BluePrint Basketball: The Three-Headed Training System That’s Improving The NBA’s Best

10.03.12 4 years ago
Kyle Weaver and Damien Wilkins

Kyle Weaver and Damien Wilkins (photo. Mike Kaufman)

What do you get when you mix a former NBA video coordinator of eight years, an innovative football strength and conditioning coach, with a top rated sports physical therapist?

The answer is the Miami based summer training haven of BluePrint Basketball, where some of the more recognized names in the NBA like Kevin Durant and Joe Johnson come to hone their skills.

Creator and founder Irv Roland teams up with Manning Sumner of Legacy Fit, and Alex Da Silva of Miami Flexibility Trainers to form this trio of basketball training among a landscape of offseason trainers.

Roland used to spend summers with legendary NBA trainer Tim Grover of Attack Athletics prior to founding BluePrint Basketball. He credits Grover — Michael Jordan‘s trainer, among others — “as one of the best to ever do it” and those summers gave Roland the inspiration he needed to start his own company. Once in Miami he met Sumner through a mutual acquaintance of Heat guard Mario Chalmers. After working out with Sumner personally, Roland was convinced that a partnership could be formed as Sumner showed an ability to be sport-specific in his regimens. They were later joined by Da Silva through another mutual contact and the blueprint was created.

I caught up with Roland at the University of Miami’s training facility, where the company does most of its work with the players, where he explained the concept behind the name, “BluePrint,” and much more.

“The name to be honest, I’m a huge Jay-Z fan and of the Blueprint albums he made” Roland says. “The idea, the concept was on how to give guys the layout on how to be successful in the game of basketball. I want to keep it simple and really perfect what they do so its just automatic.”

Through Roland’s contacts around the league and with a little help courtesy of the NBA lockout, BluePrint Basketball opened with a bang on July 4, 2011, with Durant and Johnson as the first two players to train with the team.

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“I started out with those two guys and it just ballooned from there” Roland says, “’cause of my time in the NBA, my relationships, word of mouth, Twitter– the word really started to travel. Then the lockout was unbelievable for me because guys even on the Heat couldn’t go to their facilities and they knew me. So they came to train with me.”

The client list has grown to include many of the NBA elite like Kyrie Irving, James Harden, Serge Ibaka, and Rudy Gay along with numerous others. But, when asked which NBA player stood out the most in their work ethic the answer was eye-opening.

Damien Wilkins” Roland says with little hesitation, “He’s one of the hardest workers we had and just his mindset. I think it comes from his bloodline with his father and uncle playing in the league. He just really knows how to approach the game, he shows up on time and he gets it done.”

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Serge Ibaka

Serge Ibaka (photo. Mike Kaufman)

When questioned on what the players want to work on most, Roland says he is a firm believer in repetition and practicing in situations as close to a game as possible.

He then explained how he watches film on his clients beforehand, as one would expect a former video coordinator to do. By studying the film through his partnership with Synergy Sports, Roland can take a team’s actual plays or drills and run his clients through those repetitions in their sessions with BluePrint. He then proceeded to show me two Houston Rockets plays that he had Shaun Livingston working on over the summer.

But it wasn’t all talk with Roland during our visit. I witnessed him working out NBA veteran Morris Peterson, and second-year forward Derrick Byars. Both guys are hoping to catch on with a team before the end of training camp and most of Roland’s other clientele were already with their respective teams by the time of my visit.

On this day the focus was long-range shooting. Peterson and Byars ran curls and fades before receiving passes for a variety of mid-range and three-point jumpers. These were followed up with light running (down and back drills), then back to the jump shooting. This alternated with the intensity ramping up at each station until till they completed a full rotation around the arc from one corner to the other. It wasn’t the most intense day and yet both players were winded and satisfied with their hourlong workout before heading back into the 95 degree heat of Miami.

Roland told Peterson and Byars that he would see them tomorrow, to which they each gave an enthusiastic yet dog-tired head nod of assurance as if that was all they could summon the energy to do. “No days off” is the BluePrint slogan/catchphrase/mantra and it appeared both players had bought into that mantra in search of their next opportunity.

BluePrint Basketball boasts an impressive list of clients and is good standing with agents and coaches around the league despite not having its own facility. “I really want my own gym. Just one court and base everything out of there … hopefully in a year or two you come see me again and I have my own floor, that would be awesome.”

In just their first year of business, the trio of trainers have worked with the NBA Rookie of the Year, Sixth Man of the Year, and the runners-up to the MVP and Defensive Player of the Year. That’s a blueprint even Jay-Z could appreciate.

Is this what these stars should be doing?

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