My Journey Featuring Darian Hooker Pt. 1


In this first My Journey series, I decided to have someone speak honestly about their respective journey in basketball. A lot of options ran through my mind, should I contact an elite high school prospect, a college star, maybe a pro vet, all viable options. Then it hit me with the NBA Draft closing in on us fast, why not have a draft prospect speak on how it REALLY is to go through various workouts and interviews with NBA personnel, all in an attempt to prove that you indeed belong on the NBA level. Enter the 2014-2015 NCAA Division II leading scorer, NYIT point guard Darian Hooker. Hooker has already been highlighted before by us so you all know the boy can PLAY! Averaged 28.3 points and 4.8 assist per game last season for the Bears and obviously caught the attention of various NBA scouts in the process. Now in the midst of the grueling NBA pre draft workout grind, Hooker took time to speak on what the NBA pre draft workout process is like, how the opportunity came about and of course what went down during the workouts. Enjoy!!!- Finest Mag founder Cardell Dudley

Hooker during a workout for his hometown Washington Wizards

I just want to start by thanking all of my teammates from the past season. You guys are the people who allowed this season to be a success not only for me but for us as a team. Loaf, Leef (never seen him miss a lay up. EVER), Marky Mark the Goat, DK Dan, Kay, Brando, Chris Brown aka Zay, Osh be Gosh Kach, Big Will (100% from the 3 point line in his career), Salsa don’t get tired, Jon, Bam, and Henrock.

The post season was a little crazy because of the numerous sports banquets and ceremonies that I had to attend. On top of that I had to deal with school. But it was a lot of fun. It felt good getting rewarded for the hard work I put in. It feels good getting recognition. But the best part of the whole thing was that I finally realized how important the school, the coaching staff, and my teammates were to my on the court and off the court success. NYIT was perfect for me and they really embraced everything I had to offer as a student and an athlete and I appreciate that. My coaches (Coach Lagano, Coach Drew, Coach Rob and Coach Cam) always had confidence in me and allowed me to go on the floor and play the way I know how to. They also embraced my personality and did not try to change me as a man and tell me what was wrong with me. They saw the positive in me and helped me develop that. Lastly my teammates were comfortable and confident in me at all times. They was almost on my back when I messed up in order to help me grow, but they was also the first to show support and pick me up when I as down. I couldn’t have asked for anything more from them then what they gave. I will always be grateful for them. Even though most of them hate on Chief Keef to much for my liking.

May 31st - 5 PM

I got a phone call from a friend of mines who works for a sporting agency telling me that I have a workout with the Washington Wizards at the Verizon Center on June 1st.

Was I excited? A little bit. After I got the information I told my brothers (Sankara and Demetri), my main men (Domo Taha and Wa), my parents, and my girlfriend (Marija). Everyone I told shared the same feelings about the workout that I had. We were all excited for a split second, but after the first few seconds of excitement the energy in the room dropped back to normal. My mom said “that’s great baby! But what do you want for dinner?” My dad told me to “Do what you do.” I got the same advice from my brothers and my main men, and my girl said she loved me and that she knows I will do great. Then we moved on….Well my girl took a little longer then everyone else to come down but eventually she did.

My confidence comes from these people around me. I was always told that you are the same as the company that you keep. These people are close to me because they are all extremely hard working, confident and humble people. They don’t get excited about things that they work hard for because they have earned it. But they do appreciate every blessing that they have because at the end of the day we are normal humans like everyone else. God blessed us out of his mercy. Not out of necessity.

Hooker with his NYIT Teammates

Hooker with the NYIT Coaching staff after winning 2014-2015 All-Met conference player of the year

June 1st

I arrive at the Verizon Center at 9:15 am. I was the first player in the arena. It was first time walking around in the tunnel and in the locker room. It was a good feeling. Being in the locker room and looking around and seeing that a lot of the things that the Wizards did was evident in my locker room at NYIT. Keeping track of deflections and steals, and contested shots. The quotes of motivation on the wall. It further reinforced what I already thought about my coaching staff at NYIT. That they really knew what they was talking about and that they couldn’t have prepared me more for this moment then they already have.

About 15 minutes later, the other players walk into the locker room, got changed and then mentally ready for the workout we were about to have. No one really talks to each other and that’s fine with me because I don’t really have anything to say to anybody. I am here to handle business and test myself verses some of the best talent that college basketball has to offer. From the guard position this workout was loaded. We had Jerian Grant, Juwan Staten and Delon Wright. I had no idea that I was working out with an elite group. But I did know that I should rightfully be a part of it.

The workout started at about 11 o clock and it was an intense one. We did the basic dribbling and shooting drills and eventually got down to what I had been waiting for the whole morning. The one on ones, and 3 on 3 drills. It was a lot of fun and very competitive. I’m not going to dive into detail about the number of wins and losses from the workout but I will say that I did represent for NYIT very, Very well.

I took from the workout that everything that I could do on the court versus “lesser” Division II competition worked against these top notch college players. Skills wise I am up there with the best that college basketball has to offer. However, in terms of conditioning I had to get back on top of it. I had taken my stamina for granted and stopped riding on the bike, running hills etc. It showed during the last 20 minutes of the workout. I was extremely fatigued. I was pleased with my performance but far from satisfied. I left the arena around 2 o clock in the afternoon. I am sure you could guess what I did later in the day.

I ate and slept from about 2:30pm until my 5 pm alarm went off 2 and half hours later. I woke up and went to the Fort McNair gym and rode on the bike for 1 hour. Ran sprints in the gym and then shot the ball for a good hour while I was fatigued. In order to grow you have to become comfortable where you are not comfortable. So that is exactly what I did.

I like the way I feel tonight. Pretty tired but I know that it will all pay off in the end. Got to get ready for my workout with Brooklyn on June 10th

Pt 2 of Hookers NBA Draft Journey is COMING SOON!!!!

Proof of Hookers insane work ethic that has him one step from the NBA.

"30 minutes of dribbling and then 2 hours of non stop shooting. I have to shoot at least 600 shots and be at or above the 88 percent mark." - Darian Hooker

#DarianHooker #NYIT #NBA #WashingtonWizards

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