Wisconsin’s Johnny Davis Named Integrity Sports Agency Player of the Week

On Monday, Integrity Sports Agency named Wisconsin’s Johnny Davis as its Player of the Week for his outstanding performance throughout the week of February 14-20th.

Davis led the Badgers to a 2-0 record during the week, with wins over conference foes Indiana and Michigan to improve Wisconsin’s overall record to 21-5.

In Wisconsin’s win over the Hoosiers, Davis lit up the score sheet for 30 points and 12 rebounds, good for his fifth double-double performance of the year. He shot the lights out, going 10 for 15 from the field and also converting on 10 of his 14 free-throw attempts.

Against Michigan, Davis scored 25 points on 11-for-17 shooting. He hit all three of his free throws, grabbed six rebounds, and even blocked three shots in the winning effort.

Davis, just a sophomore, has cemented himself as one of the top players in the nation all year, and with this week’s performances, he earns Integrity Sports Agency’s Player of the Week award.

Texas Tech HC Mark Adams Named Integrity Sports Agency Coach of the Week

On Monday, Integrity Sports Agency named Texas Tech’s Mark Adams as its Coach of the Week for his outstanding coaching performances throughout the week of February 14-20th.

Adams led Texas Tech to a 2-0 record on the week, with two ranked wins. His Red Raiders took down No. 7 Baylor at home to start off the week, and then later travelled to Austin and beat No. 20 Texas on the road.

Against Baylor, Adams’ Red Raiders had nine players score at least 2 points, with four of them scoring in double digits. They overcame a seven-point halftime deficit, and blew out the Bears in the second half to secure their third top-ten victory of the year.

Against the Longhorns, Texas Tech held a Texas squad that averages over 68 points per game to just 55 in their own building, and came out on top with the win. Adams looked to his bench for big performances in the win while star Terrence Shannon struggled, going 0 for 6 from the field.

With the two wins, Adams’ squad improved to 21-6 overall, as well as 10-4 in Big 12 action in his first year leading the program.

ISA President, CEO Anthony Fletcher Receives Arthur M. Brazier Award for Community Service

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Integrity Sports Agency President and CEO Anthony Fletcher received the Arthur M. Brazier Award for his contributions to his community, specifically relating to the 2021 Integrity Sports Agency Coat Drive.

The coat drive, organized by Fletcher, gathered hundreds of articles of clothing for those in need in the Chicago area, and raised over $14,000 in monetary donations as well.

Fletcher was nominated for the award with the help of Victory Apostolic Church’s Director of Community Outreach Ministry, Deaconess Angie Slater, who issued her thanks in a statement at the time of Fletcher’s nomination.

“​Integrity Sports Agency helped Victory Apostolic Church spread joy and cheer during our Annual Christmas Food and Toy Drive,” Slater said in support of Fletcher and ISA. “Due to ISA’s generosity, we were able to add the gift of warmth, providing winter coats, boots, and accessories to needy families in the South Suburban communities. Thanks for helping our families stay warm all winter long!”

The risks of entering the NBA Draft prematurely

Every year several hundred of the best young players in the world declare for the NBA draft to snag one of the sixty spots available in the best basketball league in the world. Declaring for the draft is a big decision, and student-athletes have to ensure that they get the best possible guidance before putting their names in the hat. We will explore some of the risks associated with declaring for the NBA draft prematurely and the impact they can have on players’ prospects.

One of the biggest risks associated with declaring for the NBA draft too early by an underclassman is the possibility of losing his scholarship or eligibility to play in NCAA tournaments if he happens to go undrafted. The NCAA allows student-athletes to hire an agent without losing their eligibility and returning to school if they go undrafted. The caveat to this is that the student-athlete must participate in the NBA Draft Combine to qualify for this exception. The player can also withdraw from the draft to maintain his eligibility; the cut-off date for withdrawing for 2021 was July 7, 2021. If these conditions are not met, and an underclassman goes undrafted, he could also lose his scholarship for school, which could spell disaster for his academic and professional prospects. Only 1% of all college players make it to the NBA, which shows that finishing college and pursuing a career is a more likely option for most college players. An underclassman would not want to jeopardize this opportunity by declaring too early for the NBA draft!

When an underclassman stays in college longer, he maximizes his academic potential. Also, he can produce a larger body of work over multiple college seasons to improve his chances of been drafted. A freshman who declares for the draft has minimal experience. If he loses his scholarship and cannot continue in school, he will probably struggle to find meaningful work due to a lack of work experience. On the other hand, he will be better equipped for the working world if he finishes his academic program and goes undrafted. College players, especially underclassmen, have to think about possibilities like these before taking that giant leap and declaring for the NBA draft.

