30 August 2011
Calvin Haynes can’t remember the last time he had an offseason.
It certainly hasn’t been this summer by any means. There’s just too much at stake.
After graduating from Oregon State in the Spring, Haynes shifted his focus from Corvallis to playing professionally overseas, an adventure married with a bit of the unknown as Haynes waits to see where his first pro contract will take him.
“I don't consider this break an offseason,” Haynes told Beyond the Beat.
“Right now it's a chance for me to improve on my weaknesses and focus as a professional basketball player.”
Three times a week you know where you can find Calvin Haynes: enduring strength and conditioning workouts outside of Los Angeles with his personal trainer, Mike Casas. A former Arena League Football player, Cases isn’t only training Haynes how to get better now but for the long haul once Haynes eventually lands to play overseas.
“The workouts have been very intense. The main purpose of the training is to build strength, speed, agility, and add inches and power to my vertical. Mike has a understanding from being a professional athlete himself before what it takes to have your body in tip-top shape which is the ultimate goal once I leave to go overseas,” explained Haynes.
“One thing I can say is that the workouts have been some of the hardest I've ever done.”
The location has changed, but the work ethic is the same. Maybe even intensified knowing what is on the line making a living playing ball. While Haynes went through some growing pains at Oregon State he knows now it was for the overall good of his game. The 6-3 guard went from averaging 13 points per game as a Sophomore, to a second-team All-Pac-10 selection as a Junior, to having his starting job taken away from Coach Craig Robinson to usher in the Beavers’ youth movement during his Senior year.
Looking back isn’t always easy. In this case, Haynes feels he grew adjusting from a starter to coming off the bench.
“Both roles of coming off the bench and starting helped. I feel that if you can play both roles you will have no problem adapting to anything,” explained Haynes, who played 122 career games, the sixth most in school history and finished with 133 three-pointers, ranking him in the top ten in Oregon State history
“I thank Coach Robinson for giving me that opportunity.”
Haynes signed with agent David Maravilla of International Sport Management and has received interest from teams in Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Hungary, Latvia, Austria and most recently Greece.
September will bring a month of decision making for Haynes.
“It is different from playing in college and not being paid to play. It actually made me much more determined to get the best experience out of the professional life overseas. The concerns for me going overseas will be the adjustment of food. I'm a big food person so I don't want to be starving because I don't enjoy the food, but besides that I'm ready for the challenge.”
Hungry for the chance to play ball, Haynes has leaned on two Pac-10 guys who have been there and done that – former Oregon Duck Bryce Taylor, and Patrick Christopher who played at Cal.
Both play overseas – Taylor in Germany with Alba Berlin in the Beko BBL, and Christopher in Turkey, where he competed for Antalya of the Turkish Basketball League last season.
“I actually had conversation with Bryce (Taylor) on more than one occasion about his experience. One thing that definitely stuck to my mind about our talks was to be open-minded about the experience and just play to my abilities. Patrick (Christopher) told me he felt the reason he had a successful experience was because the city he was in was great and his coach allowed him to play,” Haynes added.
“He said it's really no different. You just play basketball. These are both friends of mine so I trust what they have to say.”
Taylor’s words of wisdom surely hold weight.
“The best advice I have for those interested in playing in Europe is to come here with an open mind and the willingness to acclimate yourself to the way people do things in your respective country and culture,” said Taylor, who helped Alba Berlin compete for the Beko BBL championship last season.
“You have to be very professional and have a strong work ethic because coaches here believe in practicing twice a day all year round. And as an import player you are always under the microscope and under pressure to perform at a high level while doing things the right way.”
Haynes maintains he’s very open to wherever he ends up playing basketball overseas this season. He’s never been to Europe and is looking forward to his journey being, “a great experience.” But until his first pro contract is signed, it’s back to working out three-times a week with Mike Casas.
The grind is always on.
“The goal at the end of the workout is to get better everyday,” said Haynes.
“There’s no excuses or offseason for me.”
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