DUNCANVILLE, Texas (KDAF) — Before the NBA draft and the blockbuster picks are made, the top prospects in the world made their way to the Dallas area – this time for the first NBA sanctioned combine in Texas.
In mid-May, the DFW Metroplex attracted some of the most talented prospects in the world.
“We have some guys from different parts of Africa and Europe,” Veteran basketball player and Camp Director Ty Ellis said. “They all have that dream. Everything big is Texas. Why not bring the biggest combine outside of the Chicago pre-draft right here in Dallas, Texas. It’s easy to fly into, travel out of. It’s a perfect scenario for us. The talent, the buy-in from the agents and players has been awesome.”
For young players, a newly NBA-sanctioned combine means another shot to show case their game – while being streamed live around the world.
“Getting these guys seen who might not be seen anywhere else or might not be invited to other combines or workouts for teams,” NBA legend and coach at the combine, Mike Bibby said. “They have video of these guys they can hand it out and they want to see players. They can hand them out so I think it’s great for the kids.”
Bibby coached Team 1 with up-and-comers like Royce Hamm Jr.
“I know the game pretty well,” Bibby said. “Just trying to give them some input on what I see that they may need to work on or in-game stuff they need to work on.”
Bibby was able to offer guidance and motivation to the young ballers like top prospect Hamm junior – highly-touted vets like Bibby and Mike Thorne coached each team.
“That was huge to have Mike Bibby as our coach,” Hamm Jr. said. “He picked our brains all weekend letting us know little intels on situations if we’re playing too fast or slow. Had us at unbelievable pacing. Clearly worked because we were able to win two games.”
“Just the little details about the rules and how you play defense in different situations,” he said. “Just leadership and talking, always being competitive every single minute.”
But young bucks were also able to level with the vets while in Duncanville.
“You got millions of kids trying to play basketball,” There are about 400 people in the world who get to do it. It’s not as easy as people think. When they get out there, they usually see just the good parts – don’t see all the work they put in behind closed doors. How you have to be a role model – keep your name clean. Things like that.”
Ellis advised young ballers to stay focused.
“Everything between your ears,” Ellis said. “The physical attributes goes without saying. It’s all mental. Professional sports is a lonely business. You’re playing for your livelihood. These guys are all coming out of college so it’s like a brotherhood. Professional sports is a business and you are a brand.”
Pete Michael is a co-founder of the NTX combine and a former Dallas maverick. creating that sort of environment has been Pete’s vision for the tournament and bringing it to the metroplex.
“These kids come here, their hotel, food and flight is paid for,” Michael said. “Just come out and put on a good show. I could watch this all day. We know North Texas loves basketball. It makes it a bigger event. Something to do in May with great weather, come out and enjoy basketball. Come see the future players of today. There are three or four players that’ll be drafted out of this combine.”
Pete says the combine is in the area to stay.
“I think it’s a great fan base,” Michael said. “Frisco is Sports Town, USA. I believe that from living there, I know they’ll support this event, whether it’s here in Duncanville, whether it’s in prosper, McKinney. I do plan to move this north to McKinney, Frisco.”
This is not likely the last NBA-sanctioned combine in North Texas. For Mavs fans, that just means more basketball.