Pete Newell Still The Footwork Master
DeVon Hardin
DeVon Hardin
Scout National Basketball Columnist
Posted Aug 18, 2006


Pete Newell will turn 91 on August 31. But the Hall of Fame coach, who has influenced nearly every coach on every level of basketball, is still doing what he has always done so well . . . teaching athletes how to use their feet the proper way on a basketball court.

He turns 91 on August 31 but there is little question that Hall of Fame coach (and mentor to other Hall of Fame coaches) Pete Newell is still the man when it comes to teaching the art – and importance – of sound footwork to basketball players of all sizes and abilities, as well as genders.

 

Newell (who underwent surgery for the removal of a cancerous lung in May of 2005) isn’t nearly as hands-on in his teaching these days but he was still present for each session of the 30th Pete Newell Big Man Camp Aug. 7-11 in Las Vegas’ Cox Pavilion. The 55 campers included current college players as well as NBA centers Andrew Bynum of the Los Angeles Lakers and Adonal Foyle of the Golden State Warriors.

 

“He sat (and watched), mostly,” Pete Newell Challenge Executive Director Jeff Fellenzer said of the sessions. ``But he still did a lot of 1-on-1 teaching and explaining with the guys in the camp.”

 

Newell, who also held a couple of sessions of his Tall Women Camp in San Diego in July, provides an exceptional learning environment with his camps.

 

And, as a bit of a bonus, the college players also get exposure to the many talent evaluators and decision makers from the NBA franchises who show up – to take a look at the players and watch Newell and his staff (headed by Pete Newell Jr. and including Mike Dunlap of Metro State) put players through drills that often don’t include the use of basketball.

 

Among a consensus of the NBA types and camp instructors, some of the standouts during the Aug. 7-11 sessions included Anthony Tolliver (Creighton), Dante Cunningham (Villanova), Rashad Singleton (Georgia), Kyle Visser (Wake Forest) and the Cal duo of DeVon Hardin and Jordan Wilkes.

 

The 6-foot-9, 245-pound Tolliver (13.2 points, 6.7 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.6 blocks per game as a junior) and guard Nate Funk are two reasons why, this season, the Bluejays could at least equal the post-season success that fellow Missouri Valley Conference members enjoyed last March when Bradley and Wichita State won a couple of NCAA Tournament games apiece.

 

Cunningham (6-9, 220) played in all 33 games, starting four times, while averaging 2.2 points and 4.3 rebounds in 19.3 minutes per game for Coach Jay Wright’s Wildcats who, with the return of a healthy Curtis Sumpter, will have Sweet 16 potential despite the loss of mega-productive guards Randy Foye, Kyle Lowry and Allan Ray.

 

Singleton (7-0, 250) averaged only 11.7 minutes, 1.9 points and 2.1 rebounds in 29 games as a freshman last season but is considered one of the best big prospects in the Southeastern Conference.

 

Visser (6-11, 250) is the second-best scorer and top rebounder among Wake Forest returnees, albeit those averages were just 5.0 and 4.3, respectively, when the Deacons finished in last place in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

 

The 6-10, 250-pound Hardin, after undergoing shoulder surgery earlier this summer, was limited in the drills that involved any use of his arms but still showed enough to demonstrate why many NBA scouts consider him a much better prospect than former teammate Leon Powe was last season.

 

Wilkes (6-10, 220) saw just spot action (7.7 minutes, 2.1 points and 1.1 rebounds in 21 games) as a freshman but could move into the starting lineup as a sophomore.

 

BOUNCING AROUND THE COUNTRY:

*As is almost always the case, the EA Sports Maui Invitational has the earmarks of having the most intriguing field in all of the November tournaments.

 

There is a UCLA-Kentucky hook up (assuming the possibly overrated Wildcats don’t fall to the just-as-possibly underrated Blue Demons in Round 1) in one semifinal and a likely Memphis-Georgia Tech pairing in the other (unless Oklahoma and/or Purdue, respectively, derail it in first-round matchups).

 

A Bruins-Memphis final would be a “rematch” of the programs’ Elite Eight matchup in Oakland in March that was won by Ben Howland’s crew on its way to the Final Four.

