NBA Jersey-Shirts: Good or Bad?

Since the start of the NBA season, they’ve been pushing a new style of basketball jerseys. The “short sleeved jerseys” or “jersey-shirts”.

Initially worn by the Golden State Warriors, the NBA had trial runs during the summer league, and now they’re really pushing them.

Of course, the main reason the NBA and Adidas are bringing them in is to boost jersey sales. Fans that love baseball, football, soccer, etc. love to wear jerseys, at games or just regular. You probably don’t see the sleeveless basketball jerseys around that often, except at basketball games [who remembers the “Mitchell and Ness” Throwbacks! :P]

We got mixed opinions ourselves, here’s of the DeenUP guys trying to figure it out:

Fans are one thing, players are another…some of them took their frustration to Twitter



What do you think, good or bad?

Let me know on Facebook, Twitter, or right down below.

How To Train

Author: Coach Ibrahim (aka Babs)

reggie-millerBasketball players often approach me for advice about how to train and what to focus on during workouts.

Now this seems like a straight forward question, but the answer is never simple. My response will vary from player to player, but the truth is that the underlying principles behind any successful training routine are the same for everyone.

Firstly, training is a lifestyle. It isn’t something you do when you feel like it or when you have free time. The “I train when I have time” approach to a workout regiment is your ticket to failure, as we tend to procrastinate and abuse our ‘free’ time. Higher level athletes look at training as an essential part of success, working out and perfecting our skills is something that we do religiously. For the high school student-athlete who is balancing a part-time job, family responsibilities, school, and training, I suggest the following 4 points to help you hone your game while maintaining balance and productivity.

1) ConsistencyWorking out consistently with dedication will help you achieve your best results. Sometimes it takes a different type of strength to have the discipline to overcome daily distractions but if you stick to your plan and set realistic goals you’ll notice quick improvements in your skill, strength, and endurance by making a good plan and following it.

2) Diet & HydrationMany young athletes believe that bigger is always better. Now this may be true in some cases but it certainly isn’t the key to food-pyramidanyone’s success on the ball court, just ask Reggie Miller.

When training, it’s always best to make sure you have a balanced diet.I If you’re trying to add lean muscle mass you should eat at the very least your body weight in grams of protein. For example, if you weigh 150 lbs you should eat at least 150 grams of protein per day and even more on heavy workout days. You should also consider that more than 70% of your muscles are composed of water and staying hydrated is a good way to ensure the healthy development of your muscles.

3) SleepConsistent sleep patterns are just as important as eating and training consistently. While you sleep, your body repairs damaged muscle fibres from your workouts and help you bounce back stronger. Poor sleep habits can negate the hard work you put into the gym if your body isn’t given enough time to recover through sleep. Always aim for 7 or 8 hours of sleep a night. EVERY NIGHT.

4) A Good PartnerHaving a dependable and driven partner when training is an essential part to the success of a workout routine, especially if you’re not a self-motivated person or you have lazy tendencies. I know first-hand how a good partner can keep you on track, as I have always been able to maintain my best levels of consistency when I have had a partner or a small group.

Apart from being a spotter on the bench press, a good partner will bring out the competitor in you, especially if you play the same sport and similar positions.  A partner will also give you someone to measure your progress against, and if you’re competitive and hate to lose then every session on the court or in the weight room will be a battle between the two of you.

Conclusion – These underlying principles are universal for everyone looking to train harder and essential if you want to be successful. As well as training, these four principles can also be applied to almost all obstacles that life throws at you. So utilize these four principles: consistency, healthy diet, proper sleep, and having a good partner/group in your corner.


The Boobie Miles Curse: Faisal Aden

In every neighbourhood across North America you have that one baller: above average height; below average weight; often sporting a funky afro, loud and even obnoxious at times, calling fouls and complaining about them in that same high pitched shriek.

Abdi! Ali! Mohamed!

Although less athletic than his African American/Canadian counterparts, the confidence is certainly on par with any high flyer who dreams of one day throwing it down in the big leagues.  But as hoop dreams fade into distant memories, the “almost made it” yesterday turn into the reminisced stories of tomorrow.

