. The club I'm playing for is great. They are all very nice and welcoming people and run it like a top-notch organization as well. I'm just thankful to be in such a great place to start off my career.

 

Q. What is it like for a kid from Chicago to be paid to play professional basketball in a different part of the world?

SH:
It's great being paid to play the game I love. A kid from the South Side of Chicago is now being paid as a professional basketball player. Just to think about that means I've come a long way. I can’t give enough thanks to all the people who have helped me in reaching this stage. I know I've worked really hard for this, and I think the best is yet to come.

Get To Know GZT: An Interview with Ground Zero Training's Tim Anderson and Jason Benadretti

After a very busy summer, Ground Zero Training Founder and CEO, Tim Anderson, and Executive V.P. and Director of Basketball Operations, Jason Benadretti, sat down for an in depth interview.

 

Q: Tell us a little about your background.

Tim Anderson:
I grew up in the inner city of Chicago and used basketball as a way to not only get out of an undesirable living situation, but also to get myself an education. Growing up in a tough neighborhood can shape someone, but it can also break them too, and I’ve seen so many people go down the wrong path. I’ve lost family and friends to the wrong things, but I was very fortunate to have some great mentors to help guide me in the right direction.

Jason Benadretti:
Tim and I arguably have some of the biggest differences in upbringing and environment, but some very real similarities too. I grew up in Irvine, CA, which is ranked as one of the safest cities in the country year after year. As the son of African immigrants, I was brought up with a very real perspective on life and a sound appreciation for cultural differences. And, just like Tim, I was fortunate to use basketball to obtain a degree. This game is a major driving force in so many of my life experiences.

Nike's "The Trip" team after their win over the Bahamas. The team consisting of 13 of the nation's top prospects was coached by GZT's Tim Anderson, 5 Time NBA champion/LA Lakers Associate Head Coach Brian Shaw, NBA Champion Rasheed Wallace, and 1997 NCAA Tournament Champion and Most Outstanding Player Miles Simon

Nike's "The Trip" team after their win over the Bahamas. The team consisting of 13 of the nation's top prospects was coached by GZT's Tim Anderson, 5 Time NBA champion/LA Lakers Associate Head Coach Brian Shaw, NBA Champion Rasheed Wallace, and 1997 NCAA Tournament Champion and Most Outstanding Player Miles Simon

 

Q. How did you get into player development?

TA:
My path has been a winding one for sure, but one that has always placed player development and relationships at its core. Growing up, I attended one of the toughest, and most talented schools in the country, Crane High School, where I played alongside NBA players, Tony Allen, and my brother, Will Bynum. Even at a young age, I had a passion for increasing skill development in others and made an effort to train players. After I finished playing in college at Oklahoma Panhandle State University, I played semi-pro ball and then jumped right into coaching. I coached at the HS, JUCO, D2, and D1 levels, where I was always in charge of the player development programs. Watching my players improve as the days went on was a motivating factor for me, and that was really what drove me to start Ground Zero Training.

JB: 
My path has undoubtedly taken some twists and turns as the years have gone on. I was an average player, with a passion and hunger for the game that was off the charts. After college, I jumped head first into the coaching world, very eager to blaze a path forward. I spent some time working in the college ranks at the JUCO, NAIA, and D1 levels. That then led to an opportunity working as a scout in the NBA. Through it all, I constantly had the desire to help players improve their game. That desire reached a new level during my time spent scouting, as it was the first time I didn’t have the opportunity to make an impact on the outcome of a game. This made me really analyze player strengths and weaknesses, and I found myself more eager than ever to help players take it to a new level. When the opportunity came to help Tim build up GZT, I jumped right on it. I’m very fortunate to do what I do today. Working with someone I consider family, and some of the top basketball players in the world is special, and special should never be taken for granted.

 

Q. Is there credence to the old saying, “players don’t care what you know until they know you care?”

TA:
That saying couldn’t be more true and it’s what we base Ground Zero Training off of. Our goal is to help every single player improve their skills as well as help each one move onto the next phase of his or her life. The relationships we develop in the gym, and off the court, last a lifetime. This is family.

