Brooks, Durant Put Young Fans Through Basketball Clinic
ORLANDO -- Thunder Head Coach Scott Brooks and forward Kevin Durant visited Orlando's Orange County Convention Center on Sunday to put on a coaching clinic at the State Farm Smart Court in front of more than 100 fans, many of whom were wearing Durant's Oklahoma City Thunder and Western Conference All-Stars jerseys. The NBA has been holding Jam Session at the Convention Center all weekend and it has been the host of events ranging from the Celebrity All-Star Game to the D-League All-Star game. Today, Brooks and Durant spent their morning teaching a lucky group of 16 fans the basics of pick-and-roll offense.
"It was great to be around the game of basketball," Brooks said. "It’s such a great sport, so many things that have to happen for it to work and when you have a group of young kids that are eager and interested in the game, it gets you excited about it. And then I had Kevin Durant helping me. There couldn’t be a better helper than KD."
Brooks seemed in his element as the cheering crowd looked on and he was able to focus in on the young fans who were taking part in the drills. Brooks started off by showing one young boy, who was barely taller than Durant's waist, how to execute a proper screen. From high screen-and-rolls at the top of the key to the principles of the drive-and-dish off the pick-and-roll, Brooks and Durant were able to demonstrate the proper way to find teammates on different parts of the floor for open shots within an NBA offense.
“Even as a player, I always felt that I was a coach on the floor,” Brooks said. “Now that I’m coaching I feel like I have an obligation to continue to get better myself and get my team better and also help the game of basketball. It has done so much for myself and my family, it’s an honor and a privilege to give back. Our organization is constantly giving back and it’s great for all of us.”
Between installations of offensive plays with different groups of smiling fans, Brooks took the opportunity to break down film of real NBA plays on a video board with each group. The highlight reel included Thunder plays against the Portland Trail Blazers and the San Antonio Spurs in addition to plays featuring other NBA teams that Brooks broke down with a digital marker. As Durant and each group of four fans looked on, Coach Brooks acted the part of basketball professor, highlighting the objectives of each play and the execution by each player.
“It’s great when you have good clips,” Brooks said. “The tough ones are when you don’t have the good clips and it gets a little dicey at times. But we have a good group of guys that love watching film. They love to get better. We have opportunities throughout the year to watch film. We also like to put it on the board and demonstrate it. State Farm today gave us a great opportunity, a great venue to really show what NBA basketball pick-and-rolls are all about.”
Throughout the event, Durant gave high-fives to the fan participants and congratulated them on made baskets. Afterwards he signed autographs and mingled with fans who couldn't believe the three-time All-Star spent the morning playing basketball with them and showing them the most important features of the game of basketball on the offensive end. Every time Durant soared in for a dunk or knocked down a deep jump shot the crowd gave a roar. During the event, Brooks praised Durant's work ethic and skill level in hopes of helping the fans on hand understand just how difficult and how much effort goes into reaching the level Durant has, in addition to the level to which the two-time scoring champion hopes to ascend.
“One thing I wanted to deliver is how hard Kevin works,” Brooks said. “The thing about Kevin is he makes it look so easy. We kind of sometimes, even myself, we take it for granted, but the young man works extremely hard. He is so dedicated to our team. The dedication that he shows every day is pretty impressive. We want the fans to see how hard he works. We were running middle pick-and-roll and side pick-and-roll. There are a lot of things that have to happen to make that play work, but you have to have good players to understand and look for their teammates for open shots.”