Be willing to adjust your game

You may have a good way of doing things. Are you willing to adjust your methods to become great?

A lot of players have multiple things they are good at. Solid free throw shooting, decent assist to turnover ratio, and serviceable defense can make you a contributor for a team. A player should not settle for these things. Shooting free throws at 70 percent? You may have to take some expert advice and be willing to tweak your shot to get to 75 or 80 percent.

Especially when it comes to shooting, players are often too proud to admit that they need to adjust from their old way of doing things. There have been a few players that have made it far with unorthodox shooting motions, but few of them have been considered great shooters.

You could get away with funky shooting if you make up for it in other ways like say... Dwight Howard. But let's be honest, you likely aren't Dwight Howard.

Being able to step back and take advice from those who have played the game at a high level and closely monitored the successes and failures of other players a high levels - that is how you can improve.

To be a good or great player, you will need to be able to adapt to doing things the best way possible. Keeping a low, strong dribble will reap more rewards than dribbling loose and high. Being tall will help get rebounds, but working hard at pursuing and having a nose for angles will elevate your ability. Always be willing to improve.

We can always be average and just do what’s normal. I’m not in this to do what’s normal.
— Kobe Bryant

If you are already doing something your way or a prior mentor/coaches way at an impressive clip - that's great. A good trainer or coach can recognize that and allow you to keep doing your thing. However, if they advise you to tweak it slightly to improve consistency (like keeping your elbow in a bit more while you shoot), it can't hurt to listen and give it a legitimate try.

We may be biased, but results don't lie. The Basketball Movement is the premier training facility in this part of the country, with some of the best coaches and trainers. If you're already good, that's awesome - we love it. There is however an opportunity for you to become great and they would love to help you. Contact them here to take your game to the next level.

Anton Brookshire draws praise from NBA-level talent

Following the recent Alize Johnson Basketball Camp at The Basketball Movement, Anton Brookshire stood out to the NBA host.

Another Yanders Law standout from the recent Alize Johnson Camp at The Basketball Movement, Anton Brookshire turned some heads as he often does. This time, he caught the eye of the camp’s host, Missouri State alum and Indiana Pacer, Alize Johnson.

Johnson was great with the athletes of all ages at his camp, giving encouragement, challenging, and growing together on his already impressive basketball journey. Giving back to the communities that helped along the way is an important piece for professional players. In doing so, they are likely to come across some young ballers that they empathize with and connect to.

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“He reminds me of myself,” Alize said about Anton. “He is really humble and not necessarily trying to be big-time.”

This is high praise, especially for a player like Anton who doesn’t seek the spotlight. He simply gets in the gym every single day, trying to improve upon every facet of his game and become a leader on the court. With that, the spotlight will come, but to not seek it directly is an important key on his path.

Alize gave Anton several social media shoutouts and even offered to follow the first 100 people that went to follow his “little brother” Anton on Instagram. Again, Anton isn’t one for the spotlight, but these were cool moments for the young player.

He really knows who he is, which is big at that age - not everyone is like that. He knows he can have it all, but he doesn’t let that make him bigger than anyone. He can be a pro.
— Alize Johnson on Anton Brookshire

Often times, it takes a pro to know a pro, which should be an exciting prospect for Brookshire. It takes more than that though, and the work will not stop until a player is ready to hang it up. Luckily, we know Anton well enough that it is apparent he won’t stop. To have been on the grind so much already displays his dedication - something that will only grow as he inches closer to all of his goals as a player.

With the necessary drive and all the right tools, Anton Brookshire is well on his way to achieving all of his on-court goals. As a young man, he seems to already possess the qualities needed to be successful off the court as well.

We want to thank Alize Johnson for working with many of our athletes. Opportunities to learn from NBA-level talent means you had a chance to work with one of the best in the world. Props again to Anton for standing out in all the right ways. The best is still yet to come!

Zach Howell shows out at Alize Johnson Camp

The Basketball Movement recently hosted the Alize Johnson Basketball Camp, and Zach Howell showed out.

