When the vacations â€“ according to Brandon Jennings‘ Twitter, he really needs one â€“ and time away from NBA action ends for the League’s top ballers, they need a place to get some burn before training camp starts. For those who prefer to have something a little more elite than the local knee brace and elbow pad runs at the YMCA, they head to Bradenton, Fla., and IMG Academies.
IMG not only oversees a powerhouse prep program â€“ including a current varsity squad that features Stanford-bound Dwight Powell â€“ they also regularly work out guys like Chauncey Billups, Kevin Martin, Vince and other members of the Orlando Magic. With the NBA Draft quickly approaching in June, the team over at IMG is going to be overtaken with pre-draft workouts and preparations. Recently, I was able to catch up with the program’s PR Coordinator, and long-time Dime reader, Dan Tierney for issue #56 to get the dish on what’s been going down lately in Bradenton.
Every player from those catching burn in the League to those more worried about splinters on the freshmen squad has room to improve his or her game. If you’re truly serious about developing your skills as an athlete both on and off the court â€“ all while chilling on the South Florida coast â€“ then there’s a spot for you at IMG Academies.
Since the mid-1980’s, IMG Basketball has built itself into an elite destination for budding student athletes and devoted hoopers from across the globe. With individualized training regiments, collegiate scouting reviews and an array of complementing tools for players (including nutrition, communication and mental training) the Academy is anything but a normal training center.
“It’s not just a one size fits all training program where you go in there and just do bench presses or you just have them running sprints,” says Dan Tierney, the Academy’s PR Coordinator. “Our coaches not only teach kids on a daily basis, but they’ve literally worked with players at every level of the game. They’ve seen what works and how you can teach a middle school kid one way and how you teach a pro another way. Just what makes them successful.”
The Academy does house full-time students at every age from 14-22, but IMG is much more than just an athletic boarding school â€“ although as Tierney says, the school is the core of the program. It also boasts a professional set of training facilities and staff that attracts a growing crop of upper-echelon talent. Everyone from All-Stars like Vince Carter and Chauncey Billups to young guns like Jrue Holiday and Nick Calathes has taken advantage of what IMG can offer. When players come onto campus, they are put through workouts with trainers and coaches tailored to fit the specific individual’s game, instructed on using better communication habits and fed a set of nutritious meals throughout the day.
“Essentially, we are just trying to prepare kids for the next level in what they want to do in life,” says Tierney. The facility, which rests on over 350 acres of land in Bradenton, Fla., contains two full courts and an elite-level weight room attached to the building. Each student that attends IMG full-time will have a regimented academic and workout schedule to follow for every day of the week. Students attend classes on campus, practice with both a team and with solo coaches, and are ultimately put on the highest display level for collegiate and professional recruiters. But what Tierney asserts as the golden gem of IMG, something that separates it from its training counterparts, is its cultural appeal.
“The defining characteristic of what we have here is just the overall global atmosphere,” adds Tierney. “You have kids born in 80 countries that go to school here and they’re all playing different sports, they all come from different backgrounds. So everybody kind of meshes here and matures and learns more about the world.”
Fundamentally, IMG is an ideal destination for anyone who wants to regain focus on their personal goals and develop organizational skills both in the classroom and on the hardwood. The Academy fosters an environment for players to learn, adapt and grow their game, while still placing a major emphasis on a great education.
If you are interested in stepping up your game or street cred on the court, then hit up Tierney and his crew at www.imgacademies.com and keep hoopin’.
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