By Allen Crabbe, for NBA.com
I was at Berkeley last week for the men’s basketball awards banquet. It was almost a month since I had been at Berkeley. I left for L.A. shortly after declaring for the NBA Draft. Going back was great, though it was a little weird. The guys on the team filled me in on their new workouts and how they’re improving and I was able to let them know what I have been doing. The coaches told me that even though they wish I had stayed for my senior year, they will always support my decision and will be rooting for me.
At the banquet, I received the team’s MVP award, voted on by my teammates. It meant a lot to me to know that my teammates thought that highly of me. It was quite a nice surprise since I did not realize I had won until they called my name at the banquet. A lot of players on our team were capable of receiving the award, so it truly was an honor.
Looking back at the three years I spent at Berkeley, I made a lot of new friends. I played with some of the guys on the team for all three years, so it was kind of tough to only have a couple hours with them last week. When it is all said and done, I am happy with my decision since getting drafted to the NBA is a once in a lifetime opportunity. I will miss everyone, but my relationships will always be there.
Putting in the work
Since leaving school, all I’ve been doing is working out at the gym. Right now, I’m working with a few trainers doing two-a-days which include strength training and basketball workouts. We’re really focusing on my ball handing, working off the dribble and creating space. The rest of my workouts are focused on the strength aspect — getting quicker laterally, getting more athletic and explosive. We are definitely making progress, and I feel my body changing. All of this preparation is helping me gain confidence. I recently changed my diet and I am learning to eat more vegetables and stay away from fried and fast food. There aren’t too many options in college, so it was hard to eat healthy every meal, every day. Now I’m eating the right foods and I definitely like the results!
After workouts, I’m so tired that I usually go home, watch TV and catch up on the playoffs. I’m living in an apartment in Santa Monica, about 10 minutes away from my family’s house in Los Angeles. When I get bored, I just hop in the car, drive down the street and I’m there. It’s my first time living alone, so it can get boring pretty fast! My mom does a lot of cooking for me and she’s a really good cook. My favorites are her steak, lamb chops, vegetables and pasta but pretty much anything she makes is great. She always makes sure to send me home with a lot of leftovers!
Chicago, here we come
This week, we’ve been preparing a lot for the Chicago pre-Draft camp. I have to do the best I can, relax, keep calm, go hard on all the drills, compete … and do what I know how to do, which is play ball!
I’ve been dreaming of playing in the NBA since I was a little boy. And now that the opportunity is here, it feels like it came so fast! I am both nervous and excited!