Here is the fifth installment of De La Salle (Concord, Calif.) basketball coach Frank Allocco's experiences at the Nike High School Elite Camp in Shanghai, China. He was asked to lead the camp, along with Archbishop Mitty (San Jose, Calif.) coach Tim Kennedy and Harvey Kitani, of Fairfax (Los Angeles, Calif.).See Day 1, Day 2, Day 3
, Day 4By Frank AlloccoSHANGHAI —
The 2014 Nike Elite High School Basketball Camp ended today with an exciting all-star game conducted at Nike's brand new Asia-Pacific headquarters. The Nike facility is pristine and beautiful with offices, workout facilities and a full-sized gym that promotes the proper balance of work and recreation. Many of the employees of Nike-Asia stopped in to watch our outstanding high school players compete in a hotly contested game.
Pre-game action saw all of the players, coaches, and staff taking photos of the Nike facility and the participants and coaches in the camp. Right before the 10 a.m. game, the top 18 players in camp were introduced to rousing applause and cheers from the cheerleaders, other players, coaches, and Nike employees. It was a great environment. Imagine, cheerleaders at a camp basketball game!
The game was a hotly contested one with Team Elite, coached by Harvey Kitani and Tony Dorado (former Moreau Catholic coach) getting out to a big lead. Camp MVP and outstanding point guard, Chen Huai-An, had Elite off and running as he led the fast break to perfection. Team Swoosh coached by Tim Kennedy and I hung in there and battled on the boards, eventually closing the gap to five at halftime.
The intermission featured a three-point contest won by Jing Haoyang from ShanDong Province. I had the pleasure to coach the 6-foot-4 guard all week and he is a fine player with an amazing attitude. As the halftime festivities ended and the game resumed, Elite went on another run and extended their lead to 15-plus points before Swoosh battled back on the boards and eventually took a three-point lead with less than two minutes to go. After some clutch finishes around the hoop, Team Elite took back control and had a three-point lead with three seconds to go. Our inbounds play manufactured a three-pointer, but our shot was off the mark and Team Elite closed out the game with a 73-70 victory.
The players and coaches were all smiles as the game ended and the All-Star game first team and camp MVP were announced. The basketball skills and brotherhood that was developed this week was truly outstanding. Amazing, how the incredible game of basketball can bring kids and adults together to share such a unique and memorable basketball experience.
Later this week, 12 of the boys will be notified that they have made the travel team that will represent China in an international basketball tournament this winter. The Chinese players and coaches left the camp eager to return to their Provinces and high school teams, ready to share the skills and drills they learned in a great week of fellowship and competitive play.
At the conclusion of an intense week of skill development, each of the United States coaches spoke to all of the players and coaches assembled. Each American coach gave their evaluation and observations of the skills that the players must develop to achieve their full potential. My message was centered on "communication is concentration."
The players must communicate to increase their concentration and focus on the task at hand. Coach Kennedy's message was to improve "body language;" to look and act like a champion despite any adversity they encounter on the court. Coach Kitani's final words were on "playing hard" and being coachable. The campers must give their best effort in every drill and in every situation.
The love, admiration and mutual respect developed over the course of this phenomenal week is something that I will always remember. It was sad to say goodbye to our new Chinese friends, but I left the Nike gymnasium with a proud smile, confident that all players and coaches created special memories and friendships that will be treasured forever.
"There is a destiny that makes us brothers, no one walks their path alone. All that we put into the lives of others comes back into our own."