Monday, January 9, 2017

TCA's Starks Got Heart

The first two shots barely grazed back rim, two no-doubter swishes from the top of the key.

So naturally, Adam Starks kept shooting. The crowd kept swarming into the gym at Conrad Academy, eager to see this buckets-in-bundles caliber scorer.

Remember, a deep shooting acumen and innate quickness catapulted Starks into a prolific scorer. At Family Christian Center in Claremont, FL, he averaged 30PPG during a 20-game season.

Confidence was never an issue. Being hesitant and deferring was simply never an option for the gritty 5-foot-10 guard. 

Starks got free again off the ball, drilling another 3-pointer as the steady crop of local teams filed into the gym. Starks had all of TCA’s nine points as they led 9-3.

With a defender draping him, Starks had to work for the ensuing bucket. He rolled off a screen and put the ball on the deck, banging it between his legs. 

Then, he unfurled a nifty step-back behind 3-point territory.


Starks, fueled by competitive juices and Godly inspiration, scored his team’s first 14 points en route to a pulsating 37-point performance during a dizzying 84-81 win over Game on the Rise Academy. While Starks began to attract double teams in the second half, he found open looks for teammates Dave Lopez and fed the post.

He continued to break free for his shot amid amplified coverage, cutting and slicing to the rim and turning in reverse layups and even a floater here and there.

At 5-foot-10 and 160 pounds, he was the little energizer bunny. And boy did he pump life into that previously pin drop quiet Conrad Academy gym. With TCA holding onto a thin 82-81 edge, with 11.1 seconds remaining, the ball wound up in—surprise, surprise—the hands of Starks. 

The smooth lefty, who wakes up at 4:30 a.m. at times for his early morning free throw regimen, knocked back both with ease.

Coaches describe Starks as a mature young man shouldering an intellectual basketball mindset, as you would expect from a high-academic kid.

He envisions the play before it happens and likes to embody the mindset of a coach in the way he prepares for each opponent. He’s definitely not like the rest.

And with his 4.0 Grade Point Average, Starks assesses the game as only a select few can.

Starks On Work Ethic

"I'm up at 5AM, which means I'm in the YMCA. I start off with a light job and then I devote about five minutes to legs and five minutes to arms. I get into it with my trainer KO Santos, who puts me through a work out. Then I train with coach Nik (Cicic) at Conrad Academy. We run over plays, we do ball handling drills, and we get a lot of shots up. Of course this is necessary for us, since we are pretty guard-oriented team. What's really great about it is that we're in the weight room constantly."

Starks on Taking The Prep Route

My favorite part about this whole experience is learning more about the game and getting to understand crucial aspects of the game that will help you at the next level. I try to get better each time I step on the floor, just taking advantage of the fact that I'm getting to play the sport I love.

Starks On Which Players He Emulates

The players I studied the most coming up was Isaiah Thomas (on the Boston Celtics) and New York Knicks guard Derrick Rose. I can relate to Thomas and guys like Nate Robinson because although they are the smallest guys on the court, they use their quickness and deep shooting and all out scoring ability to make up for that. This is similar to how I play, I try to use my skill-set and my awareness and smarts to make the best play. Those guys really influenced me, they showed me you can overcome a lack of height in this game.

Starks On His Identity As A Player

The best attribute of my game would probably be my handle and the fact that I can shoot the ball from deep. I'm also alert with what's going on at all times, which plays into my IQ as a player. The truth is, I'm playing a game I love and because of that I have to make sure I give it my all, every time I'm out there.