ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Nothing is more important to Nets general manager Sean Marks and coach Kenny Atkinson than growing a positive organizational culture, which explains why training camp is being held at the U.S. Naval Academy. In effect, Marks said on Tuesday that he was taking a page out of his old playbook with the Spurs, who trained at the Air Force Academy.
Last season, the Nets held training camp at their Hospital for Special Service practice facility when it opened in Brooklyn, but with five new veterans on the roster Marks thought it would be good to get away from home. “It was the right time,” Marks said. “It’s a chance to build trust and camaraderie. They can’t go home and have dinner with the wife. We’re all here. This is a special place.”
The GM and Atkinson said the team has planned activities to allow the players a chance to meet the midshipmen and to sample Academy life. Atkinson said he felt a connection to the Navy after playing against them in college and because he had an uncle who died in a fire on the USS Saratoga.
“Great respect for what goes on here is what it’s all about,” Atkinson said. “I thought it was a great thing. I really want the guys to get out of here not just with the basketball experience, but what is this all about. I think we’re going to go to formation and see that, hopefully mingle. We’re not going to just do basketball.”
Clearly, the Nets are hoping the sense of discipline and dedication to mission at the Naval Academy will rub off on their organization. “Their self-discipline and time management, it’s a lot of habits, a lot of the same stuff we talk about,” Atkinson said. “To be in that environment, and on top of that, in a beautiful little city, I’m thrilled. It’s the first day, but this was a home run.”