Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Catching Up WIth: Drew Hanlen, Pure Sweat Basketball

You may remember Drew Hanlen thriving as a deceptively athletic 5-foot-11 guard at Webster Groves High, where he poured in 1,648 career points.

You may also remember Hanlen possessing a deft touch from well beyond the arc. You may also remember Hanlen going shot for shot with Austin Rivers during a dizzying upset bid of Duke back in 2011. Belmont wound up short, 77-76. Hanlen's shooting display, however, was simply a portent of what was to follow.

The gritty little guard emerged into one of NCAA Division-I's most accurate 3-point trigger men. During a four-year career, he registered his presence during a pair of NCAA tournament berths.

When graduation came, Hanlen fended off any "real world" jitters. Knowing basketball was not only his labor of love but the tool to his future, Hanlen had no illusions or trepidation about his career path.

While traveling the world in hoops shorts and basketball kicks might seem like the dream job and desired life to the rest of us, Hanlen assures us the grind is real. For Hanlen, basketball and fitness have become a lifestyle. They've also been integral ingredients leading him to where he is today.

ZS: Training has never been an exact science. Obviously there are different methods each guy takes as far as skill development. What are some of the key concepts you focus on to keep the brand fresh? What formula do you use that are strictly Pure Sweat's own?

DH: We strive to offer the most in-depth training services around. We use film breakdowns and advanced analytic evaluations and to help us customize purposeful training plans for each of our clients.

ZS: Basketball has taken you all over the world. One of the recurring gripes has been American basketball is losing its edge. This past season, Kobe even said the AAU scene is allowing American basketball to deteriorate. He opined that Europe is producing a more polished talent pool.

What's your take on this. Is the skill-set eroding in America and are will still at the world's mountaintop for hoops?

DH: I think Kobe's comments were harsh, because the U.S. is still dominating the rest of the world when it comes to basketball. I do agree, however, that too much emphasis is placed on early age success and rankings. Players should focus on becoming the best player they can be and let everything else work itself out. It'll help them in the long run.

ZS: Given the NBA clientele, how much film do you consume?

DH: I watch every possession of every one of my clients' careers to ensure that I can provide the most detailed feedback so we can make improvements that lead to better on-court play.

During the season, I send my players film breakdowns after every game to ensure they keep their games and minds sharp throughout the season.

ZS: Who were some of your earliest influences, hoops-wise?

DH:  My mom encouraged me to work hard on my skills daily at my local rec center ("THE BURY") and always provided a ride to the gym or rebounded for me whenever I asked, while my dad taught me how to lift properly.

 I was always blessed to play for a ton of great coaches, including my high school coach, Jay Blossom, who really helped me develop as a player.

ZS: How do you assess some of the off-season transactions and improvements of some of your primary guys and beyond?

DH: David Lee will be a huge pick-up for the Celtics. He'll get back to playing at an All-Star type level and provide leadership thta will help elevate the play of the young players.

He'll get back to playing at an All-Star type level and provide veteran leadership that will help elevate the play of all their young players.

Andrew Wiggins and Bradley Beal will both have a considerable chance to make their first All-Star games. Both are great two-way players that will have breakout seasons.

Zach LaVine and Jordan Clarkson will prove their All-Rookie campaigns weren't flukes and will  both show why they will be stars in this league for years to come. Dwight Howard will be back to full strength and prove that he still is hte best center in the NBA, while knocking down some free throws for the first time in his career.

ZS: Positive energy and an overabundance of adrenaline is basically a requirement in your profession. Which tools do you apply to stay motivated and in which ways do you get better at your craft?

Honestly, I wake up each day with a smile because I know how blessed I am. Not only because I am living out my dream, but because I have an amazing family and group of friends. I have a great group of clients that have become my brothers and have a great team of people that work with me daily to grow Pure Sweat. When you surround yourself with great people and always look on the bright side, there is no choice but to be happy at all times.