As a newly minted member of the CoachUp Athlete Advisory Council, Philadelphia 76ers center Nerlens Noel spent two days with CoachUp for his video shoot. We traveled to a few of Noel's old hangouts including the Everett Recreation Center, Kipo's Pizza, Lou Diamond's Barber Shop, and his childhood home. Nerlens gave us his thoughts on private coaching as we made our way around the future star's hometown. Here's a behind the scenes look at our video shoot with Nerlens Noel.
Nerlens grew up in Everett, MA and played his ball at the Everett Rec Center. Nerlens took us back to the Rec Center and went through his typical warm-up. The rehab from the ACL injury must have gone well because he was looking really good and threw down some pretty nasty dunks during his session. Nerlens also played some one on one with his brother Jim while wearing a GoPro. Scenes from their game will be posted to the blog shortly, so keep an eye out (it will almost feel like you're playing against Nerlens yourself). If you're one of Noel's 109k followers on Instagram, you may have even seen him post this pic from the video shoot at 47 Elm Street, the Everett Rec Center.
At the Rec Center, Nerlens went through a quick session with his old private coach Mike Catapano who played a role in Noel's early years of basketball training. Word must have gotten out beforehand that Nerlens was in town, because there were a group of kids who wanted to take a peek at the young center in action. Nerlens made friends with one of them, and they grabbed a few pictures together.
On the second day of the shoot, we traveled to a few of Noel's favorite spots: his barbershop, his favorite pizza place, and his home. When we arrived at Lou Diamond's Barbershop in Everett, the place was packed, and not because everyone in Everett needed a trim. No, word had once again spread that the 2013 number six pick would be making an appearance. Noel's young friend from the previous day was one of the members waiting in the crowded barbershop.
Nerlens started chatting with a few of the barbers and then to the seemingly shy kids surrounding him. He pulled out his wallet and started asking trivia questions, giving cash to whoever answered correctly. "Who knows what team we played against when I set the record for blocks in a game at Kentucky?" he asked waving a wad of cash around. The group whispered uncertainly, and several heads quickly bowed to check their smartphones. Nerlens didn't give them enough time though. "Ole Miss," he answered himself. He then asked what number pick he was in the draft. Shouts of "Six!" immediately rang out. "Nah, that one was too easy," laughed Nerlens.
Before we left, Nerlens gave out a few autographs. Those who hadn't brought a basketball desperately took off their own basketball shoes for the 76er to sign.
Next, we headed over to Kipo's Pizza to grab a bite to eat. Clippings of Nerlens hung on the wall, and we were greeted warmly when we walked in. We were generously offered some free pizza by the staff and sat down to eat.
Nerlens lived right around the corner from Kipo's, so after we finished our lunch (very good by the way) we went over to his house to finish the shoot. The room that we interviewed Nerlens in was full of news clippings and memorabilia from his career. It was truly eye opening to see how much he had accomplished in such a short amount of time. He hasn't even played a game in the NBA yet!
When asked for his thoughts on private coaching, Nerlens gave one word: crucial. There are few better role models than Nerlens for young athletes to look up to. If you're looking for a player to emulate both on and off the court, look no further than Nerlens Noel. Want to train like Nerlens? Find a basketball trainer in your area today, and begin your journey to reaching #AnotherLevel.