Amar’e Stoudemire’s career was built on power, freakish athleticism, and raw talent. Entering his 11th season in the league, the straight out of high school star is adding another dimension to his game guided by one of the greatest centers in NBA history.
For three weeks, Stoudemire worked with Hakeem Olajuwon in Houston to refine his post game and establish an array of moves that could transform him into a multi-dimensional offensive force.
“When I came out of high school, I was just thrown the ball to and told, do what you do best,” Stoudemire explained. “I never got a chance to develop my game as far as a post player. Working with Hakeem is going to be a great advantage for me.”
Stoudemire owns career averages of 21.6 points per game and 8.8 rebounds but the goal of the recent “Dream Camp” was to continue his evolution on the floor while adjusting to head coach Mike Woodson’s offensive system.
“Coach Woodson's style is an inside-out game. So, it’s important for him to develop me as a post player and I was willing and ready,” Stoudemire said.
The power forward made a good point while speaking to the media about his motivation to enhance his game. Olajuwon was deadly on the blocks but the Rockets center also damaged opponents with a solid face-up perimeter jumper. To effectively throw the opponent off balance, Stoudemire will look to incorporate all facets of Olajuwon’s arsenal.
“Just another threat – another area on the court that I can work on and try to perfect. It’s about become a complete basketball player and being able to play inside-out on the perimeter, being able to shoot, and have a solid free throw percentage. All that contributes to being an all-around basketball player,” Stoudemire emphasized.
Prior to a signing for his new book, “STAT: Home Court” at Barnes & Noble in Manhattan on Monday morning, Stoudemire candidly spoke about his difficult 2011-12 season. The 29-year old was attempting to recover from the back injury that limited him in the playoffs against the Celtics in 2011 prior to the start of the lockout-shortened season.
“This is a total different feel – total different workout regiment this summer,” Stoudemire said. “It’s back to what I’m used to doing. Last summer was more so rehabbing my back and just trying to strengthen my back. I couldn’t play any basketball; have any contact sport throughout the summer, so I couldn’t get in top shape. This year is a totally different playing field – I feel phenomenal. “
While most of the attention has surrounded his offensive work with Olajuwon, Stoudemire understands the importance placed on the defensive side of the floor, especially under Woodson’s direction.
“Obviously, defense is the key to winning championships and that’s something I’m dedicated on also, to become a much better defensive player. It’s going to happen; it’s just a matter of preparation and practice, just getting that chemistry on that end of the court, “Stoudemire added.
With training camp just around the corner, fans could catch a glimpse of a new-look Stoudmeire soon. And, yes, maybe even the famous, “Dream Shake”.