This is where it all begins. It’s a Sunday morning in the heart of the city and Seattle Rotary program director Daryll Hennings is hard at work with the next crop of talent. Since it’s inception in 1996 Rotary has…
This is where it all begins. It’s a Sunday morning in the heart of the city and Seattle Rotary program director Daryll Hennings is hard at work with the next crop of talent. Since it’s inception in 1996 Rotary has produced high school All Americans, D1 prospects and the number 1 pick in the draft. It would be understandable if he sat this one out. Rotary is holding their mini camp, and the 16 impressionable 4th graders are all looking to catch the eye of the veteran coach. For Hennings, nothing gets done without fundamentals. Players learn pivots and proper ways to execute chest passes. Communication, teamwork and competition are keys for anyone wanting to wear a Rotary Jersey, and what a collection of players it is that have worn the jersey. In the early days players like NBA veteran Aaron Brooks, and National Champion and Lottery pick Marvin Williams were the main guys. Players like Peyton Siva who won a National Title at Louisville and Dejounte Murray who is one of the most electrifying young guards in the league carried the torch, and #1 pick Palo Banchero took the program to new heights.
As the club has taken off, the players have returned giving their time and expertise to the program. The fact that so many highly successful players dedicate their time is not lost on Hennings.
I’ll be honest that’s the only way this thing could have worked. The community has put it’s arm around the whole thing. It’s changed how people live around here. It’s brought people together. – DH
While it would take a lifetime for the coach to discuss all the players that have come through the program, he spends some time reflecting about some of the most recent sucess stories.
Shane Nowell (UNLV) – One of my favorite dudes off the court.
Brooklyn Hicks (UNLV) – Dawg, one of my favorite guys to coach
Nolan Hickman (Gonzaga)– Great All Around dude, understands family, community and being a good example
Palo Banchero (Orlando Magic) – The dude is just a star. We tried as a collective (group) to hold him back just because he’s so humble, we didn’t want stardom to have an adverse effect on him. I new he was good, but I didn’t know he was that good.
The coach now has a new collection of players to work with, each seeking to become a star in their own right. The mini camp featured players from 3rd grade all the way to 8th. The event served a dual purpose, providing a way for the coach to evaluate new talent while allowing others to catch his eye. Not all of the players attended as several had other conflicts, however the coach ever so diligently made sure to mention some of the clubs top players at every level including:
Bob Hopkins JR
Blake Curvan III
Robert Bishop Jr
Will Conroy Jr
Jimmy Haywood III
As for the players in attendance, more than a few stood out, proving that the cupboard is far from bare on 19th and Spruce. In this article, we preview Seattle Rotary.
A promising prospect that already has a signature skill that he can hang his hat on. Amoda was a tenacious rebounder during the workout, using his size and long arms to go over the top of opponents for tough in traffic rebounds.
I wasn’t able to get a height on Burns, but he measured out in toughness. The guard took a hard fall, smacking his face on the floor in the process. Adhering to his program director’s theme of toughness, the guard dusted himself off, and buried a tough layup on the very next possession, showing the next play mentality, Hennings was looking for.
Ratcliffe’s frame was the first thing that jumped out at me. He has long arms, which is always a physical tool that I look for in young players. He showed glimpses of skill as well. The agile guard was able to score off the bounce, as well as make some nice jumpers during transition drills.
Sometimes you walk into a gym and a player just jumps out at you. That was McNairy for me. Yes he has size, but it was also the way he played. A lot of young players are apprehensive about their size. Mac is not one of those players. The big man was a bull in a China shop, using brute force to over power players around the bucket. He was one of the better rebounders during the Mini Camp, but also showed off some skill, grabbing the ball off the glass, and pushing the break.
Jackson took advantage of media being in attendance. The guard was a sniper, showing the ability to knock down shots in catch and shoot situations. Perhaps what was even more impressive, was his shot making ability. Jackson made several tough contested threes during 3 v 3 competition.
Branner was one of the better shooters during the Mini Camp. He made several catch and shoot threes, that alerted me to his shooting prowess. It was his ability to hoist from range that made the gym take notice. The guard shot it effortlessly from well beyond the three point line, showing a good stroke and accuracy.
Hill is a competitive player that just kept making plays. The guard was one of the smallest players on the floor, however that didn’t stop him from being one of the toughest. He made several tough layups, spinning the ball to the hoop through an array of bodies and limbs. While he may not have the prototypical size, his finishing combined with his craftiness helped him standout.
I didn’t get to see a ton of the older kids, so I didn’t get an exact height on Sun, however he has good size and frame. I also liked his skill, he impressed me with some of the ballhandling drills, showing a strong handle, when utilizing his COD’s.
Another of Rotary’s 2028’s that impressed was Lane. He was the tallest player on the court, however he moved fluidly showing the ability to get off the ground as well as turn his hips quickly and change ends. The majority of the workout was centered on skill, and he flashed with his ability to handle the basketball and finish in transition.
Shooting is at such a premium these days, and Stone took advantage of that. The young guard was accurate throughout the workout showing the ability to shoot the ball in catch in shoot action both in simulation, as well as live drills.