Kansas men’s basketball forward Jalen Wilson and Missouri guard Isaiah Mosley attended the Formula Zero elite camp Thursday through Saturday at Hoop YMCA in Beaverton, Oregon.
The camp, which was attended by 21 college players who served as counselors and 19 high school players, was run by six-time NBA All-Star Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers and Lillard’s longtime personal trainer, Phil Beckner.
Beckner, a graduate of Kansas Wesleyan College in Salina, Kansas, has worked as an assistant men’s hoops coach at Nebraska, Weber State and Boise State, coached in the NBA G League and also has trained many NBA players, including the 32-year- old Lillard, who is about to enter his 11th season with the Blazers.
Wilson, a 6-foot-8 native of Denton, Texasaveraged 11.1 points and 7.4 rebounds a game his redshirt sophomore season for national champion KU.
Mosley, 6-5 from Columbia, Missouri, averaged 20.4 points a game as a junior at Missouri State. Mosley entered the transfer portal at the conclusion of the 2021-22 season and decided to attend his hometown school, Mizzou.
Other players serving as counselors at Lillard’s camp were Jaden Akins (Michigan State), Trey Alexander (Creighton), Souley Boum (Xavier), Keyonte George (Baylor), Graham Ike (Wyoming), Dillon Jones (Weber State), Caleb Love ( North Carolina), Dayvion McKnight (Western Kentucky), Mike Miles (TCU), Kris Murray (Iowa), Tylor Perry (North Texas), Zyon Pullin (UC Riverside), Will Richard (Florida), Hunter Sallis (Gonzaga), Marcus Sasser (Houston), Terrence Shannon (Illinois), Jalen Slawson (Furman), Azuolas Tubelis (Arizona) and Bryson Warren (Overtime Elite).
The 19 high school attendees were Airious Bailey, Carter Bryant, Blake Buchanan, David Castillo, Kaden Cooper, BJ Davis, Trentyn Flowers, Scotty Middleton, Jamari Phillips, Jace Posey, Aaron Powell, Brandon Rechsteiner, Jackson Shelstad, Dusty Stromer, Dedan Thomas , Ja’Kobe Walter, Isaiah Watts, Simeon Wilcher and Money Williams.
According to the Formula Zero Website: “Formula Zero is a community of elite basketball players led by Damian Lillard and Phil Beckner. This community is not for everyone. It exists only for those who have an obsessive and relentless passion to do things differently. This Formula is not fake or superficial. It impacts real change and has molded one of the best players on the planet (Lillard). We care about you and want to tell you the truths that will help you succeed. If you are lucky enough to be invited just know; we want nothing from you, but everything for you.”
The Formula Zero motto is “No Poodles. Only Pit bulls.”
In discussing the camp, Beckner told oregonlive.com: “We have phenomenal players here from the college level and from the high school level, kids that he (Lillard) is going to be competing against in a couple of years. And we want to give them the truth — the good, the bad, the ugly, whatever it may be.”
Lillard told koin.com he is passionate about helping players develop a realistic attitude about someday playing in the NBA.
“Everybody has a manager and a handler and an agent and people who are hanging on to you because they feel like you’ve got a chance to make it. I see it over and over and over. It’s not affecting them in their route to getting to the NBA or their route to being a professional because it’s a lot easier to make it to the NBA now, but it’s a lot harder to stay,” Lillard told koin.com.
“All of these people hanging on to them and … putting them in a position where they feel entitled, and their mentality is messed up about what it’s going to be and having to earn stuff and having to work and taking criticism and listening and being coachable and stuff like that. Those things, it lets them down when they get in a professional environment, and their talent can’t get them through.
“You’ve got to be stable and strong mentally. You’ve got to be sturdy and have something to stand on because it gets tough for all of us. Not just young players, even the best players. I want to help these kids. A lot of them are ranked and have a lot of followers on Instagram, but I want to help them have the stuff that’s not just a talent. It’s not given to them,” Lillard added.
KU, K-State recruit attended Lillard camp
Kaden Cooper, a 6-foot-5, 180-pound senior wing from Skill Factory Prep School in Atlanta who attended the Lillard camp in Portland, recently narrowed his list of prospective colleges to 10.
They are: Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, Gonzaga, LSU, Alabama, Memphis, and Georgia Tech.
Cooper — he is originally from Ada, Oklahoma — is ranked No. 36 in the recruiting Class of 2023 according to Rivals.com, No. 38 by On3.com and No. 45 by 247sports.com.
Rob Cassidy of Rivals.com has called Gonzaga, Oklahoma, Texas, LSU and KU the leaders.
“The Jayhawks are a bit of a dark horse, but it was difficult to keep the defending champs off the list completely. There’s definitely mutual interest between the two parties, and Cooper has mentioned a desire to eventually visit Lawrence,” Cassidy wrote in a recent article.
“Beyond that, it’s unclear where things stand. It seems as though KU has higher priorities for the time being. The Jayhawks have a slew of talented young wings on their roster and are the heavy favorites to land (combo guard) Chris Johnson when he announces on Aug. 2. That may or may not have an effect on things.”
KU did indeed receive a commitment from Johnson on Tuesday.
Scotty Middleton picks Ohio State
Scotty Middleton, a 6-6 senior forward from Sunrise Christian Academy in Bel Aire, Kansas, on Sunday orally committed to play basketball at Ohio State.
Middleton, who is ranked No. 59 in the recruiting Class of 2023 by Rivals.com, chose OSU over KU, UConn, Texas A&M and Seton Hall.
“Middleton’s commitment should make Buckeyes fans giddy as he’s a versatile prospect that can develop and fill different roles in the coming seasons,” wrote Travis Graf of Rivals.com. “He’s young in basketball years, only playing for a few seasons.
“Middleton has length to defend multiple positions and can be used in a variety of ways on the offensive end. At his best, Middleton can be the type of player we saw at the GEICO Nationals, where he went 5-of-8 from the field and 4-of-4 from the outside on the way to 16 points on a big stage. Consistency is the next step in the four-star’s development.”