Leaving a question still to be answered: when will the NBA see its first Somali basketball player.  

Faisal Aden, Washington State

Faisal Aden, Washington State

Faisal Aden?

Many say the calm comes before the storm.

But for Faisal Aden, the 6’4 Washington State University Senior, that storm came in the form of the greatest basketball of his life right before being calmed by a knee injury (torn ACL). 

James “Boobie” Miles(born April 16, 1970) was a high school football star. Sought after by dozens of top college, everything for his promising career was derailed by a knee injury. Miles then attended Ranger College for a year and played as a fullback before flunking out and has since had trouble holding jobs.

He was the subject of the popular book and then movie Friday Night Lights by H.G. Bissinger

Faisal Aden

Faisal Aden

Aden led the Washington State Cougars to upsets over Stanford and California, scoring a career-high 33 points against the Cardinals and 24 against the Bears. He was subsequently named Pac-12 Conference Men’s Basketball Player of the Week. Everything came to an abrupt end during a game against Arizona.

The San Diego native, born in Somalia, demonstrated great scoring ability getting the attention of many rival schools.

Fresh off the Olympics where Somali-British long distance runner Mo Farah won two gold medals, and Somalis worldwide rejoiced, we can be assured that Faisal Aden is somewhere in a gym motivated, recovering and working so he can one day see his time come.

When your school produces a first round 11th overall pick (Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors) and you are arguably the second best player on that team, that’s something to be proud of!

Whether or not Faisal Aden ever sports an NBA jersey, he has definitely encouraged some Somali kid out there to continue shooting, dribbling, and passing his way to a title that one day will help him celebrate: The First…

[Article Written by Prenze]

No One Plans To Get Fat…

Most people you’ll meet have an interest in “health” and want to be fit. After all, wouldn’t you take six-pack abs if you had the choice?

The problem is there’s a disconnect between what we want and what we actually do. Obviously everyone believes carrots are better for you than cake, but we both know which one clears the fridge first :)

“Some people have a foolish way of not minding what they eat. For my part, I mind my stomach very carefully; he who does not mind his stomach will hardly mind anything else.” – Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)

Why We Eat What We Do

These are the main factors behind your food choices:

  1. Taste - you eat what you like
  2. Convenience – fridge vs. grocery store vs. restaurant
  3. Emotions – When you’re sad, you reach for the ice cream. Fact.
  4. Religion – yeah that pork chop might be off the list, permanently
  5. Culture – eat that curry, make momma proud of her authentic Brown kid
  6. Health Beliefs and Nutrition – you’ll down the broccoli because it’s green, not because it tastes great
  7. Medical Conditions – Resist that Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup…unless you think a hospital ride is worth it
  8. Socioeconomic Status – McDonald’s burgers if you got $5, Red Lobster if you got $50

Just from that list, you can see how some of it is your control and some of it isn’t. Your best bet is to slowly add the “good-for-you” stuff that’s within your budget.

Starting Your Training Regimen


Fresh Off The Couch!

Fresh Off The Couch!

Did you know that the same exercise has different results for different people?

I’m not saying that a bicep curl can get you more hops, but the impact of workouts vary depending on your training history.

For a person at the early stages of strength training, a novice we’ll call it, can do a single workout and the recovery from that single workout is enough to cause muscle growth. That’s pretty cool right?

Early Muscle Growth

But don’t get too happy if that happens to you when you go to the gym, because it’s a temporary phase. See a novice is just beginning to put their body under intense stress in bursts, but their natural tendency is to be inactive. That’s why progress is almost automatic.

Also, this new stuff is a huge change for



your body so you’ll experience improvements in areas you don’t even train for!

For example: Focusing on biking to build conditioning can also help bump your maximum squats, this doesn’t happen for experienced trainees because their progress in strength and mass is linked to very specific training programs. 

At the novice stage, two things happen at every workout:

  1. Test your strength
  2. You’re stronger for the next workout if you “passed” the test (ie. muscle growth from previous training)

If you’re moving an extra 5 pounds for a set, it confirms the success of your previous workout. You’ve increased your strength and caused your body to adapt to become stronger to handle more and more.

