Future stars of basketball met two current greats of the game as Euroleague Basketball introduced its first-ever ANGT Players Educational Session at the recent Final Four in Madrid. Players from the ADIDAS NEXT GENERATION TOURNAMENT came to the Barclaycard Center for an informational discussion featuring Kenneth Faried of the Denver Nuggets and Taylor Rochestie of Nizhny Novgorod.
Faried and Rochestie shared their stories with the ANGT players and told them to remain hungry and humble as they shoot for greatness. Euroleague Basketball representatives introduced to the players the organization's philosophy and vision while adidas urged the youngsters to become the next icons and inspire the next generation of talents.
Faried gave the young players an acronym to remember that he learned during his rise to become an NBA star and 2014 FIBA World Cup champion. "Just remember HAT," he said. "Stay Humble, Appreciate what you have and be Thankful of people around you."
Rochestie, who received the 2014-15 Alphonso Ford Top Scorer Trophy as the top scorer of the Turkish Airlines Euroleague, told the ANGT players that planning their careers has to start early and be taken seriously.
"You have to think of yourself as your own brand. Have respect for yourself and your future," Rochestie said. "The second you stop working is the time you start going down."
Jim Gatto, Director of Global Sports Marketing adidas Basketball, urged the youngsters to think big and dedicate themselves to becoming the best they can be in the sport.
"We're excited to help you build your brands and maybe down the line become an icon," Gatto told the players. "We look forward to seeing you grow. Learn the game, respect the game."
Alex Ferrer Kristjansson, Euroleague Basketball's Director Brand and Communication, started by saying: "It's very nice to see the future of European basketball and international basketball all sitting in one room."
He then described to the players the company's philosophy and vision and its idea of excellence.
"We are working with the youngsters to educate them, to make them understand what it means to be a professional player," said Ferrer.
"At this age, you don't always realize or understand that. And it's good to have the two players explaining first person what the job of a professional player is like on and off the court."
The players were very excited to hear what Faried and Rochestie had to say.
"It's very amazing for me to see Faried. He's a really great player, he's so athletic. It's good for me and my teammates to see him. I learned that Faried was always hungry and he's a role model.," said Stephane Gombauld from INSEP Paris.
"I think it was very important for us to know these things about professional players, Euroleague Basketball and adidas," said Stellazzurra Basketball Academy Rome's Andrea La Torre.
"It was a good experience to learn how these people think and that they are looking at us like a lot of scouts. It was an amazing experience," added La Torre's teammate Kristinn Palsson.
And Martynas Echodas from Zalgiris Kaunas said: "I think it is very useful and there was a lot of new information from professionals who I would like to be like one day."