On Weekends before NBS starts there is always one car in the parking lot waiting for me. In that car sits the hardest working Senior in New Jersey, Abby Ferguson. She jumps out of her car hustles in the gym and shoots before anyone else arrives. She gets a full hour of shots up before NBS starts. It’s been that way for Abby Ferguson just about every day these days. I honestly believe, she has a real fear of someone, somewhere, out there, outworking her one day.. stop worrying, it’s not going to happen young lady. I call what Abby Ferguson is doing …GETTING TO THE FINISH LINE. It’s the hardest thing for seniors to do after the process of reaching their goals of playing basketball at the next level.

Often I hear seniors say these words, “there’s not enough competition” or there is not good enough competition in high school or their training environment. I always laugh inside when I hear those words. That’s because what many seniors don’t understand is that, they are now the competition. It’s a time for them to lay down the hammer and show their true competitive nature. You would be shocked at the number of seniors who fail in this area. That’s because as I told you getting to the finish line is oh so hard. kids get injuries, get lazy, have academic and social issues. For every Christina Danella, Kelly Campbell and Abby Ferguson’s of the world. There are 100’s of seniors who won’t cross the finish line this year. They will arrive on a college campus hoping and praying. But secretly knowing they didn’t cover all the bases. They changed along the way after that dream came true. The ego and outside distractions at times took away their focus. The energy, fun or passion was not there. Maybe the sense of urgency was missing. What does missing one practice, one workout really mean in the grand Scheme of things, they rationalize along the way. The finish line is not a easy thing to get too folks!

I ask players all the time, do you know what’s important to you game game your development? Do you know your identity as a player? Do you work the way you did when you were in 7th and 8th grade? Do you STILL wake up and do all the things that made you the player you are today? or have you changed? Why have you changed? Do you skip your workouts now occasionally, not often just once in awhile? Do you leave your training earlier not often just occasionally? You see that all comes down to getting to the finish line for a senior. I wish I could tell seniors it easy. But the fact of the matter is it’s not. That’s because getting to the finish line involves so much more hard work before a player gets to college.

High School players moving to college simply cannot understand the difference between college and high school. There parents cannot understand. There is no way for a player to be totally prepared for college regardless of the level of play. The speed, intensity, the physical strength and coaching are a major adjustment. Recently I told two kids who are moving on to D1 schools. You would not not play a second at those colleges if you had to play a game today. I can assure you, they didn’t believe me. That’s because they don’t understand the difference in level of play. It’s why so many kids struggle as freshman in college. It’s why so many kids are in the portal, because they simply cannot get to the finish line. They cannot maintain that work ethic of a scared baby with hopes and dreams.

Many kids start preparing for the next level after their senior year of high school. Unfortunately that is a mistake that is made to often. Kids forget that college players are in college preparing everyday. The very college players they have to compete with for playing time one day. A players preparation starts now, long before their high school season ends. Some kids simply run out of time before college and can’t get to the finish line because it took them to long to get started or they simply didn’t understand the process.

There is another reason seniors can’t get to the finish line, it something called …LIFE! When kids get older, here is what often happens. They get a life. They think they’ve learned how to work smarter, they start to take shortcuts. Then they start to do all those things they never had a chance to do in the past. Kids discover their is more to life than being in a gym 3-4 hours a day with a basketball. They discover they enjoy lifting weights more for looking good and maybe even for health reasons more than for basketball reasons. They finally can enjoy playing pickup more than grinding or shooting for hours. They finally can enjoy going to the movies, going to dinner, seeing friends and spending quality time with family and friends . In other words, they enjoy sleeping in the next day, something they never dreamed of years ago. I like to say as kids get older they become Civilized, human beings ..LOL and well rounded people. It also may be the reason a kid doesn’t make it to the finish line, if their not careful.

Kids like Abby Ferguson are special because as we know there are no promises. There are many kids who get to the finish line who don’t play at the next level. Just like there are kids who don’t make it to the finish line and have great careers at the next level. But I like a kids chances who works today, the same way they did the day picked up a basketball. These kids for some strange reason, you never ever see in the portal. That’s because they are at worst, great for a programs culture. They also always seem to get better every year and can always overcome adversity. That’s because they know how to and can finish💪🏀

So my message to all the seniors. Stay on you grind and understand it’s better not to change now. It better to start doing more now, not less. Train, work and play as if nobody knows your name and if you do… YOU’LL GET TO THE FINISH LINE!


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