The NBA Development League hosted its third-annual Elite Mini Camp in Chicago earlier this month. The camp featured some of the most talented players from the NBA D-League, including Los Angeles D-Fenders forward Zach Andrews.
The two-day event gave players the opportunity to showcase their skills in front of NBA scouts, in order to hopefully receive an invitation to attend the NBA’s summer workouts in Las Vegas. The players were hit with both drill workouts and full-court games to test every aspect of their game.
“The NBA D-League’s Elite Mini Camp gives almost 40 top prospects from our league an opportunity to showcase their skills, in front of more than 50 NBA scouts and front office personnel,” said Chris Alpert, Vice President of Basketball Operations and Player Personnel for the NBA D-League. “At the same time, the event affords NBA teams an off-season chance to check in on elite young players as they fill their summer league and training camp rosters.”
Although the event was highlighted by players with NBA experience, including former Chicago Bull Jameson Curry, some players are still looking for an opportunity to be a part of an NBA team.
After spending years playing overseas, forward Zach Andrews found a home with the L.A. D-Fenders. During his rookie season, Andrews helped the D-Fenders make it all the way to the NBA D-League Finals where they fell short of a championship, losing to the Austin Toros.
Still Andrews hard work ethic on and off the court seems to have had impressed NBA scouts, as he was the only player from the team to receive an invitation to Chicago.
“I was very surprised, but it shows you what hard work can do,” said Andrews, “It’s good for me, I need any opportunity I can get to show what I’m capable of.”
Being in Chicago was nothing new for Andrews, who described the windy city as his home away from home. Andrews spent most of his basketball career playing in Chicago at Bradley University. During his career at Bradley he helped get them to the 2006 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 and the second round of the 2007 NIT. Despite the fact that Andrews comes from a small school he never lets that discourage him.
“I’m just looking to prove that just because I didn’t come from a big school with a big name doesn’t mean that those schools don’t have talent…we’re a rare breed, but we work hard,” said Andrews. “[Being a part of the NBA] it’s just been a top goal for me coming where I come from. I grew up with people telling me I wasn’t going to be anything, [but] look what I’ve accomplished, what I’ve made for myself…I continue striving to reach my goals.”
After spending a season with the D-Fenders, Andrews said he feels he has more to offer to NBA teams, and has a better understanding of the game. He also claims that his hard work ethic makes him stand out.
“I now have a better understanding of my role. I learned to stay confident at what I do, and stay focused,” said Andrews, “I work hard doing stuff that normal big guys don’t do, like diving to get the ball even if it’s out of reach. Just knowing my effort in wanting to go for it no matter what.”
With over 50 NBA scouts at the event it’s still up in the air if Andrews will be offered an invitation to the NBA Summer workouts. Still if he had the opportunity to choose Andrews already has a team in mind.
“If I had to pick it would be the Kings because it’s my hometown. I think it would be big to play in my hometown, but any team that gives me the opportunity is the best team for me right now.”
Now as Andrews heads home for the off-season he anxiously awaits to hear from the NBA, but has no regrets about his performance.
“I gave it my all.”