July 24, 2009 9:02:00 AM
STARKVILLE -- Travis Outlaw looked around the Starkville Sportsplex on Wednesday afternoon and smiled.
The Starkville native and member of the NBA''s Portland Trail Blazers is proud the city has provided such a facility to the community.
Outlaw and Ed LeBlanc, his personal coach, took advantage of the facility to focus on specific points of Outlaw''s game to help him prepare rejoin the Trail Blazers.
Outlaw will leaves Starkville at the end of August to begin his sixth season in the NBA
"This year I felt like I needed to alter my moves a little bit more than normal," Outlaw said. "The biggest thing now is take whatever they give me and not be hesitant about it."
LeBlanc is in charge of helping Outlaw develop a better understanding of the game and make sure the game slows down for him.
During the course of the session, Outlaw worked on shooting free throws, driving to the basket, and perfecting his jump shot.
"We want to make sure he has a full option of moves and has an understanding on both ends of the floor so he can dictate the game, as opposed to letting the game dictate him," LeBlanc said. "We want him to become a better student of the game."
LeBlanc believes Outlaw can improve on his career statistics (9.6 points and 3.4 rebounds per game).
"There''s a lot of fine-tuning with Travis." LeBlanc said. "He just said how amazing one little thing changed my free throws. At his level, everyone is strong and everyone is an athlete, so one hand length and one inch is a big difference. We''re tearing down instincts that were good enough, but he wants to be great. To be great, he has to get past being good, and that''s tough to do."
LeBlanc works as a coach/trainer with professional basketball players who work overseas and players in the NBA.
After receiving some assistance from Travis'' brother, John Jr., LeBlanc agreed to give Travis some pointers.
"(John) thought this was a great thing for Travis," LeBlanc said. "A year ago we tried it, talked about it, and just didn''t get together."
Outlaw calls LeBlanc "a great teacher" of basketball and appreciates his help understanding the little things in the game of basketball and developing different moves and counter moves.
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