What a pro player looks like

In Basketball, Blog
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I was at the Milwaukee Bucks practice facility the week after Thanksgiving. If you follow me on Instagram or Snapchat (@drebaldwin on both), you saw the inside of the facility. In a word, it’s immaculate.

I’ve been working with the GLeague (formerly the DLeague before Gatorade sponsorship) this season and meeting a lot of the players. Since A lot of players ask me about playing in the pros, I want to share with you what I’ve seen and what you should be considering.

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  1. Watch a GLeague game in full, not just the highlights. Where do you see yourself fitting in and contributing? In other words, which player could you replace and do his job? If you can’t answer, you have work to do. A lot of work.
  2. Every player can run, jump, shoot and dribble. The game is fast-paced. The players are all strong and physically developed. Any “skinny” player compensates with super-athleticism.
  3. Unless you’re a “big” who’s dunking all the time, if you cannot make an open 3 Point shot, forget about it. You won’t be playing, and probably won’t be on a team.
  4. Every player I’ve met has either NCAA D1 experience or is international. That doesn’t mean a D2, D3, NAIA or whatever else player can’t make it. It just means you have a different set of rules if you’re gonna make it. The different rules make it much harder for you. Just the facts.
  5. I’m 6’4”. No team has had more than one player shorter than me. Most of them have zero. Again, doesn’t mean it’s impossible for you. Means you better not have any weaknesses.
  6. Every GLeague player took a pay cut compared to what he’d make overseas. Translated: These players are hungry.
  7. The GLeague is adding new teams next year; I’m sure they’ll have 30 clubs by 2020. That’s more opportunities for everyone.
  8. I’ve met one player who made a roster from a local or national tryout. The rest were “known” guys based on their college resumes. See #4 above.
  9. I’ve been told that maybe 2 or 3 players make the league from the National Tryout. Hey, that’s a higher probability than zero.

Maybe some of what you’ve read discourages you. If so, you may want to reconsider your professional ambitions. Or step your training up. When I graduated school, a D3, there were less than half the current 26 GLeague teams. And no open tryouts.

Information, observations and opinions are neutral. You determine what they mean to you. I felt I should share  these with you so you know what you’re up against. The pro basketball world is fun once you’re in it (most of the time). It can be rough getting into it. Let this message be your reminder.