During my sophomore year in high school, I played Varsity basketball. I was a starter on our very good team, but my primary role was to play defense on the best player on the other team. That was my only job and it showed as I only averaged less than 5 points per game that year.
After the school year was over, my teammate and good friend Mike and I began to work on our games every day. He sort of took me under his wing. We would go to the gym everyday and shoot a combined 700-800 shots. Even on days we had summer league games we would get in the gym shoot, play one on one, and then head over to the games later in the day. As time went on I knew everything about my game was improving but I still did not perform how I would practice when it came time to the games.
Our team was invited to the East Coast Invitational, a big high school tournament in the summer, with numerous top high school teams along the east coast. Two top players from last year came to this tournament straight from Kentucky where they played several games in a showcase tournament and they were worn out. Coach simply told us other people had to step up. This was basically my arrival, because I went on to play extremely well in the rest of the tournament and provided a 24 point game performance against Kinston a nationally ranked team in the championship game.
Although we made it all the way to the championship game and lost, several of my teammates and I realized how much we could actually do. I finally came out of my shell and performed as my coach and teammate Mike knew I could. Without Mike working with me every day, the countless hrs in the gym battling with each other, and his encouragement I cannot say I would have ever been the player I am today. After my junior year my high school coach told me “I need you to take him (a certain player) under your wing like Mike did and make him a better player because we need him next year.”
I certainly did that, but it came a year later when I met one of my good friends Adam. I saw his work ethic and I told myself this kid is going to be good. After a few times playing together we started working out together and shooting all the time. We played one on one all the time. This kid would not leave me alone or want any days off. I’m glad I was able to help him because he deserved to play college basketball. And he currently has made it to that level and is now part of a college program.
Anyone can be a role model in any way. Take the things you are good at and pass that on to someone you know has the ability to follow in your footstep or simply do something else greatly. Think about it, if we all find one person to take under our wing, we could change a person’s life. We can even keep younger kids from getting involved in the wrong crowds and push them to use their talents, intelligence, or whatever skills they may have to make something of themselves.