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Tall Tales of Deng and Thomas at IMG Academy

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I emailed IMG Exec Director (and ESPN analyst) David Thorpe about this photo of Thomas and Deng at the academy asking about their relative height.

He graciously replied with more information than I asked for , detailing their experience there, and said I could share it with you all here. Commence drooling:

Both guys left on Friday after 2 weeks, and both will return again for lengthier stays. 2 weeks is all I want to see NBA players for this early in the summer. TT will return before summer league, if indeed Vinny wants him to play. Tyrus told Paxson in April that he would love to play in the summer league.

These guys are amazing. Our sessions started at 10am each morning, but both guys arrived no later than 8:30am. Every morning. They had their own pre-practice ritual of warming up, stretching, shooting and dribbling. Then they participated in our version. Our future NBA and European pro players loved them, and respected their attitudes and work ethic. I'm sure Bulls fans will be very happy with what they see from TT, who actually improved in a number of areas last season despite the bad environment.

He is deeply sorry for the missed practice, but there were serious circumstances involved. It was a far more complicated issue than what was known publicly. As Luol told me, TT had never even been late to a practice or meeting one single time prior to that day. I hope Chicago keeps Luol there: he looks incredible and is working so hard at being tougher to defend on the dribble, advancing his post game, and improving his range of his shot.

One interesting note: I paired Kevin Martin with Tyrus for an hour long shooting session one afternoon so TT could watch the little things Kevin does as a shooter/shotfaker. In the last 25 minutes, I can honestly say that Kevin not only never missed a single shot (that I saw), but I never even saw him hit the rim. It was a stunning display of shooting, but afterwards, all Kevin could talk about was how special of a talent Tyrus is. TT also shot very well, had his moves and fakes looking like a pro, and had such a positive disposition that afternoon. I told Kevin that TT is that way every day, as long as he is surrounded by like-minded guys. I believe Vinny will be great for TT, and I told that to Kevin, who responded with "then the Bulls are going to be really good again".

Of course, Thorpe's understandably biased in favor of his pupils, and has frequently included glowing remarks for Bulls players in his ESPN chats. 

But I treat this as a feel-good Father's day post. Tyrus is sort of the son of BaB...or something.