What happens next?

Well depending on your intensity and consistency, the novice moves up to being an intermediate trainee between the Month 3-9 of training. You know you’re there when performance plateaus and merely entering the gym no longer makes you stronger…so if you recently started strength training or are thinking about it (of course you’re always “thinking” about joining a gym)  then get to it.

The results do come quick and you’ll love experiencing that growth.

For the more advanced guys, we’ll continue this discussion next time.

-Babatunde Ibrahim


Image from DeenUP Basketball Clinic in Durham with Coach Ibrahim and Hassan Phills

Are You Standing Properly?

Before I even meet you, I know you can grow at least 1-2 inches taller.

I’m not talking about “drink more milk” or have a magic pill to sell you, it’s just that you probably have a posture problem. Most people do.

By poor posture, you may think to un-slump your shoulders. But the thing is, over time, your poor posture can cause havoc on your shoulders, hips, spine, and knees. More specifically it can cause joint pains, reduce flexibility, decrease muscle strength, limit you in many ways physically and you probably won’t look as good either.

I’m not telling you this to hurt your feelings or anything, this can be resolved.

You ready?

Ok, instead of reading about this I’d rather show you.

Align Yourself

1) Find someone take two full-body photos, one from the front and one from the side. Just don’t ask a stranger…it’ll be awkward. Trust me.

2) Stay straight and keep your muscles relaxed, but stand as you normally would (don’t try to pull in the gut or anything). Feet hip-width apart.

3) Now compare your photos with the illustrations below to see if you have any noticeable posture problems.


Posture Test



What do you notice about your posture?

Once you spot the problem, parts 2 and 3 of this series will teach you how to resolve them and build the perfect posture.

7 Keys to Mental Toughness


Mental Toughness

Mental Toughness

You want to be a legit tough guy?

“A legitimate tough guy is a fierce competitor, an athlete who looks at pressure as a challenge, who refuses to lose, and never, ever quits” (Mack, 2001). Nothing should stand in between you and success but your will to win.

Like physical skills mental toughness can be learned. Just as most things in life, it’s through quality instruction and practice.

These are 7 characteristics that define mental toughness:

1) Competitive – A competitor will find a way to win; competitors take bad breaks and use them to drive themselves even harder. Quitters take bad breaks and use them as reasons to give up.

Believe me, you will never regret failure, but you will regret not trying. Micheal Jordan is a perfect example for this; he is the only professional athlete who tried another sport. He simply refused “not trying”, even though the result was kind of a failure.

Baseball Jordan

Baseball Jordan


A bit of history, Jordan tried his hand with baseball in 1993-1994 and the result wasn’t pretty. But it was something he had to do. Then he came back with a fresh perspective on his basketball career and took the Bulls for a second three-peat

2) Confident - “Every time I play, in my own mind I’m the favourite” (Tiger Woods). Jordan said he went into every game believing he was the best player on the court until someone proved otherwise; clearly no one did. They say when you practice, train as if you are in second place and play as if you are the best!

3) Control - The hallmark of mentally tough athletes is the ability to maintain poise, concentration, and emotional control under pressure.

When the clock is ticking down, a player like Kobe is composed and doesn’t get carried away by emotions. He is focused on the target and the win, not the pressure.

4) Committed -  The difference between you and the person better than you is commitment.

Mentally tough athletes focus their time and energy on their goals and dreams. They are go-getters! Are you?

5) Composure- How do you react when someone sets that illegal screen on you? Or plays dirty?

Childs v. Bryant

Childs v. Bryant


Are you ready to throw that punch?

If you retaliate, most likely you will be the one thrown out of the game, and the other player is laughing at you. Keep your cool when the heat is on!

6) Courage - Are you satisfied with where you are?

Greater the risk, the higher the potential reward. Keep in mind, it takes courage to grow up and to achieve your full potential.

7) Consistency – Mentally tough players possess an inner strength. They have the ability to consistently play the same way regardless of how they are feeling.

Hakeem Olajuwon played when he was fasting, and still put up some of his best numbers.