If an underclassman goes undrafted, he can explore the options of playing in the NBA G-League or seeking opportunities in one of the many overseas basketball leagues. These leagues can be a springboard to the NBA if the player does well. Several undrafted players eventually make it to the NBA by the route of the G-League or playing in an overseas league. It is important that a player secures an agent who will lay out all his options for him in a straightforward manner to be guided in making the best decision for his future. The agent should ensure that the player is aware of important dates, such as when he can declare for the draft and when he can withdraw. Also, when is the NBA Draft Combine and ensuring that the player is registered. As a boutique Sports Management company, we pride ourselves on delivering these services to student-athletes to ensure that they have the best outcomes.

Are you a good fit for the NBA?

The NBA 2021 draft will be on July 29, 2021, at Barclays Center in New York. Through General Managers, Scouts, and Head Coaches, NBA Teams will be trying to find players that can fit into their respective team ethos. The lives of sixty young men will change forever as they transition from amateur to professional players with massive earning potential. But how can you become a part of this chosen 60? Is talent all it takes? What qualities are General Managers looking for in players? We will highlight some of the attributes that will give players an edge in the upcoming NBA draft.

Key attributes that General Managers and Team Management are looking for in prospects.

NBA General Managers look for specific skillsets and other soft skills when seeking to add players to their roster from the NBA draft. Some of the main things that they consider are a player’s performance, how well they think the player will fit in the team, the work ethic of the player, the players level of maturity, off-court behavior, and also how well the player got along with prior coaches.

A players’ performance is of uttermost importance to General Managers; they are looking for players that have performed consistently well over an entire season rather than those that just had a great month or a few exceptional games. When a player maintains a high level of performance throughout the season, it tells General Managers that they are hard workers who will do what is required to succeed in the NBA.

General Managers are also looking for good fits for their teams; they are looking for personalities that will be at ease in the cultural environment of the team. Every team has a different culture, and some personalities do not fit some team cultures. A General Manager will probably forgo the most talented Point Guard in the draft for the second or third best, purely because he believes that they fit better in the team. Choosing the right personalities for the team is essential to keeping team spirit and morale high in the locker and on the court. A team that gets along with each other performs so much better than one with conflict among team members.

The work ethic of a player is also heavily considered by NBA General Managers. General Managers will review footage of players during training and games to see how they react to situations and how committed they are. Players with great work ethics want to play every minute of every game and remain intense whether or not they are on the court. They also take every opportunity to practice to perfect their skills or work on areas they think they need to improve. Players with these skill sets are highly sought by NBA team General Managers. General Managers are also looking for players that display a strong level of maturity and level-headedness. Playing in the NBA will mean that the player will be in the spotlight and will face more scrutiny than a regular person. Players need to be mature enough to understand this and know how to deal with it from day one; there is no grace period to adjust to life in the NBA.

When NBA General Managers are interested in a player, they do background checks to see what the said player has been up to. Social media accounts are reviewed, and everything else in the public domain; they will get an idea of what type of person the player is from the kind of posts that they make on social media and if they are prone to getting in trouble.

Finally, General Managers might speak to the prospects College, or High School coaches to get an idea of their relationship with the player and how well the player responded to coaching. Some players are more receptive to coaching than others, and NBA General Managers want to know this before deciding on a player.

These are some of the things that NBA General Managers will be looking at before choosing new talent for their teams on July 29, 2021. Players who declared for the 2021 NBA draft should be aware of these requirements so that they can put their best foot forward.

The 2021 NBA Draft – How teams and prospects prepare

The 2021 NBA Draft is scheduled for July 29, 2021, at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, New York. This is an important date for young players who have ambitions of playing in the lucrative NBA and for NBA teams seeking to bolster their rosters with the best young talent. Before draft night, players and teams alike should prepare in the best possible way to put themselves in the best position to achieve what they desire. Here are some of the things that players and teams need to do to prepare for NBA Draft 2021.

Players

One of the things that a player must do to showcase his skills and interact with key decision-makers from several NBA Teams, especially if he is not considered a top 5 pick, is attending the Draft Combine. This years’ Combine is tentatively scheduled for June 21-27th at a location soon to be announced. This showcase includes five on five competitions among prospects, specific drills such as the vertical leap, bench press, lane agility, and speed tests. The goal of attending the Draft Combine is to impress your potential employers to such an extent that they at least consider you as a potential employee.

A player can also improve his chances of being drafted by creating a video of no more than five minutes, highlighting his best plays, and distributing to teams he is interested in playing for. Video footage gives teams an opportunity to see what a player can do on an individual level and help teams decide whether a player is a good fit.

Another strategy that can work in a player’s favor is declaring early for the NBA Draft. Doing this gives teams more time to look at what players can do, giving them an edge over someone who declared later. This strategy is useful regardless of where you are considered to be in the draft order. When teams know what is available to them, they start planning on that basis; get yourself in the spotlight by declaring early for the NBA Draft.

