The final goal is a spot on an NBA roster. To get there, though, college basketball's best spend the months between the end of the NCAA season and the NBA Draft working on everything a organization will analyze from on-court skill to physical conditioning to how they interview. The IMG Academy basketball program has successfully prepared prospects for the NBA Draft combine, private workouts and NBA career for years, including names like Kobe Bryant, Chauncey Billups, Tayshaun Prince, Jrue Holiday, DeJuan Blair and many others.
One half of Villanova's "Corey" backcourt, Corey Stokes is the shooter of the duo. One of the nation's top recruits coming out of the famous St. Benedict's in New Jersey, Stokes is a pure shooter who modeled his game after one of the top marksmen in NBA history. Stokes recently took time to talk about the mentality of a shooter, Corey Fisher scoring 105 points in a game and his unknown talents.
Corey Stokes on...
...his basketball idol: Ray Allen is my favorite player. I was going to commit to UConn in my sophomore year, but I just loved Villanova. He keeps the ball high. He's got a quick release. He's always moving. He's so well conditioned. It seems like he's tough to guard because he's never standing still. If I were guarding him, I would never help off.
...a shooter's confidence: Look at Reggie Miller. If he misses, it doesn't matter. He's coming back and shooting the next one. That's what makes a shooter great. For me, if I miss, I know the next shot is going in. Every time I shoot it, I think it's going in and my teammates think it's going in. If I miss, I don't get upset because I know I spend every day working on making every shot I take. My pops taught me how to shoot at the age of three.
...the lack of a rivalry against nearby St. Anthony: We never played St. Anthony. Even in the summer leagues, if we were in the championship, they would just give the trophy to St. Anthony because the Hurley's (son Dan coached St. Benedict's and father Bob coached St. Anthony) didn't want to play each other. I have no idea why. It would've been a battle, but I think we would have beat them. All I knew growing up was St. Anthony's, but Bob Hurley actually told me to go to St. Benedict's. He is intense. He reminded me of Bobby Knight, but he's actually a really good guy after I got to know him.
...his greatest achievement: I grew up in the projects, and I'm only the second person in my family to ever
graduate from college. My brother, Jamal, was the first one to graduate and I really looked up to him. That was big for me.
...Corey Fisher allegedly scoring 105 points in a 2010 summer league game: I think it's true. I was on an outside court one day last summer with my boys and two little kids ran up to me saying, âCorey, you scored 105 points!?â I had no idea what they were talking about. They said Fischer, so I called him up and he was really calm about it. It's crazy to accomplish something like that. He said it was against just some random guys. But scoring 105 points against two-year-olds is hard. I want to see the tape. Every week, he'd tell me he was getting the tape, but I've never seen it.
...the biggest talkers in the Big East: Jimmy Butler. He still talks. When we're in workouts at IMG, we go back and forth. Seton Hall guys used to talk. Malik Wayans. Once Fisher gets scored on or someone says something to him, he'll get started. In warm-ups, I'll say, âHey, Fish, he's better than youâ just to get him fired up.
...the toughest places to play in the Big East: West Virginia is tough. They've got muskets going off at halftime. Pitt is tough. Syracuse is tough. You hear them, but you try to block it out. It motivates me. I like when people start talking. In pre-game, fans will stand right next to the sideline and yell in your ear, but I like it.
...meeting Erin Andrews: Last year against Syracuse, we had a shootaround and she walked out. Everyone just stopped. When she's on campus, everybody -- athletes, students, everyone -- tries to talk to her. At the Dickie V Gala this past weekend, she was calling everyone on stage. She called my name, then called Brad's (Wanamaker) name. We're like we've got to get a hug, so we both walked up and gave her a hug.
...the IMG environment: Everyone is so dedicated to making you better. Everyone on the staff cares. They want you to succeed. It's great to have all of that positive energy. It's unbelievable. If I had the opportunity to go to high school here, I think it would have had me so much more prepared.