Back in 2003, Grayson Boucher left small-town Keizer, Ore., to join the And1 MixTape Tour traveling all over the world breaking ankles and taking names on the hardwood. He knew he’d have lots to prove if he was going to live up to his catchy moniker “The Professor”; an alias he earned because he schooled the opposition on the court.
The No. 1 place to solidify his spot? New York City.
“New York City is where you really have to earn it; especially in basketball,” said Boucher, who now plays on the Ball Up tour. “It’s Rucker Park, it’s The Garden, it’s the Mecca, and the fans take pride in hoops so they tell it like it is. I was glad I earned their respect.”
Dennis Smith Jr. hopes to have a similar story Saturday when he and 23 of the country’s most elite hoopers lace ‘em up at Brooklyn Bridge Park for the Under Armour Elite 24 at 7 p.m. (ESPNU).
“I’ve never even been to New York City,” said Smith, the top ranked point guard in the ESPN 60 who plays at Trinity Christian (Fayetteville, N.C.). “But I know the fans are pretty wild. I know we’re gonna have to bring it. It’ll be fun. We’ve gotta make some exciting plays; they’ll like that.”
Who better to offer advice on how to pull off NYC-fan pleasing “wow” plays than The Professor, founder of SuperHumanDribbling.com.
We had him dish on three juke-moves Elite 24 hoopers can use to widen the eyes and elicit the screams from the flash and flare hungry Big Apple fanatics.
“In a game when I’m messing around with the basketball in front of somebody it sorta baits the defender to push up on you and make you stop playing around with the ball. You start out and do a double-tap dribble, once with your right hand under your left leg and then once with your left hand under your right leg. They always commit to try and reach on those tap dribbles and then I go between-the-legs and behind the back and I’m right by my man. It never fails. They can’t resist reaching on this move.”
THE BASELINE BEHIND-THE-BACK
“Start out free-throw line extended on the wing, I prefer the left wing; you want to slow the drive to the basket going left. The best way to sell the drive is to make a move before you make that drive; so a crossover, hesitation or whatever make a quick move first. Then you make a hard drive kinda going toward the basket, but I angle it out so it’s more toward the baseline too. That allows the defense to believe that they cut you off. The way you really sell it is to change your speed; so if they “cut you off” you’d have to slow down and turn back. That’s all part of the sell. When you start to turn back you do a half turn and do that quick behind-the-back dribble. It’s going behind-the-back from right to left and then you’re turning back toward your original direction, which should have you going back to the goal. If it’s done correctly it’ll give you about a 5-feet of separation between you and your defender. The goal is to have the defender going backward while you’re going forward.”
THE PROFESSOR DRIBBLE COMBO
“On this move I come down and go behind my back a few times and do a quick hesitation move then I explode to the rack with just one dribble. You really want to make the defense commit to the drive then you stop on a dime and take the ball behind your back from left to right. After that, I pull back and go between my legs from right to left and do a step-back. The difference in this one and a regular step-back is the second step-back; it allows you to create even more space. It’s necessary for shorter guards because it’s got that double combo, which allows you to get a better shot off over a taller guy.”
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