News

Middleton’s message: work hard, then work harder

There’s a very good reason Milwaukee Bucks star Khris Middleton was selected to travel half way around the world and mentor the brightest young stars from Australia and the Asian region. Since Basketball Without Borders began in 2001, some 2500 ballers have taken part, with 37 going on to be picked in the NBA Draft. That means around one in every 67 campers makes it to The Show. But to be one of the select few, these players need to work tirelessly on improving their game, and that’s where Middleton became an easy choice for BWB Asia last weekend. Drafted by the Pistons after three years as a star at Texas A&M in college basketball, Middleton had made it onto an NBA floor just three times – for a total of 12 minutes – in his rookie season when he was assigned to the Fort Wayne Mad Ants in the NBA D-League. He struggled in his short stint with the Mad Ants, didn’t see time for the Pistons again until February, and come the end of a modest rookie season Middleton was traded to Milwaukee. But when he headed north from his hometown of Charleston for the Bucks’ 2013 veterans camp he was a different player, and the 24-year-old knows exactly why. “I have a lot of friends that live in the area I grew up in and we all play basketball, and we’re in the gym every day, just trying to get better, trying to push each other, trying to accomplish our dreams,” he said of his off-season ‘time off’. “A typical day for me, I probably wake up around 7-8am, go get a (weight) lift in and then get some shots up. “That will take between two and three hours, then I’ll get some ice and do some stretching. Then it’s lunch, I’ll have a bit of a lay down and then I go back to the gym again.” It’s no different to when he was growing up attending the Porter-Gaud School across the Ashley River from the Charleston city centre. “I was in the gym all day every day, even at times when I probably shouldn’t have been, or else playing in AAU tournaments with friends, I was just playing basketball all day basically,” he said. But these days it’s not just hours on end of scrimmaging, there’s method to Middleton’s madness as he tries “to perfect my craft”. “(I’m) trying to add something to my game every year. The more you add to your game the harder it is for other guys to stop you and the more complete player you become,” he said. After his rookie season he improved his scoring from 6.1 to 12.1ppg, his three-point shooting from 31 per cent to 41 per cent and doubled his rebounding average. The next season he improved eight statistical categories, while last year he improved his assist numbers from 2.3 to 4.2apg, making him the Bucks’ leading scorer and third most prolific dime distributor. His hard work paid off when he traded in his $915,000 contract for a five-year, $70 million upgrade last off-season, so it was no surprise when he revealed his message to the BWB Asia participants would be to listen to the coaches, work hard, and then work harder again. “I’ll try to teach them a thing or two, just try and talk to them, they want to be in our shoes so I’ll just try and help them get there,” he said. “Every coach I’ve had, every step of the way, they’ve helped me tremendously, even from rec league when I was eight years old, all the way up to my college coach and up to now, I try to take on board everything my coaches tell me because they're trying to be the best player I can be.”
NEWS

Taipans Complete Roster with Experienced Point Guard

13 hours ago

NEWS

Perth Add NBL1 Standout as DP

20 hours ago

FEATURE

Gliddon Eyes Return to Best

20 hours ago

NEWS

Report: Makur Maker Signs NBA Deal

1 day ago

NBL23

Analysis: Breakout Candidates

1 day ago

NEWS

Humphries Drawn to United "Prestige"

1 day ago

FREE AGENCY

36ers Add “Extra Edge” to Roster

1 day ago

NEWS

NBL Trading Cards Return With Topps

2 days ago

GAME REPORT

Gaels Overrun Phoenix in OT Thriller

2 days ago

FREE AGENCY

Hawks Welcome Emerging Point Guard

2 days ago

LaMelo Ball Leads Hawks, Taipans Beat Bullets Again

16 September 2019

Fourth Place Frustration for Boomers in China

15 September 2019

FIBA World Cup Bronze Medal Game | Australia v France Preview

15 September 2019

Prather Shines In United's Big Win, Taipans Smash Bullets

14 September 2019

Starting Five: World Cup Heartbreak

14 September 2019

Spain Again Breaks Boomers Hearts in Double OT

13 September 2019

Watch Live | Illawarra Hawks vs Melbourne United

13 September 2019

FIBA World Cup Semi-Final | Australia v Spain Preview

13 September 2019

Starting Five: Boomers Two Wins from Gold

12 September 2019

Australia Advance to World Cup Final Four

12 September 2019

NBL Partners

Naming Rights
Major Partners
Broadcast & Media Partners
Profile Partners
Suppliers
Associates