Mentorship Member: Basi Prokofyev

My name is Basi Prokofyev, I am 29-years old, born in a small town in Russia. I always wanted to be a professional basketball player, even though the odds were against me. Growing up, I was 5’11 and started playing basketball at (12). At the age of twelve (12), I already had it in my mind that I was going to be a professional player. 

Fast forward to 2019, I had pro stints in Belarus, México and Ecuador and now starting the third season as a personal coach for Aaron Jackson (professional player who won Euroleague championship with CSKA Moscow, played for Rockets in 2018 and currently playing his third season in CBA China). My duties include on-court and sports performance training, video analysis, both basketball and movement quality and anything else needed to make sure Aaron is staying game ready and constantly developing physically or skill-wise.

During my free time, I travel to consult other professional players or teams, mostly in Russia or China. I started training players in 2013 while still pursuing a playing career. Since then I had a chance to conduct clinics, camps or private training in seven (7) countries (Russia, China, USA, South Korea, Kazakhstan, México, Ecuador) and had a chance to work with players who have NBA, WNBA, Olympics and Euroleague experience.

Here are five principles that have helped me along the way:

Have a goal and take action. To me, goals and dreams are not synonyms. I believe a goal is something that you CAN accomplish. Dream – something unrealistic.

Know yourself. No matter what others may think, nobody knows more about yourself than YOU. Do not let others’ opinions affect what you can do. At the same time, be ready to accept the feedback from other people, even if it is negative. Build confidence through repetitions and extra work.

Have mentors and be a mentor for others. There will always be people who reached the same goal earlier. Find them and do whatever is needed to learn from them. Also, help those who look up to you as a role model. Basketball is a great gift and you can influence people’s lives through it, both on and off the court.

Be relentless about what you do. Finding time to improve daily is a MUST. If you are not getting better, you are getting worse. Before going to sleep, ask yourself a question: “Have you done something that got you closer to where you want to be?”

Do what is not expected from you. How will people know what you are capable of doing if they have never seen your work?

Every player is SPECIAL. One of the many roles of a coach is to take an athlete where he cannot go on his own. Learn what a person wants, get advice from people who know/worked with them before and then figure out how you can help them achieve their goal. It is your job as a coach/teacher to put people in situations where they CAN do first. Then put in somewhere they CANNOT and let them grow from there.

Now that I am a mentor to others, here are the questions I constantly ask myself:

What stops that person from reaching their potential?

What needs to be done and is the person motivated enough?

Am I really helpful or just pretend to?

Those are the same questions I ask myself daily when working with a player, no matter if he/she just wants to become a pro or already plays at a high level.

For the first time, I had a chance to work with Ganon in 2017 during a 7-day basketball camp in Beijing, China. He showed me what the real passion is and how to be a great teacher not only on the court but more importantly outside of it. Since that time, anytime we meet, I make sure I have something to take notes because every meeting is like a new lesson at school.

When I was invited to develop a youth basketball academy in the city of Wuxi, China in 2017, I emailed Ganon right away asking for advice on how I can keep developing in China. In May 2017 with your help I already had a trial 5 days of work for OneBall, doing NBA player breakdowns for Chinese TV which led to a full-time contract.

I am forever grateful for the Mentorship that I received and continue to receive from Ganon. 

Thank you!

If you want to be apart of our growing Mentorship Program, send us an email at: [email protected]

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