There are two words used in sports just about everyday. There often used as props or for show. These words are often used to tell or create a narrative about a player. We see these two words on social media everyday. These words can make for great fiction, if you say them enough..GRIND AND COMMITMENT…. BRIANNA CAMAJ of Katonah, NY in Westchester understands actions speak louder than words.
Brianna Camaj goes to St. Francis Prep in NYC, I am very familiar with prep. I grew up 15 mins from the school. I also know it’s the home of some of the best players in the state of New York. It’s a place where nothing is given and everything is earned. It’s a place where killers reside and the competition in practice is ferocious on a daily bias. It’s a school with a roster full of P5 and D1 players going to schools like West Virginia and Xavier. Its for all these reasons Brianna Camaj gets up every morning at 5:00am to take the long ride to Queens, NY. Brianna Camaj understands the commitment is real and the grind is real. She knows this… because she lives it everyday.
I met Brianna Camaj two years ago. If the truth be told, I have no idea how she ended up at NBS. I knew nothing about her except that she appeared to be a nice kid. Her father would drop her off and disappear, only to return to pick her up after her session. I knew from watching her that she was very talented. I knew she would fit in well at NBS because she was hard worker. She had a great body, could shoot the ball and was tough as nails. I also assumed she was from New Jersey. She didn’t talk much and neither did her father. They’d come in and say hi and then leave and say goodbye…just the way I like it. It was only this fall did I come to understand what Brianna and her dad were doing. One day she came to NBS and I was not happy with her energy level. I jumped on her hard about her effort. I could see the tears swell up in her eyes. I pretended I didn’t see them and made her run. Then when the session was over she said “sorry, I will be ready tomorrow”. I said fine and asked her why she was so tired. It was then I understood why Brianna CamJ is my kind of kid.
Brianna Camaj told me that day she didn’t get home until midnight on Friday because she at a workout in Queens. I didn’t think that was much of an excuse until she told the entire story. Like she drove 2 hours to Queens back and forth. Then she told me she had to be get up at 7am to be at NBS. Because it takes over two hours and she likes to do both sessions of NBS. Her session starts at 11 but likes to get there for the 9am session as well. It was then I knew her commitment level. I had no idea she and her dad drove over 2 hours one way to attend NBS every weekend. So it’s no surprise she is doing the same thing in order to attend St. Francis Prep. Brianna Camaj understand to be the best, you have to play against and with the best.
Now Brianna Camaj is going to be a Division one player. Thats as clear as day to anyone who has seen her play, but this is not what this about. She plays AAU for the Philly Belles and Mike Flynn. What this is about is The Grind and the Commitment. You see Camaj could’ve stayed in her hometown and scored a ton of points. She could be playing against bad competition and getting stats. She could be another in a long list of kids bragging on social media. Putting up videos and flossing about scoring 40 points against weak competition. But that’s not who she is. It’s why she comes to NBS and often finds herself not on the main court or not in the top groups at times, yet shows up every week and never says a word. Do you know how many good players come to NBS, only to never be seen again once they find out there are not on the main court? Too many to list…It’s why she comes off the bench at St. Francis Prep and doesn’t say a word. Why? Because Brianna Camaj knows, this way is better, rather than fooling herself; like so many kids do these days…. her GRIND AND COMMITMENT IS NOT TALK ITS …REAL TALK
BRIANNA CAMAJ sees real competition everyday. Her friend Spin Cycle is a freshman at St. Francis Prep. She tells me stories about her and brags, she is as good as anyone at NBS. She talks about how her team is ranked #3 in the entire state. By the way Christ the King is Ranked #8. She takes great pride in her teammates. She brags how friend Spin Cycle and her dad are so supportive of her. She brags about how nice her teammates are toward her. She loves her coach and can’t believe her good fortune But don’t get it twisted because Brianna Camaj is ultra competitive. You don’t think she is doing all this for shit’s and giggles, did you? I have seen her get into the pushing and jawing at NBS. I have seen the hard fouls given and taken; and the stare downs. I have no problem at all with it. It goes to a players competitive nature. I remember once when things got a little out of control one day. I asked her what was going on? She said “I know she is a big time player( talking about the P5 player) but I am not just letting her push me around. I’m trying to win too!”…Now do you understand the grind? I saw her dad who rarely watches her session out the corner of my eye. I can tell he was a little shook up. I told him I would speak to the young lady. He said “please don’t, it’s what we come her for” You see Mark Camaj’s grind is real as well. He is not interesting in protecting or hiding his kid.
One day Brianna was upset with her shot. She was crying because she couldn’t find time to shoot during the day. So we sat down and discussed it and came up with a quick daily shooting program. We then sit up a shooting session for the next day…after 4 hours of NBS. We shot and shot, she smiled and smiled. Then her dad smiled because he understands her passion and commitment. She was smiling because she was dropping buckets. It not often a kid who is talented as Brianna, can grind the way she can and make the sacrifices she does. Like playing time as a freshman, parties and sleep. Brianna doesn’t need phony hype, she just needs to get better to be happy.
It’s that time of year now, when kids across the country are being rewarded for their hard work. I often say everyone works hard. There is nothing special about that, why brag about working hard. That doesn’t separate you from others. What separates you is when you do something special. Like make the long trips every weekend. Like go play against the best competition. Like work and not be afraid to play with other talented players. In a time where everyone is on social media bragging about their grind and commitment. While so many are looking for attention and a pat on the back. While others use the words like Commitment and Grind like a punch line. Brianna Camaj just keeps grinding and making real sacrifices. She doesn’t have time to talk about her grind and commitment on twitter, snap chat or instagram. …. because BRIANNA CAMAJ’S COMMITMENT AND GRIND is as real as it gets…AND SHE LIVES IT EVERY MORNING AT 5AM!
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