My Journey Featuring Darian Hooker Pt. 2


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 at Fort McNair gym located in SW, DC about to start his 5am workout

First off, shouts out to my whole NYIT team. You the best (DJ Khalid Voice). My girl Marija. Shouts out to my mom. She just complained that she didn’t get one in the last entry. Love you Jennifer Hooker. And my dad Franklin Hooker. Love you to. Shouts out my brother Demetri and Bo. And shouts out my best friends for life, Domo and Taschell. Lastly, be on the lookout for my friend Alonzo Paulino. He is the next up on the Baseball field. If you haven’t heard of him you will real soon. #GODSplan.

Hooker with parents Jennifer and Franklin Hooker after winning Metropolitan Player of the Year

Every day since my workout with the Washington Wizards I have adjusted my workouts a little. I normally do just two workouts a day of straight basketball 6 days a week. But now I wake up at 8 am to run hills and ride the stationary bike for 2 hours before each workout. I also began to weight train to prepare my upper body for the upcoming workout. I spoke to a few people about some weight and cardio tips but most people told me that, “If you haven’t really weight or cardio trained before, I would not start now with a workout coming so soon. Besides, how much stronger can your body get from now until the 10th.” However, my coach at NYIT, Andrew Cobian, told me something completely different and it helped me to know that what I was doing was right. He said, “If you needed more than 10 days to get in shape for the next workout then God would have gave you more days.”

Brothers Demetri and Bo

June 9th- The Day before the Nets Workout

Train leave at 3 pm. So I slept until 10 am. I had to wake up in time to watch ESPN First Take. Me and my brother always catch that show when we are in the house. By far my favorite show on ESPN. I got to the train on time and slept for the majority of the ride. I arrived to the Newark, New Jersey Amtrak station at around 7 pm. Finally when I entered to the hotel I laid in the bed and waited patiently for the Finals game to come on. Stephen Curry and the Warriors taking on Lebron James and the Cavaliers. Well… some of the Cavs.

The game started at 9 pm and I watch the first half. I turned off the TV at 10:30 pm when it was halftime of the game. I wanted to watch the whole game but I knew I had to wake up early and be ready for my workout. I’m trying to be on the stage very soon. You get there by performing, not watching.

For a while when I was laying down though, I could not go to sleep. Before every big game in my life I have a lot of negative thoughts that cross my mind. A lot of doubt arises inside of me. This has been something that has happened to me all of my life. When I was very young, like 9 or 10, I thought that this meant that I was not a confident person. I thought this meant that I wasn’t ready. I have learned that doubt doesn’t mean that you aren’t confident. It means that you care about the results of what you are about to do. Doubt, to me, also means that I am more than ready for whatever I am about to go through because the Devil will work his hardest on the people that GOD is about to allow to breakthrough to bigger and better things.

So that night when I was lying in bed and I couldn’t sleep, I continued to counter all of the negative thoughts with positivity. My mind would say “you aren’t ready,” and I would say “If I wasn’t then GOD wouldn’t have opened this door for me.” My mind would say “You got lucky in the last workout.” And I would say “Luck is a result of hard work and opportunity from GOD. So I’ll probably get lucky again.” Eventually the doubt stopped and I knew that I had won another mental battle. When I win the mental battle with myself there is nothing anyone else can do to stop me.

Hooker with his backbone Marija

JUNE 10th – The Day of the Workout

I woke up at 6:30 am for breakfast. After I ate, I get dressed and ready to head downstairs. As I was heading downstairs to the lobby to get picked up I received a text from a friend of mines. It was a screen shot of who would be in the workout with me that day. It says the guards I would be working out with Josh Richardson of Tennessee, Tyler Harvey of EWU, and Shannon Scott of Ohio State. The two bigs in the workout are Rakeem Christmas from Syracuse and Youssou Ndoye of St. Bonaventure. The next text I got from this friend was

“Josh Richardson got the bounce so don’t get dunked on. Shannon Scott got the locks so try not to get clamped up, and Tyler Harvery the best scorer in Division 1 so try not to get torched. Good Luck tho fam. Lol.”

Great vote of confidence for me. I know. But when I heard those names I knew that I was going to have a great performance because these are some very good players. I am a winner. I always think I am going to win. In order to win anything verse a group of guards like this you have to bring your best.

The van comes to pick us up at roughly 8:30 and we arrive to the gym at about 9. The workout was not scheduled to start until 10. So I decided to go and get a good workout in before the actual workout started. As soon as I got in the building I got changed and began my own workout. I made 300 shots in the next hour and got a good sweat going. I felt pretty good physically and I knew the extra shots would really help me get used to the rims and allow me to catch my rhythm. It also was something I wanted to do to test my conditioning workouts I was doing the previous 8 days. I wanted to get two workouts done today so I could see how I felt afterwards. So I went pretty hard in my own workout from 9-10.

We got started with the official workout at 10. The entire workout was like the Wizards one. High intensity and non-stop movement. We started off with stretching and then went to moves and layups. After moves and layups we did some full court drills. We then broke up into 3 groups. Me and Scott on one basket, Harvey and Richardson on another, and lastly Christmas and Ndoye on another. We did competitive shooting drills. Standstill and off the dribble.

Lastly, we got to my favorite part of everything I do in life. The competitive section. The 1 vs. 1’s, and 3 vs 3’s. It was very competitive and a lot of fun. Matching up with people who can really score like Harvey or defend like Scott really make me want to win that much more. I am not going to go into the numbers of wins and losses that I had in the workouts. But like last time I will say that I represented for NYIT very, VERY well. I shot, dribbled passed, and defended very well in the workout. Most importantly though, I was not fatigued at all. I felt very good after we finished. I could have went another round. That is what I was most proud of.

I performed very well in both workouts, with the Wizards and the Nets. I am proud of myself but I am not surprised with my performance. I put in the hard work for a long time and these are the results that are supposed to come from countless hours in the gym. I don’t have any more workouts scheduled so far. But hopefully some more pop up in the near future so I can open more people’s eyes to what I can do. I am thankful for the workouts that I have had because I know how difficult it is for an athlete from a Division II program to even get mentioned in a NBA boardroom. However, I am not satisfied with simply being seen. I have one foot in the door and I am going to keep fighting to get the other in the building. Once I am in, I am there to stay.

If these are the only NBA workouts I have this summer, at least I can say that I won a LOT more drills and games then I lost.

Top baseball prospect Alonzo Paulino and Hooker

Part 3 of Hookers NBA Draft Journey is COMING SOON!!!!

#DarianHooker #MyJourney #NBA #BrooklynNets

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