GZT's Tim Anderson with NBA Veteran Will Bynum

GZT's Tim Anderson with NBA Veteran Will Bynum

Q. Why the name Ground Zero Training?

JB:
There are two things that really went into the name. First off, we are at the epicenter of player development. In the last three NBA Drafts we have had 15 players drafted with 10 of those being 1st Round Picks. Beyond that, multiple players have signed NBA contracts. Just look at what guys like Sean Kilpatrick, Marshall Plumlee, and Kyle Wiltjer have recently done. Going from undrafted to signing multi-year contracts. That’s just at the NBA level too. We’ve been fortunate to be a part of the process for so many players who have secured professional contracts overseas, college scholarships, and even improved their standing at the high school and youth levels. The second thing that went into the name is huge – GZT was shaped by our backgrounds. We want to show everyone that there is a way out of any situation through hard work and refusing to settle for anything less than your best. To this day, I’m extremely proud of what Ground Zero Training stands for and represents.

GZT's Jason Benadretti at the end of a group workout

GZT's Jason Benadretti at the end of a group workout

Q. What does a typical day consist of for GZT with your NBA players?

TA:
Each day is a bit different and it really depends on whether our players are in season or out of season. First off, you need to treat each player as his or her own mold. We all have our strengths and weaknesses, and at GZT we aim to improve both of those areas every single day. That doesn’t just go for the players we train, but for the staff as well. We are big believers in film study, as the tape usually doesn’t lie. We need our NBA and professional clients to be able to continue to improve at a level that is so cutthroat. During the off-season, our NBA guys often go through a skill development workout, a shooting workout, and depending on the players and the timing, 3-on-3, 4-on-4, or 5-on-5, where we are able to institute certain NBA aspects a player might see in a game. We are available 24 hours a day to our guys. The fight to be at the top is so intense, and sometimes you find yourself having to go at it a bit with some of the guys in order for them to just get some rest. It’s not rare for Will Bynum or Jabari Parker to call at 3:00 or 4:00am and want to get a workout in. I know I can speak for Jason about this too – we feel the highs and lows of our players’ performances. If a guy has a bad night, we may get a call or text asking to come in and lend a hand, or to give him some feedback. So we’re constantly trying to balance trusting the process and figuring out what can be done to help our guys.

GZT clients Will Bynum, Charles Matthews, and Tyler Ulis during a recent off-season workout

GZT clients Will Bynum, Charles Matthews, and Tyler Ulis during a recent off-season workout

Q. Is there anywhere you won’t go to help a client?

JB:
Not really. Like Tim said, we are essentially on call for our guys. This is what we do and we want to make sure everyone has their best chance to be successful at their respective level. We don’t just serve them domestically, but internationally as well. Tim has previously spent months in China with Will Bynum, and Yi Jianlian when they were with the Guangdong Southern Tigers, and today both players are back in the NBA. I personally just returned from Colombia where I spent a few weeks helping a pro team, Aguilas de Tunja, get ready for their season. You never really know who is going to need you, and when, but we are always more than willing to do what is necessary to help our clients.

GZT recently traveled to Tunja, Colombia to help prepare the professional team, Aguilas de Tunja, for their upcoming season

GZT recently traveled to Tunja, Colombia to help prepare the professional team, Aguilas de Tunja, for their upcoming season

Q. What’s next for GZT?

TA:
We’re looking to expand our brand even further. People have to realize that nothing is more important than your reputation and name, so we have purposely passed on some opportunities and built GZT to what it is today in a very deliberate manner. We’re at a point where we do feel comfortable looking into some expansion opportunities now. This is definitely an exciting time for GZT and we look forward to the future as well.

GZT Logo

Ground Zero Training In Colombia

Ground Zero Training's Jason Benadretti recently visited Colombia to work with Aguilas de Tunja of Colombia's professional basketball league. The 2015 Champions welcomed him with open arms as they embarked on a 2.5 week training experience to prepare for their upcoming season. Aguilas aim to regain their league title this season, and set themselves on a path to doing so with two-a-day on court skill development sessions. In addition, members of the team were put on a strength training and nutrition program to help fine tune their bodies, and increase athletic performance. 

GZT's Julio Velandia Suarez of Aguilas de Tunja

As part of Benadretti's trip, he co-hosted a camp for the youth in conjunction with Aguilas de Tunja. The two weekend camp consisted of two-a-day sessions on both Saturday and Sunday in an effort to provide as much player development time as possible. 

GZT's Jason Benadretti (center) with some members of the co-hosted camp with Aguilas de Tunja

GZT's Jason Benadretti (center) with some members of the co-hosted camp with Aguilas de Tunja

Best of luck to Aguilas de Tunja this upcoming season! We look forward to working with them and the Colombian basketball community again in the very near future. 

Ground Zero's Yi Jianlian Inks Deal With The LA Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers have officially announced the signing of Ground Zero Training client Yi Jianlian! 