NBA player and Missouri State alum, Alize Johnson has long been an ally of The Basketball Movement, so it was a natural fit for him to host his summer camp there. An opportunity to learn from one of the best, the camp had a lot of players show up, including many familiar Yanders Law faces. Perhaps no one player showed up quite like Zach Howell.

There was a nice showing from area boys and girls in the 7th-12th grade camp. There were players of varying skill, but one of the clearest standouts was our own Zach Howell of Catholic High School here in Springfield.

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During drills, Zach was out-hustling many of the other players and stepping up to the plate to flawlessly execute many of the tougher drills. During scrimmage situations, he showed that he was not afraid to put a team on his back, raining terror from beyond the three point line. Oh, and he threw down some impressive dunks, during breaks as well.

Zach’s growth during his time with Yanders Law and working out with The Basketball Movement has been ongoing for some time, but appears to have really taken off as of late. He is coming off of a strong summer with us and will no doubt make plenty of varsity noise for Catholic this season.

We just wanted to give Zach a shoutout since he has clearly been putting in big time work on his game. We see you, young fella. Keep at it!

Yanders Law girls take Nike National Tournament

The Nike National Tournament of Champions has concluded, with the 15U Yanders Law Girl’s squad owning their tier.

Hosting many of the best teams in the country, the Nike National Tournament of Champions is not for the feint of heart. Taking place in Chicago, the tournament promotes competition at a high level. Cautiously optimistic, the 15U Yanders Law squad came into the tournament prepared, and just kept rolling.

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Being such a large tournament, the competition is broken up into tiers. Yanders Law was placed in the “Mid-Major” tier, which meant that it was right down the middle in terms of the level of play. The talent across all tiers should not be understated, as competitors at all levels came with their A-game.

Much like the big NCAA tournaments each year, things have to go just right to win every game and not get knocked out of contention. For Yanders Law, everything was clicking.

To go six and zero in such a fierce environment is not just luck. You need a plan and the ability and determination to execute that plan. Kudos to coaches Rob Yanders and Doug Arnold for making sure this team was equipped for the daunting task.

The championship game was down to the wire, making for a dramatic finish. Yanders Law was up 13 at the half, but the lead was cut back down to one as the game drew on. Mental toughness and team togetherness were the only things that could have helped in such a situation and these ladies exhibited that perfectly.

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Our 15U team members are: Avery Arnold (Blue Eye), Riley Arnold (Blue Eye), Makayla Johnson (Blue Eye), Rhianna Gibbons (Nixa), Ashlynn Leonard (Republic), Lyla Watson (Ozark), Ruthie Brown (Clever), and Kaylee Helton (Miller).

This marks the first national championship of any kind for our girls program. This accomplishment and this team will be at the forefront of what Yanders Law girls should look like moving forward. We are incredibly proud of this group of young ladies and all too excited to see what else they can accomplish in the future.

Yanders Law is nothing without its players, so thank you! Thanks as well to the parents, coaches, and everyone else that make successes like this one possible. #LawNation

Big season ahead for Deonte Burton

Yanders Law alum, Deonte Burton has a great shot at making even more of a splash this year in the NBA.

If Yanders Law posted and retweeted every big highlight from Deonte Burton’s NBA Summer Leage, G-League, or NBA moments, this would really just become a dedicated fan page. The man can jump, but we know he has the whole package required to crack the rotation for what is likely now a rebuilding OKC Thunder squad.

Burton signed a two-year contract with the Oklahoma City Thunder during the season last year because the organization recognized that they needed him available for their playoff push. Now, they have the opportunity to put Deonte on the court at will, and there is no reason they shouldn’t.

The Yanders Law vet is well-known for his ridiculous bounce and eye-popping dunks (we admit, we love that too), but there is so much more to being an NBA player,including intangibles that we know Deonte possesses.