Teams

Teams can do some deliberate things to attract the most suitable players and snag them during the NBA Draft. After identifying the players who fit best into their roster, an NBA Team can invite these players to do workouts with the team coaching staff. This will allow teams to evaluate the players’ skillsets, see how they get along with teammates, and allow the management team to convince said players why playing for their team is the best option.

These are some of the things that players and teams can do to achieve the best possible outcome in the NBA Draft. Regardless of what happens in the draft, the NBA will have exciting new talent playing in the next season.

The NCAA “Final Four” during COVID-19

The NCAA Basketball season has been a far cry from what we are used to; there were no colorful cheerleaders and no raucous fans in the stadiums willing on their favorite teams. Most games were played in semi-empty stadiums, and fans, on the most part, had to watch either on television or on the internet. However, we have gotten through the season without much fanfare and are now at the stage of the Final Four Tournament. There are only Gonzaga, UCLA, Houston, And Baylor left standing, and we will see a new champion after the defending champions Virginia failed to qualify for the final four. The 2021 Final Four will be structured similarly to other years, with a few differences due to the pandemic.

Despite growing calls from coaches and team management, the NCAA will retain the daily testing of all players and officials for the Final Four Tournament. Some coaches such as UConn Head Coach Geno Auriemma have argued that it would be unfortunate for a team to be eliminated due to team members testing positive at this stage of the tournament. The NCAA, however, believes that testing is necessary to keep everyone safe and to keep the integrity of the tournament intact. So, for the first time in NCAA Basketball Final Four history, there is a possibility that factors outside of basketball could determine the eventual winner; If any of the four teams have multiple positive COVID-19 tests, they will exit the tournament by default. We hope that this does not happen for the sake of all these young players and officials that have worked so hard to get this far.

All three games of the Final Four Tournament will be hosted at the Lucas Oil Arena in Indianapolis, which is similar to what happens under normal circumstances. There will be some fans in the stadium; up to 17500 seats will be available for the final four games. This is excellent news for fans, but the prizes for tickets will be higher than they usually are. The presence of fans will definitely add to the tournament’s atmosphere and hopefully will motivate teams to be at their absolute best! All persons allowed to attend the final four games are required to wear a facial covering throughout the games. Fans will also not be allowed to interact with athletes, coaches, or officials directly and will be required to remain in their seating pod for the game’s duration.

2021 March Madness (Uniqueness of the tournament due to COVID-19)

The 2021 NCAA “March Madness” Tournament is upon us after been canceled in 2020, and we are all looking forward to seeing how everything will pan out with all that is happening. March Madness under normal circumstances is one of the most anticipated events on the Collegiate sporting calendar. This year, it would be slightly different due to the COVID-19 pandemic; we will highlight the tournament’s main differences this year as opposed to previous years.

One of the most significant changes to March Madness 2021 is that all games will be played in one state (Indiana). The 2019 tournament, on the other hand, was stretched across twelve (12) States and fourteen (14) venues. Games will be played at Lucas Oil Stadium, Indiana Farmers Coliseum, Hinkle Fieldhouse, and Bankers Life Fieldhouse, all in and around Indianapolis. Some games will also be hosted at Mackey Arena in West Lafayette and Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall in Bloomington. This arrangement has understandable been made to reduce travel and create a bubble-like environment that should help control the possible impact of COVID-19 on the tournament. A side effect of games being hosted in one State is eliminating the home advantage factor for most teams. It could also become a little tricky when the seeding of teams is being done since geography normally affects seeding. What organizers will instead do is use what they call an “S-curve” model to do seeding; they will pair the strongest number 1 team (the team with the best record) against the weakest number 16 team (the team with the worst record). They will use this methodology to rank all 68 teams into the most equitable brackets under the circumstances.

Another difference in 2021 is that the Ivy League is not playing, so there will be 31 automatic qualifiers instead of the usual 32; conversely, there will be 37 at-large selections compared to 36 under normal circumstances. The Final 16 of the tournament will also be slightly different, with all eight games been played at separate times because they are being held in the same city. Under normal circumstances, there would have been some overlap between games, which added to the tournament’s suspense and intrigue. This element will unfortunately not be a part of the 2021 tournament. Another element that would be largely compromised is that of crowds at games; the NCAA has decided to allow a maximum capacity of 25% at games, with strict social distancing, mask-wearing, and testing protocols in place. This means that there will be less “noise” in the arenas to motivate players to perform at their best; players will have to count on their competitive nature to pull through tight game situations. We will be watching to see how players adapt.

Apart from these changes, the March Madness Tournament will pretty much remain the same with 68 teams as usual. The tournament will follow the same format, starting with the first four, then the first round, second round, sweet sixteen, elite eight, final four, and then the championship game. We cannot wait to watch the tournament and see which team will be crowned champions! 2021 has been an extraordinary year for us all, and the fact that college basketball is even being played is a blessing.