Hakeen "The Dream" Olajuwon

Hakeen “The Dream” Olajuwon

“At the beginning of my career, when my teammates heard I was fasting during the season they thought it would affect my game and were concerned,” explains the 12-time All-Star. “But when they saw that it actually made me better, there was a lot of admiration and intrigue: ‘How can you play at this level without drinking water, they would ask.”

Olajuwon was the NBA player of the month for the month of February in 1995 when he was observing Ramadan. He is the “only player in NBA history to be named MVP, Defensive MVP, and Finals MVP in the same season, two NBA titles, Olympic Gold Medalist, multiple All-Star and All-NBA seasons (regular and defensive), most blocked shots ever, and so many others”.

We really don’t have an excuse now…

What do you think; you have what it takes to be mentally tough?

Basketball Diet – Rule #1

Basketball Diet

Basketball Diet

It’s been more than a month since the first DeenUP clinic was launched in Durham. Week-to-Week the guys have learned new skills, moves and fine tuned aspects of their game.

The next phase is to ensure they properly fuel and condition themselves to reach the pinnacle of their academic and athletic prowess.  

See, all too often in our busy lives we sacrifice quality for convenience.

In order to balance our time and hectic schedules, instead of eating a nutritious breakfast we’ll stop at Timmies for a dose of caffeine and artificial sugars. Then at the end of the day we make our closest companion the computer screen our living room couch…Tisk tisk tisk.

I’ll be the first to admit it’s extremely easy to fall in love with the couch when prime time NBA play-off game’s on, and I too am guilty of indulging in the occasional “timbit” or double chocolate donut. Shocking right.  But as an athlete AND a student, I am conscious of two important rules: 1) YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT, 2) INPUT = OUTPUT.  

Let’s talk about Rule #1: You Are What You Eat

You Are What You Eat

Image by Cayusa

This is what you’ve got to keep in mind:

  • - Athletes achieve peak performance by training and eating the right way.
  • - Skip the fast and overly processed foods! (They gunk up your arteries and can slow you down on and off the court. Needless to say, but I will anyway, there are long-term ramifications)
  • - If you need a quick fix and can’t get any wholesome food within the first hour of a workout, grab a sub or sandwich with a meat or alternative and lots of veggies. The bread and meat will satisfy your bodies need for macronutrients (Carbohydrates and Protein), while a variety of vegetables will provide the micronutrients (Vitamins and Minerals) your body needs to recover and regenerate.
  • - Get hydrated! Drink water throughout the day and drink moderate amounts during your workout. Throw down a sports drink after your workout to help replenish your electrolytes; my personal favorite is coconut water (Keep a lookout for my Gatorade versus Coconut Water blog).
  • - The next time you’re thinking about snacking on a donut or a chocolate bar, consider keeping a bag of trail-mix with nuts, dried fruit, and seeds in your pocket. A good trail mix will have all the right types of fat, protein and sugar that can give you the quick energy boost and edge you need in the classroom and on the court.

Thread the Needle – Rajon Rondo Passing Drill

If you’re going to learn something, learn from the best.

Here’s Rajon Rondo with a passing drill.

What is it for?

This training is working on “threading the needle” passes.

One of the best ways to improve your court vision is to learn different styles of passing, so you always have options.

How to use this?

This skill is useful especially when:

  1. You’re on a fast break and you have very little space to get a pass off.
  2. You can pass off to a big man to drive and dish.
  3. You can get the ball into the post; many times when defenders are all over you, you need to find a way to get the ball to the big man inside.

The key is to get low, to have an eye on the target and practice this before you implement it. Our body is so dynamic that it can learn and adapt to anything. All you need to practice “threading the needle” passes are a few chairs and a partner. If you don’t have a partner there, make friends with the wall…it won’t judge you if you mess up either.


Let’s take a look at this pass being used in a real game.

A regular pass is only an arm’s length for the opponent to steal or deflect, but to catch a bounce pass they have to bend and reach for the ball (which also takes away the momentum).

See how he “thread the needle”, put the perfect bounce and ‘spin’ on the ball for a precise pass, years of practice went into developing that pass.