After playing in his first professional season, former Liberty County High School and University of Tennessee basketball player Jordan McRae is home and ready to give a little back to his community.
McRae will host the Jordan McRae Basketball Skills Academy June 6-7 at Midway Middle School.
“I feel like I have a lot to share and I have a lot in common with the people here,” said McRae, who was the 58th overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft. “There are a lot of things I did learn in high school, but there (are) also a lot I didn’t. I want to share my knowledge of what I learned in college and what I learned this past year in the pros.”
McRae was drafted by the San Antonio Spurs, then quickly traded to the Philadelphia 76ers. During the 2014 NBA Summer League, he averaged 21 points per game for the Sixers. He spent his first season of development in Australia, playing 27 games for Melbourne United in the National Basketball League.
McRae sparked the Australian fan base, averaging 19.9 points in 29.9 minutes per game, and was NBL’s second-leading scorer. He hit 44.1 percent of his shots from the field and connected on 51 three-pointers over the course of the season, good for fifth in the league.
The 6-foot-5 scorer spent four years at Tennessee, where he started all 37 games as a senior and averaged 18.7 points in 32.2 minutes per game.
After his stint in Australia, he joined the NBA D-League, playing for the Delaware 87ers, the Sixers’ affiliate. In 13 games played, he averaged 34.4 minutes per game and 18.4 points per game, including a career-high 39 points in one game.
McRae said the Sixers still own his rights, so he will play in their summer league once again this year.
“I plan to keep doing what I do and play well,” he said, adding that this year, the Sixers have the option to sign him or cut him. They have until Sept. 10 to make that choice.
Growing up in Hinesville, McRae said he always had to travel to Atlanta to seek out elite training camps. He said now that he understands the business and politics of the game as well as the level of skill and training it takes to become a professional, it was time to bring that knowledge back home.
“Kids need to understand how much work it takes to get there,” he said. “There are a hundred-thousand-odd players overseas trying to go professional, you have the D-league players trying to make an NBA team … all these kids from all around the world trying to fill a limited number of spots in the professional circuit.”
But he said that with a lot of hard work and determination, anything is possible.
“Getting drafted showed the kids around here that it is possible …,” McRae said. “The things that Raekwon McMillan is doing in football right now … we are letting everybody know we may come from a small town, but there is a lot of talent in this town and a lot of talent that has yet to be seen.”
McRae said former LCHS and University of North Florida basketball standout Germaine Sparkes will offer his basketball knowledge by assisting at the camp.
“Germaine was somebody I looked up to when I was in high school,” McRae said. “He was somebody that coach (Willie) Graham was in my head about. … He was always telling me how Germaine did things and I looked up to him growing up.”
Sparkes played in 87 games with 73 starts in his collegiate career. Sparkes’ 29 starts during his freshman year of college were the most by any freshman in school history, and his 1,001 minutes were the most played by a freshman in school annals.
In addition to Sparkes McRae said an assistant trainer from Best Ball Analytics will train the campers.
Best Ball Analytics has trained Kevin Durant, Jeff Green, Ty Lawson and many NBA players and draft picks.
On June 6, camp runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. offering advanced drills. The camp continues the next day from noon to 4 p.m. and will include a scrimmage.
The camp is limited to the first 100 registrants. The fee is $140 per person and is open to sixth through 10th graders. The camp includes a camp playbook and T-shirt.
The deadline to register is May 23 or when the 100 spots are filled. To register, go to Higherlearninghoops.com
For more information call (954) 805-0829.