#TGW: Wall-to-Wall Basketball

April 24, 2018

By Matt Winkeljohn | The Good Word

Ben Lammers is on the road once again, and much has changed what with all the travel, but one thing is no different than when he was blocking shots for Georgia Tech. He still sleeps whenever he gets a chance.

An ultra-dedicated mechanical engineering major who happened to play basketball for the Yellow Jackets the past four seasons, he’s just about all hoops these days, and he gets worn out while training at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.

His new agent set that up to help him prepare for professional basketball opportunities, including the June 21 NBA draft.

“I wake up around 7:30, have breakfast, and we do a lot of stretching, than then at 10:15 or 10:30 I work out with a weight coach, like lunges and body mobility stuff. Then, there’s a basketball workout on court and one-on-one with coaches. Every now and then work on something like pick-and-roll,” Lammers explained.

“I eat lunch and then pass out for two hours. Around 4:30, it’s more weight work, sometimes upper body, sometimes lower body, and after that there’s another basketball workout for about an hour. Dinner, and after that, pass out and start the process over.”

Tech’s season ended about seven weeks ago, and Lammers took time off to give his body a break. The 6-foot-10 center from San Antonio, Texas, suffered a sprained ankle in the second game of the season, and it never stopped bothering him. He also played through a knee sprain.

“It’s great,” he said of the ankle. “Honestly, it was a pain through most of the season. Once the season was over, I took a week, week and a half off. Everything’s good now.”

Several agents approached Lammers, and once the Jackets finished playing, he and his parents made the decision to go with Tandem Sports and Entertainment based in Washington, D.C.

With a lighter-than-usual course load this semester, Lammers has had more flexibility to travel.

First, he played in the Reese’s College All-Star Game for seniors on March 30 in San Antonio while the Final Four was in his hometown. He scored six points, grabbed four rebounds, blocked three shots and added a steal to help Georgia’s Yante Maten and the East squad to a 98-94 win over the West.

“That worked out great. It was a great experience,” Lammers recalled. “I got to meet a bunch of cool guys and show them some places, and then I was able to stay after the tournament for a few days with family.”

After returning to Tech for a week or so, he was off to Virginia to play April 11-14 in the Portsmouth Invitational, a long-running tournament where 64 college seniors are split into eight teams.

Scouts from every NBA team were there, and so were about a half dozen former ACC players including Matt Farrell of Notre Dame, Isaiah Wilkins and Devon Hall of Virginia and Anas Mahmoud of Louisville.

Lammers averaged 7.3 points and 3.3 rebounds with six blocks in three games for the Portsmouth Partnership. There wasn’t much preparation.

“I think it went pretty well. Obviously, I could do better, but I don’t think I hurt my chances. I could play a little better defense, get more rebounds,” he recalled. “My team met once before we played and that was the day of. I got in on Tuesday. We met Wednesday at 1, and played at 6. It was just enough time to put in some basic stuff.

“I think it was definitely a good thing to get going. You can only do so many workouts by yourself, and you’ve got to learn to work with other guys. It was definitely good practice.”

After a couple days back at Georgia Tech, Lammers traveled early last week to the IMG Academy. Other than a return to Atlanta to for a sociology final exam next Tuesday, he’ll work out there until June.

Graduation will wait, as he still needs to do his Capstone project in senior design.

“With the chaos of basketball there’s no way I would have been able to do it,” this semester. “Knowing that I’ll still have that for when I can be completely committed, I set aside a couple of engineering courses, too.”

While he’s hopeful of being drafted into the NBA, Lammers knows that there may be several other routes to a professional basketball career, including free agency and overseas options.

He anticipates plenty more travel, as NBA teams will soon begin inviting prospects to work out before the draft, which “I expect to be pretty chaotic.”

Lammers picked up a celebrity roommate this week in the person of Jairus Lyles, the star of the University of Maryland-Baltimore County’s upset of Virginia in the NCAA Tournament. Lyles, a 6-2 guard, scored 28 points on 9-of-11 shooting as the Retrievers became the first No. 16 seed in tournament history to beat a No. 1.

IMG’s working with Lammers, Lyles and other aspiring professionals on everything from basketball skills, strength and conditioning to interviewing techniques.

Soon, Lammers figures to apply all that he’s learned. In the meantime, he still does not watch much basketball on television.

“Not a whole lot,” he said with a chuckle. “I’m more of a video game guy if I have time. In my defense, I’m a Spurs guy, and they’re not looking amazing.”

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