Over time, he has become an incredibly hard worker, likely do to outside motivators such as his family that push him to be the kind of player that competes at the highest level. He has the timing and quick-jump ability needed to block shots, which is tough to teach. His defense overall will only continue to improve as he continues to matchup with elite talent. His outside shot is underrated as well.

Deonte Burton said before in an interview with Wil Harrington of The Basketball Movement that his time with Rob Yanders and Yanders Law helped him greatly with the mental side of the game.

That part of the game is really big. I’m physically gifted, but so are other people at this level. Discipline and hard work separates everyone.
— Deonte Burton

With the offseason departure of Paul George, the OKC Thunder are now sitting on a bunch of draft picks, looking to overhaul the roster to build towards the future. Whether it is now or even as late as December or so, they will likely even part ways with franchise cornerstone, Russell Westbrook.

Now without George or Jerami Grant to guard multiple positions, Oklahoma City will need some versatile players to fill the void. Perhaps some promising young talent that just needs minutes to show what he can do…

The future of the OKC Thunder organization is difficult to predict short or long-term. However, there certainly appears to be an opportunity for our guy Deonte Burton to get the minutes he needs to show the world what he can really do.

Hopefully that’s how things will shake out this year for our successful former player. We will be in his corner rooting for him the whole way as always, come what may. Good luck this season, Deonte and keep ripping Summer League to shreds!

Player profiles: Centers

We wrap up our player profiles series with the players that put the five in starting five - the center.

Whether your team has a true center or not, someone in the starting five is technically playing the "five spot". The whole team cannot hang out on the perimeter, so it falls to the center by default to set up shop in the paint.

Like the other positions that we have discussed, there is no specific way to approach playing the center position. The traditional thought is that the center of a team is its leading rebounder and best rim-protector. Most centers in today's game can do more than just swat shots and grab boards, but there are still plenty of prominent examples of traditional players that we will go over.

The best centers are often still great rebounders, but scorers as well. We will breakdown "all-around" centers below that can do a bit of everything on the court.

We will be going over former and current NBA centers, but it is worth noting that there are some great centers to watch today in the WNBA as well. Candace Parker and Brittney Griner come to mind with former player Lisa Leslie being another great one to watch.

Traditional centers to watch

For all the talk about traditional centers going away in the age of the three-point shot, there are still plenty of examples of excellent traditional centers in the game. There are three high-caliber examples that quickly come to mind: DeAndre Jordan, Rudy Gobert, and Andre Drummond.

Jordan is a tenacious defender and rebounder. His poor free throw shooting is offset by the way he uses his length on both ends of the floor to make an impact. Drummond is the player to watch if you need a free clinic on rebounding the basketball. Rudy Gobert may be the best interior defender in the world. Watch the Frenchman Gobert to learn how to use defensive length and footwork to protect the strong and weak side of the paint.

A few more current examples of traditional centers in the NBA are Steven Adams, Clint Capela, Dwight Howard, and Hassan Whiteside who all make their impact with defense, rebounding, and hustle.

Known for his defense and teamwork more than his scoring, Bill Russell may be the top traditional center in history. Film on Russell may be scarce, but his 11 championships and winning ways speak loudly for his style of play.

All-around centers

By now you may have noticed a trend with these player profiles. You can have plenty of success as a player that focuses on specific skills, especially at lower levels of the game. More often than not though, it is the players that can do a bit of everything on the floor that are often the best at their position.

Even players like Shaquille O'neal, that has every appearance of a traditional center is more well-rounded than he may get credit for. Despite his massive size, Shaq could run the floor, pass, and make shots from mid-range-in with surprising finesse. Another Lakers great, Kareem Abdul-Jabaar is arguably the best all-around center for his defense, rebounding, and peerless scoring ability.

The list of former all-around centers is pretty long and impressive, including names like Hakeem Olajuwon, Moses Malone, David Robinson, and Patrick Ewing.

