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Indiana basketball legend Rick Mount brings shooting school to the Zone Tuesday

July 8, 2017
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Rick MountPLYMOUTH – An Indiana basketball legend will make his way to Plymouth Tuesday.

Purdue great Rick Mount will bring his shooting school to Plymouth at The Zone for two sessions July 11 for both boys and girls ages 10-18. Session one is from 9 a.m to noon and session two runs from 1 to 4 p.m.

Mount was a renowned sharp shooter at Lebanon High School in Indiana where he starred for four years culminating in being named Mr. Basketball in the state his senior year of 1966. He was the first high school athlete ever to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated.

As a junior, Mount led the Boilermakers to a final game appearance in the NCAA finals falling to Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul Jabbar) and UCLA in the final. He averaged 40.6 points a game for the tournament. Mount, averaged 35.4 points per game as a senior at Purdue, was a first-team All-American and is considered by many to be the greatest shooter of all time.

“We really didn’t have things like camps when I was a kid. We grew up doing things like shooting tennis balls into coat hangers — that kind of thing,” said Mount of his early days. “We learned what we learned playing on the playground, in the park, wherever, we just went out and played.”

 

It was a broad education for him.

 

“Whenever a sport came around we played it,” he said. “In the summer, we played baseball; fall, it was football. Whatever, when it came around you did it. We tried to be the best at everything. I was a pretty good quarterback. I probably played more baseball than anything growing up and I really feel like I could have gotten a scholarship to play baseball. I loved tennis. A couple of folks always told me I could have played on the tour. Whatever sport came around you played it.”

He did eventually come to his calling.

“My dad played basketball and he’d take me to his league games when I was a kid,” he said. “I really didn’t start to concentrate on any one thing until I was a freshman in high school. I think that depends on the kid. I mean you have kids at 9 and 10 years old playing AAU ball now. I don’t see anything wrong with concentrating on something, but play a bunch of sports.”

Having been through it himself, Mount cautioned young athletes about making the right decisions.

“A lot of these AAU guys will tell you the only way you’ll get a scholarship to play college ball is to play for their team, but honestly unless you’re playing for one of the shoe contract teams, that’s probably not true,” he said. “If you’re on the Nike team or the Adidas team yeah, maybe all the Division I coaches are there but the rest of them, maybe, maybe not.”

One thing that does make for a scholarship athlete hasn’t changed in Mount’s 47 years in basketball.

“You aren’t going to come to my camp and instantly be a great shooter,” he said. “You have to work at it. I’ve got a lot of knowledge about how to be a great shooter. I’ve worked hard to learn it and that’s why I keep doing this: To pass that knowledge along but you have to put the work in to make yourself better. You have to have that knowledge to start.”

“If you’re too lazy to take what you’re taught and put the time in to make yourself better, it’s not going to happen, and that’s when you’ll blame ‘the old man’ who didn’t know what he was talking about,” said Mount with a smile. “It doesn’t happen over night. You have to work on it, and work on it. If you don’t want to put that time in it’s not going to happen. You simply have to spend the time in the gym working on your fundamentals. You don’t get any better if you don’t.”

“That’s the amazing thing,” he said. “I’ve talked to parents and players who tell me, ‘We paid $8,000 and played 84 games and he still can’t dribble with his left hand.’ In essence he played 84 games and got no better. Instead of playing 84 games, he should have been spending that time and a lot less money working hard in the gym on his fundamentals to be a better player.”

Along with shooting, Mount hopes those at his camp will learn a little more.

“Focus,” he said. “No great player is a great player without focus. Whether it’s the first quarter or the last and you’re tired, that focus has to be the same. Doing little things right, putting the time in, whether you’re tired or not, that’s what makes a great player.”

You can still sign up for Rick Mount’s Shooting School at The Zone in Plymouth. To register, log on to The Zone’s website at thezonesportscomplex.org. Online registration will be available until July 10. Registrations will be taken at the door as well. For additional information contact Doug Griffiths at 574-210-3880 or via email at gnbeditor@aol.com.

 

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