Do You Have What It Takes To Be An Elite Basketball Player?

Published: 2021-01-05

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For today’s topic, Coach Carter joins SportsEdTV’s Mark Strickland and Jaki Goldner about what it takes to be an Elite Basketball player. From the talent, to the mindset and work ethic, Cedric and Mark have years of experience not only being elite athletes, but training elite athletes of all ages as well.

Founder and owner of one of the premier training facilities in Toronto, Ontario, Galaxy Training, Cedric has worked with basketball players on all levels. These players include Cory Joseph (NBA), Tyler Ennis(NBA), Thon Maker (NBA), Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (NBA), Jevohn Shepherd (Pro), Matur Maker (Pro), MiKyle McIntosh (Pro), Dylan Ennis (Pro), Jabril Price- Noel (NCAA) and O'shae Brissett (NCAA) and many more. Aside from his elite roster, Cedric has several other hoopers of all ages and skill levels come through his gym to improve their game. 

 

Cedric Carter: So what does it take to be Elite? I feel like the work ethic has to be there.

In my opinion, the work ethic is one of the main things, but anybody can just work hard. There's a certain level of talent you have to have as well. On top of that, you have to have a support system, if you don't have the support system, it's tough. The last thing I feel like that you have to have is just self accountability.

A lot of players lack the self accountability of going to school, getting their grades, doing the right things in class, doing the right things in general not and acting foolish on social media. The self accountability part is huge. 

As an athlete, when you have time, are you playing video games?

I don't feel like Eva was playing video games. I feel like when she has time, she's in the basement dribbling the ball. You have stuff like that where she's already has an elite mentality because regular kid stuff doesn't excite her, basketball does. 

 

SportsEdTV: What’s the easiest way for parents to identify if their child has elite athleticism, or the elite mentality?

Cedric Carter: For the parents, how they stack up against their peers at that age and are they doing enough on their own? Because realistically, your parents can want it for you all they want, like Mark could want Markhi, but if Markhi don’t want it, Mark cannot go get it for him.

So they have to understand that there's a level of you need you wanting it yourself. And once you want it yourself, you'll show that you want it yourself by your actions. And it's not just necessarily going to the gym everyday. It's the little things that you do that that'll show whether you want it or not. Like it's almost like every action is dictated by your end goal, which is making it as a successful basketball player. So when I see guys like going out and getting in trouble, they're not going to class, it's like, well, what do you really want? Do you really want this or not?

 

SportsEdTV: Why do elite players require elite training?

Cedric Carter: I feel like greatness breeds greatness. So you can't have somebody mediocre, somebody that if a kid says it's five a.m. and I want to go to the gym and I want to work out and they're going to be like, nah, that's too early. I don't want to wake up. Let's go at 6:00 PM. Whereas the kid could have walked out in the morning and then maybe he had something homework he needs to do later on. 

The trainer has to be up for the grind, too. He has to be an elite athlete. And what he does, because he has to understand that it's not necessarily going to be on his time. It's going to be on the athlete's time. You've got to bring your best at those times. Like there's times when I wake up at 4:00 or 5:00 a.m., and I know that I got stuff that I got to do throughout the day. So I go to the gym first like it's a mentality, even as a player  that's how I was. I would get up and do my stuff early. 

As Kobe says, he would do that where he would work out three times a day, wake up at four a.m., and by the time he's two weeks in or a month in, he's done three times the amount of workouts as a regular person. So you need an elite, an elite and kind of extreme mentality to be like this is what we're doing. 

 

SportsEdTV: Does the talent need to be there immediately to be elite?

Cedric Carter: I don't think the talent needs to be there right away. I feel like you can work on those things through, just do hard work. Look at a guy like Steph Curry - he wasn't amazing in high school. C.J. McCullum down there. Nobody went to Lehigh, a mid major, worked on his game, now he's one of the best players, in my opinion, best guards in the league. 

There's so many guys that you could say that that blossomed late that you would not see probably when they were 12, 13, 14, that this is going to be a superstar in the NBA. So it all depends on how you continue to build your craft and then your talent might eventually shine through like later like you might hit.

 

SportsEdTV: How did the development mindset change over the years?

Mark Strickland: Back in the day the rules were different, a little bit more strict. You didn't have as many guys saying that they want to go pro right out of high school. Now every kid, you know, wants to go pro overseas. I think it's just more options. The overseas is better than it used to be and the reality of leveling up at a younger age is more common than it was back in my day.

I think that's the difference back in the day, you needed to go all four years of college. Even MJ went as far as he could in college, but even guys like Charles Barkley stayed at school for four years. I think that is a big downfall to a lot of players they go to early on. They had a big kid on LSU. Last year he did. I felt like he should stay at LSU for a couple more years to get more development [Naz Reid]. He got drafted to Minnesota and you haven't heard from him. He’s someone that could have used another year or two developing in college. 

Cedric Carter: I feel like the NBA is on a youth movement, though, so it's hard to really gauge that. It's like, yeah, I could go now where I potentially get picked anywhere. And at least I got three years of paid internship saying, like, to an extent like I got three years of getting paid. I'm playing, I'm getting paid to be taught on the job, being taught on the fly versus staying in college. In college, you never really know what happens. Maybe you tweak your ankle. It really depends on the situation. There's some guys that, if you go back, you're going to go back and probably get drafted in another year. But then some guys don't. Some guys think, oh, this is my window of opportunity. What if coach recruits a guy who plays the same position? He's also a McDonald's All-American, kind of like a Kentucky where it's like you kind of forced guys out to an extent where it's like they're getting all Americans every year, great freshmen coming in every year. And it's like, well, am I going to stay and kind of fight for minutes or am I going to try to get a paid internship?

 

SportsEdTV: What are some of the most impressive elite habits that you've seen come through your gym?

Cedric Carter: I don't have any young vegans, I don't believe, in my gym. But what we do have is just a certain level of intensity that's brought.

Obviously, we go as game-like as possible through all the drills. We try to go game speed, we try to keep the intensity up, I think people kind of know me as a yeller. So I'm not letting people get away with nothing in my gym. I have my big Boyz voice and I'm going to make sure that everybody is going at the speed that they should be going at. But then we've also kind of built a culture of just holding everybody accountable. So those are like holding people accountable, like some people don't feel comfortable with it. But I feel like if you create an environment where everybody is doing that, that nobody wants to stop, nobody wants to slack off, nobody wants to cut short on a drill because, you know, your peers are looking and they're like, well, I'm doing this full speed, you should be doing a full speed, coaches watching, like, stuff like that.

So that's where our standards are. We try to keep all of our athletes to the same standard.

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As you read from both Cedric and Mark, being an elite athlete is something that takes time and commitment to your craft.  Most importantly, becoming an elite athlete is something accessible to all basketball players of all ages if they are willing to put in the work to achieve their goals. 

In our SportsEdTV Basketball Library, you’ll find hours of basketball instruction videos straight from Cedric and Marks playbook and training sessions. Made for all levels and all ages, we’re glad to provide you with a blueprint to being an elite basketball player.