SOUTH WINDSOR – Caught up with Shabazz Napier at his camp, which is running all week at Nomad’s Adventure Quest. I’ve watched him before, running drills for young kids, such as during the trip to Germany and it’s obvious that it’s something ‘Bazz enjoys.
He is very comfortable around kids, and they are with him. Napier did a clinic in Glastonbury on Sunday and will do another at RHAM this week. (Info is here.)
Here are some highlights of our conversation, with much more to come on our website and in the Tuesday Courant:
“It is something [I enjoy doing], for the kids. It’s quite funny to me. The roles are reversed. I was one of those kids growing up, inspired by Antoine Walker at his camp and a lot of other camps I went to, so for me to be in the position now – it’s something that I’m grateful for. I appreciate it those kids that inspire me because I inspire them. That’s just something beautiful to know.
… At this stage right now, I’m just trying to figure it out. This is something new to me, me hosting a camp and all that. I want to be as hand’s-on as I can, because that’s how I realized how much fun camps are. When I was younger and when guys were hand’s on, that’s when a camp was super-enjoyable. So that’s what I want to do. Those guys, I want to open up the floor for these kids to ask me questions, to ask me as much as they can.
When you go to the camp, the best thing you get out of it is when the guy is hand’s-on. You don’t want the guy to be sitting back, and it just seems like it’s not his camp. They came to see me, they want to interact, so that’s what I want to do.
I want to make it a great one. If I’m a part of something, I got to give it everything I have. That’s how I am. They’re giving me a chance to be a something special.
You always remember the first one. I was seven or eight. I started playing basketball when I was 5½. At that age, I didn’t know better. Some of these kids don’t understand a lot yet, so you don’t want to give them too much. You just try to give them the basics and just let them enjoy the basketball, because at this stage the sport is supposed to be enjoyed. When you get older, you realize that it’s more business. You just try enjoy as much basketball as you can at this age My experience, I want to kind of learn on my own. I’m trying to put my own spin on it and do the best I can.”
[The summer league experience]: “It was great. I learned a lot. Of course, I didn’t play up to the way I wanted to play. But my body was just done. I put a lot of workouts, on and off, going from place to the next. I didn’t have enough time to recover.
It’s something you got to understand, you may not be playing up to par but you learned something,.
I’m just trying to adjust as quickly as I can. I’m just trying to give myself some time off. Getting ready to go after it in camp.
[What to work on]: “I work on everything. You know how I am. I don’t pick on one thing. Everything, my decision making, my shot selection, everything about it. Going into a new offense, a new organization, there are new schemes you’ve got to learn. Some of the schemes we did at UConn, they’re not teaching in Miami. So I’m trying to understand and adjust to the way that organization their rules and their schemes. It’s something you’ve got to learn and it’s not going to come quuicjly’. It’s going to come in time
[On LeBron]: “That’s something I’m not worried about at all. Not at all. It’s [business], that’s why I’m not worried about it.”
[Rest of the summer]: “I’ll be getting ready. Getting ready to do what I can to provide the best ‘Shabazz basketball’ for the season.”
P,S. – Shabazz said he is not sure if he will play in the Calhoun All-Star Game on Aug. 8.