Summer School: Andre Drummond on Conditioning

Drummond soaking up lessons on, off court as camp nears

Andre Drummond getting a workout in at the Pistons practice facility.
Pistons photo
Growing up in Connecticut and going to a boarding school, St. Thomas More, where I could walk to class, I never really felt I needed to drive anywhere. So I never got my driver’s license. I knew that had to change when I came to Detroit. So I got my driver’s license last week. I’ve known how to drive since I was 15 – never on the streets, but in parking lots or somewhere private. I’ve been catching rides to the practice facility with Kim and Khris, my teammates, and Khris lives just down the street from me. I guess I can start to give him a ride sometimes now.

It’s been a good summer for me. The Las Vegas camp I went to with Greg and Brandon was great. It was a learning experience for all of us. We went out there and learned something new every day. It was like being in a classroom – we broke the game down every single day. We did a lot of drills during the day and at night we’d play basketball. There was no media, nobody watching us – it was real, hard-core basketball.

I know Greg said I was “a beast” on the boards out there, but I was just playing hard. That’s all. I played hard and he noticed how hard I was playing. I’m glad he noticed and I think we’ll be a good combination together this year. We played on the same team in Vegas. It’s fun to play with Greg. We play high-low – he can go high, I can go low, then I go high and he’ll go low. We’re interchangeable bigs.

It was amazing how much terminology we started to learn out there and how many new things there are to basketball that I learned – how to play in certain spots on the floor and getting myself into scoring position and different kinds of moves to get to the basket easier. I learned so many different things. There were a lot of coaches from other NBA teams at the camp. For them to share information that they give to their players, it was a great experience for me. I picked up pointers that will make me a better player both offensively and defensively.

Now that I’m back in Detroit, I’ve been working on a lot of conditioning things with Arnie Kander, a lot of running up and down. He’s really helping me out. Everybody knows how Arnie is – he breaks down the littlest things. He’s breaking down my entire game so I can became the great molded player he wants me to be.

We’re doing a lot of running up and down the court, maintaining my full speed and then come right into a jump shot or go full speed and come right into a free throw. He’s working on my running form. He knows I’m really fast, but I wasn’t running right. He told me that once I run the right way, I’ll be one of the fastest players there is. He has me working on extending my arms. I need to get more of a range of motion with my arms and keep my hands up higher instead of keeping them down by my waist when I run.

I definitely feel like I’m getting stronger. I’m more balanced now when I’m moving around just from the way Arnie has taught me to move and to stand. We did some work on weights in college, but not like what we do here. Don’t get me wrong – UConn has a great weightlifting program and it’s a fabulous facility and everything. But I didn’t really have an off-season program there because I didn’t enroll until so late. So this is really new to me and really helping me out a whole lot.

We’ve been working a lot on free throws, too. Arnie says my mechanics are fine as of right now. He said I don’t need to change anything. He just tells me to relax and shoot my shot. There’s nothing wrong with my shot – it’s my confidence in my shot, not the shot. It’s about relaxing and being able to repeat the same motion over and over.

I also spent a long weekend in New Jersey with my teammates Kim, Khris and Kyle at the rookie orientation. That was excellent. It was a great experience for everybody. We learned a whole lot. Everybody thought it was going to be boring, kind of slow days, but I learned a lot throughout the day. The different seminars were really good. I really appreciated them. I didn’t even realize we were in the room that long. We’d walk out and it was like, dang, we were in there all day!

I knew four or five of the speakers because they came to the NBA Players Association camp that I had played at when I was in high school. Tony Gaskins, I’ve been friends with him since I was in high school. He was a great football player and made a couple of poor decisions and now he’s turned his whole life around.

Fab Melo, who went to Syracuse, he’s my guy. I hung with him some, with Jared Sullinger, Quincy Acy, Perry Jones, Draymond Green, Jared Cunningham … that was the last time we’re going to be getting together as friends. Once the season starts, we become enemies.

Now that we’re into September, more and more of my teammates are going to be coming to join our workouts at the practice facility and then training camp will start in less than a month. I’m in pretty good condition now, so that won’t be an issue for me at all. I’m just going to work my hardest and be ready. Whatever coach tells me to do, that’s what I’m going to do.