 

It will be interesting to see if the Tigers’ post players will convert on a few more layins and other point-blank attempts than they did in Oakland against UCLA.

 

*With the unexpected July (guard Kevin Kruger, via transfer to UNLV to play for his dad) and August (forward Bryson Krueger, dismissed from the squad after being arrested) departures of the program’s top two scorers from last season, the Arizona State Sun Devils went from likely “sleeper threats to finish in the upper division” to “likely to finish ninth or 10th” in the Pacific 10 Conference during Herb Sendek’s first season.

 

But there was plenty of  upbeat news surrounding the program with the August commitments from Class of 2007 preps James Harden (6-5 wing, Artesia High in Lakewood, Calif.) and Jamelle McMillan (6-2 point guard, O’Dea High in Seattle).

 

Harden made a pretty good case for being considered one of the Top 10 players in the senior class with his play while leading the Pump-N-Run Select team to the adidas Super 64 championship and following that up on the same July day in Cox Pavilion by dropping 33 points on Houston Hoops as his team prevailed in the Las Vegas Prep Showcase.

 

There wasn’t a better performer than Harden among any of the perimeter players – Eric Gordon, O.J. Mayo and Derrick Rose included – who were in Las Vegas during the July 22-26 week of the Super 64, Reebok Big Time and Main Event tournaments.

 

*The relative optimists among the Duke faithful might be thinking the Blue Devils have a pretty good chance of taking a 14-0 record into the Jan. 6 start of Atlantic Coast Conference play against Virginia Tech in Cameron Indoor Stadium.

 

Mike Krzyzewski’s team will face two tough games (likely coming from among Air Force, Marquette and Texas Tech) during the College Basketball Experience Classic (formerly known as the Guardians’ Classic) final two rounds in Kansas City Nov. 21-22.

 

Then it is home for consecutive games against Davidson, Indiana, Georgetown, Holy Cross, George Mason and Kent State before a Dec. 21 tilt against Gonzaga in Madison Square Garden.

 

On second thought, it might take the very optimistic among Duke followers to project an unbeaten mark going into ACC action – especially if sophomore Josh McRoberts, who underwent back surgery in July, isn’t nearly as dominant a presence as he could be if fully healthy.

 

*As usual, some of the better college and high school players in the country served as counselors during the Aug. 1-5 and 6-10 sessions of the Michael Jordan Flight School camps in Santa Barbara, Calif.

 

Incoming freshmen Chase Budinger (Arizona) and Thaddeus Young (Georgia Tech) were standouts in the evening pickup games and afternoon workouts, as were Southeastern Conference stars Glen Davis of LSU and Ronald Steele and Jermareo Davidson of Alabama, as well as sophomore Julian Wright of Kansas. The latter is projected by many NBA talent evaluator as a likely lottery selection next June although that nasty jump shot remains cause for trepidation.

 

And a couple of other pretty good guards were on hand: O.J. Mayo (Cincinnati North College Hill) and A.J. Price (Connecticut).

 

Mayo is, well . . . really, really good, as any basketball follower with access to the Internet has known for, what, about 10 years now?

 

Price has seen his college debut delayed by two years because of medical and legal issues. But he showed enough in Santa Barbara and in Indianapolis (as a counselor during the July Nike All-America Camp) to convince many that he’ll be one of the best guards in the Big East Conference . . . from Day One.

 

*Adidas is holding a coaches’ clinic in the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas Sept. 29-30 and it promises to be a doozie (as in “extraordinary”, not as in “bizarre”): Bob Knight (Texas Tech), John Calipari (Memphis), Ben Howland (UCLA), Bill Self (Kansas) and Kelvin Sampson (Indiana) are among the scheduled speakers.

 

I’m guessing Knight and Sampson aren’t likely to be teaming for any demonstrations.

 

For more details, hit this website: www.adidasclinic.com.



 

Inducted into the USBWA Hall of Fame in April, 2005, Frank Burlison is Scout.com’s national basketball expert and is also a columnist for the Long Beach (Calif.) Press-Telegram. He can be reached at frank.burlison@presstelegram.com. Read more of Burlison’s pieces at www.frankhoops.com





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