A few current well-rounded centers that are quickly ascending are Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid. Jokic is a great center to watch for passing out of the post while Embiid is great to watch for his post moves and shot-blocking. An underrated, but well-rounded center to watch today is Al Horford.

Two more of the best all-around centers in the game, Karl-Anthony Towns and DeMarcus Cousins are certainly great players to study up on for improving centers. Just don't emulate Cousins' technical count.

That does it for our player profiles! Take note of these players to watch as great examples at their positions. Stay locked into Yanders Law as we continue to give you player tips!

Player profiles: Power forwards

An ever-evolving position, being a power forward today can mean a lot more than it did 10 or 20 years ago.

The name "power forward" comes from players at the four position being bruisers in the paint. Where the center position has balanced size and skill for many years, the PF spot traditionally meant a foul-prone post player that cleared out opposing players to hog rebounds and create driving lanes for others.

Today, that is no longer the case.

Players at the four spot can have a variety of skillsets and roles on a team. Today, stretch-fours that can shoot are as common if not more common than traditional post players.

You can be a stretch four or still carve out a role as a traditional, rebounding post player. Below we break out some current and former players at the highest level of the game for you to watch if you want to strive for either role.

Stretch-fours to watch

The concept of the stretch-four is not entirely new. Since at least the 90's there have been plenty of post players venturing out beyond the three point line. Many of them come from overseas as that has long been a staple of the European game. Likely the best power forward to do it is no exception.

Recently retired, Germany's Dirk Nowitzki is a stellar example of stretch-four. His use of his seven-foot frame allows him to shoot over the top of the defense from any distance. Though he is a fan of the three point shot, back-to-the-basket scoring ability has made him one of the most versatile scoring threats in basketball.

One of Springfield, MO’s personal favorites, Anthony Tolliver of the Minnesota Timberwolves is another excellent stretch-four example. The Kickapoo High grad has coupled his height with a shooting touch that has helped him on his way to a long and successful NBA career.

Kevin Love is a good example of a player that was rebounding and interior focused, but adjusted his game to expand his range. Playing alongside rim-attacker LeBron James meant more perimeter time for PF Love. He was hurt last season, but it will be interesting to see how his game shapes up next season with LBJ still in Los Angeles and the Cavs made up of young guns.

Traditional power forwards

Many of the best examples of traditional power forwards have since retired from the professional game. Debateably the top PF to have played was Tim Duncan. "The Big Fundamental" could extend his range if the moment called for it, but he stayed within himself and did most of his damage with hookshots, offensive put-backs, and short-range barrages. His shot blocking and excellent footwork make him one of the most well-rounded players that you could study today.

Duncan's "replacement" in San Antonio, LaMarcus Aldridge is a solid scoring PF to watch as well. He has gradually expanded his range, but his knack for timely rebounding and interior scoring make him a bit of a throwback big. For a more defensive-minded traditional four, check some footage of Kevin Garnett. A capable scorer, KG made his biggest impact by being a ferocious defender.

Some imposing physical power forwards to watch in today's game are : Derrick Favors, Blake Griffin, and Taj Gibson. Some throwback guys are Charles Oakley and the ultimate rebounding power forward, Dennis Rodman.

Keep in mind as you strive to become or improve upon being a power forward, that shooting is becoming more and more important. The way the game is played today requires almost all players on the floor to shoot unless you have a center that can hold down the paint on his own (Dwight Howard in Orlando, Clint Capela in Houston, Deandre Jordan in New York).

You can still be a strong, rebounding-focused four, but do not neglect the softer skills of the game such as shooting and passing out of the post. Remember to get with your coach or mentor to discuss your best fit!

Player profiles: Small forwards

Not too big, but not actually small, the small forward is the in-between guy or gal on a basketball squad.

The term small-forward is a bit of an oxymoron, at least at the highest levels of the game. To be a forward, you would naturally be a larger or more stout player. Depending on the lineup of your team, the small forward can be expected to play on the perimeter or occassionally down in the post depending on the flow of the game.

