Bring on the best
The 2007 adidas Superstar Camp concluded last Saturday at the Shanghai Sports Academy with a dramatic game involving 20 of Asia's brightest young basketball talents.
The match-up saw the 10 players coached by Portland Trail Blazers' Martell Webster defeat the team led by Charlotte Bobcats' Adam Morrison 90-86 to be crowned 2007 adidas Superstar Camp All-Star Champions.
This year, adidas brought together 61 promising basketball players from the Asia-Pacific region who trained with past and present NBA greats.
The participants came from China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan. The coaches were impressed by the youngsters' performances, which highlighted the sport's growing popularity in the region.
China's Wang Shen was chosen as the camp's Most Valuable Player (MVP). Standing 1.91 metres, he impressed coaches and players alike with his on-court skills and mental toughness.
'Taking part in the adidas Superstar Camp is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn from my NBA heroes and their coaches, and to be named MVP is an honour,' said Wang after the final game. 'I can't wait to take what I've learned here back to my home court.'
The coaches included former NBA player Detlef Schrempf, Dwane Casey, former head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Daren Matsubara, president of the Elite Basketball Organisation and one of the leading Asian-American coaches in the United States.
They provided all-round training to Asia's up-and-coming players during the five-day camp in Shanghai. The sessions covered basketball techniques, on-court strategies, and psychological and physical preparation.
Participants at last week's programme showed a higher skill level than their predecessors, the coaches said.
'These young Asian players have all the attributes to succeed,' said Schrempf at the final training session.
'Over the past few days, we've tried to build on that and give them that little something special that they need to have a major impact on the game.'