By Madisen Carter
Last week, Unlimited Potential Basketball’s Coach Packie Turner attended the 2022 NBA Draft at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. The 12th overall pick in the Draft and an athlete Coach Packie had been closely working with for eight weeks during the summer, Jalen Williams, invited Coach Packie to the Draft to witness Williams’ monumental moment in person.
This was the first time Coach Packie attended an NBA Draft, and his experience was memorable to say the least. He started off the day at a private luncheon with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, a lunch where only the athletes who were invited to the green room attended with their families and close friends. He said that it was a cool experience to get a feel for the excitement and energy around everyone before the big event, and later that evening, Packie headed to Barclays Center and was able to watch the Draft from the stands.
“It was pretty special to get extended an invite by Jalen Williams. He said he just felt that I helped him a lot on this journey, and we're going to continue to build a strong working relationship together and he wanted me to be there to be a part of it,” Coach Packie said. “He didn't even know it had been the first time I've been invited to that. So it was just a cool experience. So great to be able to do it with a guy that went to a local school like Santa Clara.”
Williams was just one of eight athletes Coach Packie helped prepare for the NBA Draft in Santa Barbara this summer. He worked with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, Chet Holmgren, as well as Christian Braun, E.J Liddell, Kendall Brown, Jabari Walker, Hyunjung Lee, and Jermaine Samuels Jr. Coach Packie and the aspiring NBA players spent two months in Santa Barbara working out and focusing on what they can improve in their game to help them be successful at the next level.
Six out of the eight young athletes Coach Packie worked out with in Santa Barbara were drafted this year, three in the first round and three in the second round. Throughout their time training together, Packie was able to give the players advice on and off the court about their game physically and mentally. Before the Draft, he was able to give them one last piece of advice before their big moment.
“This is a special day, enjoy this moment, but also understand that this doesn't define you. You know, you might have an idea of where you think you're going or where you think you should be. Either way, you know, if you get selected in that space, then great, go prove them right. If you don't, go prove them wrong,” Coach Packie said.
Now that the Draft has passed, it is now time for the players to prepare for the 2022 Las Vegas Summer League. Coach Packie will also be traveling to Las Vegas to work with the guys and continue to help them progress and have a successful Summer League season. Coach Packie said he looks forward to continuing to work and build with these players and make sure they are prepared for their rookie year in the NBA.
Smith has been with UPB for a few weeks now and is helping with group training and private training. He said he has enjoyed seeing the variety of different athletes that come into the gym from division I college basketball players all the way down to three year olds. He said group training has been his favorite part so far, being able to interact with a lot of different athletes and helping them improve throughout the sessions.