Often a "jack-of-all-trades" for a team, the role of a small forward is varied. Some may be scorers, others may be defenders, and many times they are asked to do a bit of everything.

With versatility being the name of the game, it is best for current or prospective small forwards to do their best to balance their entire game. If the two guards are locked down by a full-court press, it falls to the small forward to become the ball handler. If the two post player get locked up double-teaming in the post, it becomes the small forwards job to get in the paint to protect the weak side.

Most examples of small forwards to watch at the highest level of the game can do a bit of everything on the floor. We will still break it up a bit by scorers, defensive-minded, and Swiss Army Knife type players.

Scoring small forwards

In looking at starting small forwards in today's NBA, it is unusual to find many scorers that don't also make a substantial impact on the defensive end. Even Kevin Durant, who is perennially one of the top scorers in the world, stepped up his defense over the last couple of seasons, using his length to become a formidable shot-blocker. Still, he is a great one to watch for his ability to score in the post on out to the three point stripe.

Though he is currently without a team and starting to show signs of aging, Carmelo Anthony is a true example of a scoring small forward. His footwork, fadeaways, and nose for driving lanes make him a good example to emulate on the offensive end.

A few more examples are: Demar DeRozan, Rudy Gay, Tobias Harris, and Brandon Ingram. A former pure-scoring SF was Larry Bird. Larry Legend could do a bit of everything on the floor as well from passing to guarding multiple positions. However, post play and early adaptation of perimeter shooting made him a nightmare to guard at the small forward position. A few more are Tracy McGrady, Vince Carter, and Julius Erving.

Defensive-minded small forwards

Historically, Bruce Bowen of the San Antonio Spurs is one of the first defensive-minded small forwards that come to mind. Often pushing the limits with what he got away with, Bowen is still an excellent example of a defender at the small forward position - able to guard perimeter and post players alike. Really there are multiple players to examine from not that long ago; Scottie Pippin, Shawn Marion, and Metta World Peace (Ron Artest) are all standouts.

Also defensive-minded, but a bit more offensively capable than Bowen, current NBA player and former NBA Finals MVP Andre Iguodala is a tremendous example to watch today. Iguodala did some scoring and distributing for his former teams, but coming off the bench for the Warriors, he is allowed to focus on his specialty; defense. His defense on LeBron James and timely three point shooting is what landed him 2014-15 Finals MVP honors.

A few other examples of current small forwards are Jaylen Brown and Otto Porter Jr. Both of these players have carved out defensive roles on their teams, but are constantly working to enhance their scoring ability as well. P.J. Tucker is an example of a more pure defender.

One takeaway from defensive-minded small forwards is the players that established themselves as defense-first stars and then blossomed their offense later. Kawhi Leonard and Giannis Antetokounmpo both broke into the league with defense, but are now well-rounded superstars.

Swiss Army knife small forwards

The best small forwards are often the ones that can do it all. The ultimate do it all SF past or present has to be LeBron James.

LeBron entered the league already having great size and speed, allowing him to defend multiple positions. His ball-handling and scoring ability put him on par with any guard on the court. He developed a shooting touch as well, rounding him out as one of if not the best all-around players in the history of the game.

We have already touched on Durant, Antetokounmpo, and Leonard who are a few of the best all-around small forwards. Another Swiss Army knife SF that needs to be mentioned is Paul George.

Considered to be one of the best two-way players in the game, PG-13 is one of the top small forwards to watch on both ends of the floor. On defense, he knows when to have active hands vs. when to just use his body and size. On offense, he uses his whole repitoire to score when the defense forces him either out of the paint or off of the three point line.

Gordon Hayward of the Boston Celtics is another example of a good two-way SF, with former Celtic Paul Peirce being a prime example as well. Pierce was known for his scoring, but his underrated defense was fueled by his competitive fire. Some good examples from a little further back would be Chris Mullen and Dominique Wilkins.

If you need some small forwards to watch and mold your game after, the above players should provide you with a great starting point!