Yi, who is from China, recently finished playing for his country at the '16 Olympic Games, where he averaged over 20 points per game while shooting 46.7% from three-point range. This was Yi's 4th Olympic Games in his highly successful career. 

Lakers fans shouldn't take this signing lightly, as Yi was formerly drafted with the 6th pick in the '07 NBA Draft by the Milwaukee Bucks. This marks Yi's fifth team in his NBA career with stints as arguably the most successful player in the Chinese Basketball Association's history.  He is a polarizing figure in the league having been named the CBA MVP 8 times. In addition, he is a 4 time CBA Champion, 2 time CBA Finals MVP, and has won 3 gold medals at the FIBA Asia Championships. 

After a season working with Ground Zero Training's CEO Tim Anderson and teaming with fellow GZT client Will Bynum, Yi Jianlian went on to claim the CBA MVP award for his 8th time! We look forward to continuing to work with Yi as he returns to the NBA to team with 2015 1st Round GZT product, Larry Nance Jr. 

Ground Zero CEO Tim Anderson Helps Lead NIKE EYB Team To Win Over Bahamas

Ground Zero CEO Tim Anderson was selected to be a member of the prestigious coaching staff for Nike's "The Trip." This second annual event features 13 of the top prospects in the nation training in an incredibly competitive environment, leading up to a game against the Bahamas. In addition to Anderson, the coaching staff consisted of 5 Time NBA Champion/ LA Lakers Associate Head Coach Brian Shaw, NBA Champion Rasheed Wallace, and 1997 NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player Miles Simon. 

The trip started with a visit to Washington DC and the White House, where the players met with key advisors while addressing leadership and community impact.

The Nike EYBL Elite team had no problem dismantling the Bahamas team coached by 1st Round NBA selection, Buddy Hield, and walked away with a 113-88 victory. Keep an eye out on these guys as you are bound to see many of them in the NBA soon!

Ryan Boatright Signs In China

Ground Zero Member Ryan Boatright

Ground Zero Member Ryan Boatright

Ground Zero Training's Ryan Boatright has signed a contract with the Foshan Long-Lions in China! Adding another impressive stop to the resume, Ryan will relish the chance to be a tough nosed leader. Boatright is sure to become a fan favorite, as they will get an opportunity to see his fast and aggressive attacking style of play. Best of luck to Ryan as he continues the next step in a great career! 

 

www.groundzerotraining.com

Jabari Parker & Doug McDermott Represent USA Basketball

Jabari Parker and Doug McDermott were selected to represent USA Basketball in Las Vegas, Nevada during the Team USA Training Camp. Both Jabari and Doug were a part of a very competitive group on the USA Select Team. Being members of USA Basketball has always been a huge point of pride for these two, and getting the opportunity to push the Olympic Team will go a great way towards helping the USA finish with big result in Rio. We look forward to seeing both of them continue their great offseason as we inch closer to the start of the 2016-2017 NBA schedule!

New York Knicks Sign Marshall Plumlee to 3-Year Deal

Marshall Plumlee Ground Zero Training

Ground Zero Training's own, Marshall Plumlee, has signed a 3-year contract with the New York Knicks! He is going to provide New York and the fans at Madison Square Garden with contagious energy and enthusiasm. He's a true center who loves to bang down low and do what is necessary for the team to win. A true servant leader in every sense.

Congrats Marshall! See you in MSG this season!

 

2016 NBA Draft

2016 Ground Zero Training NBA Draft Picks

2016 Ground Zero Training NBA Draft Picks

The 2016 NBA Draft was a fantastic night for the Ground Zero Training family yielding huge success. Five players were drafted by NBA teams and multiple players signed contracts with NBA teams immediately following the NBA Draft. All in all 11/11 of the 2016 Ground Zero Pre-Draft Family have been presented with opportunities to put on one of those NBA uniforms.  

1st Round:
-Wade Baldwin- Memphis Grizzlies

2nd Round:
-Tyler Ulis- Phoenix Suns
-Demetrius Jackson- Boston Celtics
-Jake Layman- Portland Trailblazers
-Joel Bolomboy-Utah Jazz

Signed NBA Contracts:
-Kyle Wiltjer-Houston Rockets
-Marshall Plumlee- New York Knicks
-Perry Ellis- Dallas Mavericks
-David Walker- Miami Heat
-Maodo Lo- Philadelphia 76ers
-Tre Demps- Chicago Bulls

Congrats to the entire crew! Always and forever family!

-Ground Zero Training

 

www.groundzerotraining.com