Learning to cope with life as a Professional Athlete

So, you were the star on your College team. You were adored and treated like royalty whenever you moved through your campus, and life as a sports star was great! Suddenly, you are out of college and are now playing in the Pro’s, but it is so different; you are not getting as much game time as you used to in college, and no one is telling you that you are the best. You feel like you do not fit in, and the NBA seems to be a league that is not friendly to you. Welcome to life as a professional sports-star! This life is not always as glamorous as it appears. You have to develop the right balance of skills to cope well and maintain your sanity while transitioning from college athlete to professional athlete. We will look at some strategies that will make the transition so much easier for you.

Adjust your mindset

One of the things that can make you feel despondent with life as a professional athlete is your mindset. You should try to think positively and be excited that you have gotten the opportunity to play in your chosen professional league; less than 2% of college athletes make this transition. You should also be mindful that you will have to prove yourself as a professional athlete and work hard to nail down your position on the team. Your team will have seasoned professionals who, on most occasions, will be bigger stars than you are, and you have to accept that mentally and use these guys as motivation to grow and get better at your craft. Once you adjust your mindset to a positive one, accepting the new reality of the NBA will be so much easier, you will eventually start getting more playing time and opportunities to make your mark as a professional. On the other hand, your development might be stifled if your mindset is negative.

Get yourself the right management team

To ensure that you get the best professional advice to steer your career in the right direction, it is critical that you have a great team of sports management professionals in your corner. The best athlete management companies have specific programs to help you adjust to life as a professional athlete, help you develop your brand, manage your money, and provide psychological support if necessary. Choosing the right Sports Management company will ensure that you have holistic support as you make the transition to being a professional athlete. This will allow you to focus on what you need to do to be successful for a long time in your sports career.

Strong support system

One of the things that we need to keep us grounded and keep our sanity is a strong support system, which can be family or friends or both! This is no different for young athletes making the transition to professional sports. The people they surround themselves with will either make them more anxious and negative or more optimistic about their careers. It is essential that athletes have people in their inner circle that will encourage them to be their best and remind them that they will be supported whatever happens in their career. This is the type of reassurance that professional athletes sometimes need to free their minds and perform at their best!

These are some of the things that you can do to make a seamless transition to the grueling world of professional sports. We wish you only success, and we will be happy to assist you in the process!

The NBA and COVID-19

The 2020-2021 NBA season is on in earnest, after starting more than two months later than usual on December 22nd due to the impact of the Coronavirus. However, the NBA management and players must be commended for their commitment and dedication, especially the teams that played in the 2020 NBA finals that finished on October 13th, which was just two months before the start of the new season. The 2020-2021 season has been reduced to 72 games in the regular season, and we are keeping our fingers crossed that we will have a smooth, exciting, and incident free season and so far, things have been going pretty well. COVID-19 has undoubtedly changed the dynamic of the 2021 NBA season, and we will explore some of these changes and also highlight some positives that we have seen so far in the season.

One of the most glaring changes for the 2020-2021 NBA season is the absence of fans in most arenas and minimal fans at the others for the start of the season. This has resulted in the atmosphere for games been a little more subdued, which in my view has negatively affected the viewing experience. One of the things that make the NBA unique is how close to the action the fans are, which allows greater interaction between fans and players and creates a spectacle like no other major sport. The absence of fans at games has taken this element away from the 2020-2021 NBA season so far. However, plans are in place to gradually bring back fans to the arenas, but this would vary franchise by franchise depending on how well COVID-19 is controlled in individual cities. The players, however, are as motivated as ever, and so far, we have seen some spectacular basketball on display, which definitely makes up for the fact that we cannot be at games in-person!

Players and officials are now subjected to strict protocols per the guidebook developed by the NBA to manage the complex nature of the NBA, which is played in cities all over the country. Players and officials are prohibited from visiting bars, clubs, sports events, or live entertainment events in their home market. When teams travel, they are allowed a little more freedom; they can dine outside their hotels as long as the restaurant has outdoor dining facilities or private indoor facilities. Importantly, all restaurants must be formally approved by the NBA management and the player’s union before anyone associated with the NBA can dine there. While restrictive, these guidelines reflect what is happening in the wider society, and in my opinion, most players will appreciate that these are in place to keep them safe.

Despite all the restrictions in place, we have noticed the NBA players, on the most part, seem extremely well-conditioned and fit. This is a testament to the work that their physical trainers and conditioning coaches have done with the players and the importance of players having a conditioning and workout plan even when they are not playing. So far, there has not been a spike in players getting injured which will ensure that teams have their best players to compete in the league if this trend continues. We anticipate that these NBA players will continue to remain fit and healthy because they all have some of the best people in the Sports Management business taking care of them. We look forward with excitement to the rest of the NBA season and are confident that everything will turn out well.