I sat down with Will Cummings and Quenton DeCosey at their hotel Tuesday morning to talk about their Summer League experience. Both players went to Temple University and are trying to grind their way to an NBA training camp. It was interesting to hear about this experience from lesser-known players who have a lot on the line here in Vegas.
Will Cummings played a year in the D-League making the All Star Team and Second Team All-D-League. Quenton finished his career at Temple this past year and went undrafted.
They had a lot to say about their experience playing for Coach Becky Hammon and what it's like to transition from college basketball to trying to make it here at the NBA level.
Below is the transcript:
Question: Tell me about your career at Temple University and your background. How did you end up on the Spurs Summer League Roster?
Cummings: I spent four years at Temple. I had a rough Freshman year and didn't really play much. Sophomore year I started a lot of games. We made the tournament and I think I averaged 5 points or so but was learning the role of point guard. My Junior year everything really took off. I scored a lot of points. Senior year I did the the same thing. Came out undrafted but was fortunate enough to do Summer League with Houston. I went to their vet camp and then preseason with Houston. After that I got waived and went to a D-League team. I had a really good D-League year, better than anyone expected. Was a D-League All Star and went to Toronto and made the all rookie team, second team all D-League. I had the opportunity to go to Italy after that and play for Trento [Serie A] for the playoffs. Then I started doing mini camps and now I'm at Summer League.
DeCosey: I ended up on the Spurs Summer League roster because Coach Dunphy [Temple University Head Coach] and Coach Pop have a good relationship and he asked if the Spurs had room on the roster. They said they had room and I found out Will [Cummings] would be on the team too. So it was nice that they picked me up. As a player I'm very versatile, I can do a lot on the floor, which is kind of how the Spurs play. They have a lot of versatile players. I defend hard, score the ball, I had a great season at Temple, went to the tournament and lost in the first round. Overall, I had a solid college career.
Question: What's the biggest difference between College & Summer League?
Cummings: The biggest difference is the pace and physicality. Everybody's good. Everybody's knowledge of the game is better. You can't make the plays you're used to making. You have to learn what plays you can and can't make and you gradually get better.
Question: What do you need to work on to the make it to the next level?
Cummings: I don't think about that type of stuff. When you go into games thinking about what you should and shouldn't do you play bad. So I just play the game and what the defense gives me I take. I'd like to show I can shoot the ball, play aggressive, and get everyone involved. I'm a point guard.
DeCosey: Offensively I need to work on being more efficient shooting. On defense I improved a lot. I can guard the 1-3 and even the 4 a little bit.
Question: What would you consider a successful Summer League? Where do you hope to go from here?
Cummings: Right now I'm just playing basketball. I learned just to play basketball and things take care of themselves. Realistically I want to get an invite to training camp somewhere, whether with the Spurs or someone else and compete for a roster spot. Having an actual shot to make a roster and have an opportunity. If that doesn't happen I'll weigh my options whether it be a D-League team or taking an offer from overseas.
DeCosey: The end goal would be to be invited to training camp.
Question: Tell me about what you did to improve physically and mentally from college till now.
Cummings: Mentally, Jake [Rachbauch, a Temple Graduate Assistant] just brought me out of my comfort zone. Being a leader and on court presence. My Junior year I'd have spurts where I'd be the best guy on the court but then just relax. We talked about what could hinder that so we could figure out how to always be in attack mode. My court presence and leadership was a big thing that Coach Dunphy wanted me to do. My Junior year I wasn't vocal enough and it would be all on Coach to say something. The stuff that me and Jake were doing [Both players emphasized how they really find-tuned their mental approach at Temple with the help of Jake Rauchbach's Mind Right Pro, an energy psychology program geared towards helping players get rid of mental blockages on the court] really brought that out.
He'll find out things that happened in your past that prevents you from reaching your full potential. For example, if someone passed away you retreat into your shell. Those type of things affect you and you don't even know it in the long run. Realistically it's all mental. You can go in the gym one day and shoot the same shots and keep missing. And the next day you shoot the same shots and your hitting. What's the difference? I became a firm believer that it's mental.
DeCosey: When I first heard about the program [Jake Rauchbach's "MindRightPro"] a couple of guys on the team had started with it and I was curious about what it was. Jake ran me through it and told me how he helps players with the mental side of basketball. At this level everybody can jump and is athletic but the mental side separates players. So I was interested to learn and we started my Senior year. He worked with me and it really helped my focus on the court, my free throw percentages went up. I didn't know what to expect but after doing it I could really tell it helped me stay engaged on the court. Block out negative things like people yelling at you and allows you to have tunnel vision.
Question: What's it like playing for Coach Becky Hammon? What is she like in the huddle?
Cummings: She's a cool person. She knows the game in and out. Watching her draw up plays in the huddle off-script, she just draws them up right there. She only had 10 seconds [speaking about the game winner against the Warriors on Saturday] because the referees were trying to spot the ball and she was trying to argue with them about where the ball was. So they blew the whistle and she had like 10 seconds. On the game winner the slip was the first option. She's a mastermind at that. She's calm, she's chill. It makes everyone calm and confident.
DeCosey: So far she's been really great. Really out-going and down to earth person. She really knows the game. It's been really good to pick her brain. She's really calm and confident. She drew up two great plays and they worked to perfection. I told her after the game when we won on Simmons buzzer beater: great call.
Question: Do you see her as an NBA Head Coach one day?
Cummings: Definitely. She has all the capabilities. She knows how to bring the best out of her players and how to talk to players. She's not controlling and she knows how to let you play.