This is the time of year for “doing the grunt work,” Kevin Ollie was saying at the Travelers this week. When others are on vacation, you prepare for the season. That’s what Jim Calhoun taught him.
As the Huskies prepare for what they plan to be a special season, three of their best players, all of whom hope to be NBA Draft picks a year from now, are going off to camp to fine-tune their skills.
Shabazz Napier, who is healthy now, and Ryan Boatright are heading to the Point Guard Skills Academy in Union, N.J., which features Deron Williams and Kyrie Irving, next Monday through Wednesday. It’s not open to the public or certified for college coaches, but it is open to NBA Scouts.
“They’ll have an opportunity to start building their resume early, going to the camps and having GM’s right there watching them,” Ollie said. “It’s going to be a good year for them.”
They will get a total of 10 hours of workout time there. Then they will head to Chris Paul’s CP3 camp later this summer in North Carolina. Boatright has also been planning to play summer ball in the Nike league in Chicago, which will have a number of NBA players.
DeAndre Daniels will be off to Washington, D.C. for a similar opportunity at Kevin Durant’s skills academy, June 28-30, for wing players. Ollie and Durant were teammates with the Thunder, and Ollie has always expressed great respect admiration for Durant as a player and person.
“I already called KD and told him to take good care of DeAndre,” Ollie said.
The top players in the country are invited to the various position-specific academies, and from each, players are selected for invites to the LeBron James academy in Las Vegas in July.
The second session of summer classes at UConn starts July 8, when the incoming freshmen will join the group.