HAMPTON, Va. – When Cassius Stanley decided to join Team WhyNot (Calif.) this spring, he did so operating under the assumption that he’d get a chance to learn under the tutelage of the NBA’s reigning MVP Russell Westbrook, whose foundation sponsors the team.
Makes sense since Stanley, who is ranked No. 9 overall in USA Today Sports’ Chosen 25 for 2019, is often compared to the Oklahoma City Thunder star.
“I knew that just having him around would be an experience that would take me to another level,” said Stanley, who led Team WhyNot to a 3-1 record at the Nike EYBL in Hampton.
That’s why Stanley wasn’t even remotely shocked that when Westbrook showed up at the Nike EYBL in Atlanta last weekend for the first time all spring to monitor his team, Stanley turned in his best showing of the season, averaging 20 points a game.
“Just having someone with that experience telling you what he sees on the court and then you translating it on the court is such a big help,” Stanley said. “He sees the game on a different level.”
Stanley didn’t hesitate to implement his attacking strategy when Westbrook told him that the defense was being lax on setting up its defense during a game in Atlanta.
“He told me to push it because I had the advantage every time,” Stanley said. “I did it and it worked. That was one of my best games.”
When asked how he’d rate Westbrook as a coach, Stanley said he was a “10 out of 10.”
“It’s funny because in the moment I didn’t even really think about the fact that I was actually getting real-time tips from Russell Westbrook,” Stanley said. “We went to the Waffle House one night after the game and everyone in there was just shocked in disbelief. That’s when it hit me that I was getting help from the MVP. You can’t beat that.”
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