Catching Up With Christian Laettner

Catching Up With Christian Laettner

John Focke with Christian Laettner

John Focke: We are very pleased to be joined right now by Christian Laettner former member of the Minnesota Timberwolves and now returning to the organization to help out with summer camps throughout the season. Christian let's start off with, well we haven't heard from you in awhile, what's been going on these last couple years? I know that you've been very busy in helping to train young athletes and putting on camps and clinics yourself.

Christian Laettner: Well, my last year was 04-05 with the Heat and I relaxed for a few years and I said, 'Well, what am I going to do?' I've got to do my passion and my passion is basketball. The thing I know the best that comes easy to me is basketball, so I started a Christian Laettner Basketball Academy about a year ago, and I've been having so much fun doing it that I'm just expanding it and trying to get more and more business. I've been to Bay City, Michigan, I've been to Savannah, Georgia, I've been down to Tampa and Orlando, so I'm just having a lot of fun with it and over the winter I saw that the Timberwolves have a lot, like 15 summer camps throughout the summer. I just looked it up on the internet and I decided to give the guy a call, Steve Brown, and Steve was really interested in getting me involved, especially this year with the potential of the lockout.

John Focke: So, looking at your camps and then possibly what you're going to be doing this summer with the Timberwolves. What should kids who are interested in coming to these camps expect to learn from you and the rest of these counselors are the different camps?

Christian Laettner: Hopefully they'll be able to take four, five or six drills that they need to be working on everyday three times a week if they want to improve in basketball. Over the past year I have been able to develop four or five critical drills that will help kids, especially at a young age like 15 to help them improve their skill level. It's very important to know how to dribble and pass and catch and cut at a very high level if you want to be a good basketball player. I teach a lot of passing and cutting and we work on not dribbling the ball so much. All the kids that are coming to my camp should realize they're going to learn to play the game of basketball without dribbling too much.

John Focke: Looking back at your summers spent when you were growing up and just how critical summer is in a time to develop your basketball skills, because once you get into the season there's not that much time to practice, is there?

Christian Laettner: Well, there's not too much time to extra practice and extra work, because you're on your high school team or your middle school team and that coach keeps you pretty busy. Hopefully, in the summer they're on an AAU team, but if you're a young kid who wants to get better at basketball, geez you should be doing it every day. I know I used to play basketball every day, whether it was for fun with my older brother or if it was organized basketball on teams. I was going to two or three camps every summer to make sure I was getting a lot of basketball in.

John Focke: You know I've talked to Steve Brown about this before, but the great thing about Timberwolves camps and your camps as well is it's not just the weeklong camp. You got to these camps, you learn some things and then you take drills like you said, a couple of drills away from those camps that you can develop throughout the summer and work on, on your own and by yourself. It's extremely important to not just think about the camp for five days, but as something you can do all the time to continue to develop your skills.

Christian Laettner: Well, I try to stress that to the kids - to the campers, obviously, but it's really good when I'm able to stress it to the parents, because parents are critical in a child's development - in an athlete's development - saying to the kids, 'Are you doing what you learned at camp? Are you doing what Christian Laettner taught you? Are you doing what your coach is teaching you?' You know, if the kid's got a hoop in their driveway I'm hoping and I'm praying that they're taking what I'm teaching them at camp. I'm hoping that they're taking it home and working on it by themselves.

John Focke: Well, it should be a lot of fun coming up this summer, but before we let you go just your thoughts on returning here to Minnesota and joining up with this Minnesota Timberwolves organization. Are you excited about the upcoming summer and the chance to reconnect with Timberwolves fans and the organization?

Christian Laettner: Of course I am. I loved my time in Minnesota. I loved it so much that I lived up there until 1999. I married a girl from Mound, Minnesota and we're up there every summer. So, I love coming up there. I'm really looking forward to reconnecting with some of the Timberwolves organization, but the main thing is giving back to the community and giving back to the kids of the area, the basketball players of the area and being able to spread some of my basketball knowledge to these kids in the area, so they can develop and become better players.

John Focke: Well, great to have you back in the organization Christian and thank you so much for your time.

Christian Laettner: Thank you.
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