COLUMBIA — After a stint playing on foreign soil, former MU shooting guard Kim English is back in Columbia and has his sights set on returning to the NBA.
English, 25, was drafted 44th overall in the second round of the 2012 NBA Draft by the Detroit Pistons, and he appeared in 41 games during the 2012-13 season before being cut in July 2013. This year, he played for an Italian league team, Montepaschi Siena, and a French league team, Chorale Roanne, before coming back to Missouri.
"I played in Europe this past year," English said at a youth basketball workshop Friday. "It was different, a lot different. Good talent. Still pros. A lot of former NBA guys. A guy (Damien Inglis) I played with this past year actually got drafted 31st last night."
English said the comfort of home drew him back to the U.S..
"You’re home. You're in your country. It's your language. It's foods you're familiar with. People you know in different cities," he said. "It's the best basketball in the world, bar none, and you want to play with the best."
English, originally from Baltimore, will be busy this summer playing in NBA summer leagues for the Washington Wizards and Orlando Magic, in Las Vegas and Orlando, Fla.,respectively. In his spare time, he'll also mentor and coach aspiring youths interested in basketball.
English spent Thursday and Friday at Hickman High School with more than 100 kids who signed up for one of his three Missouri basketball camps.
Rather than simply lecture the players, English allowed kids to participate in drill demonstrations.
When he asked who was a fast and good ball handler, one boy raised his hand. English asked the boy to dribble the ball down the court as fast as he could while a line of assistants passed a ball along side him.
The ball the assistants were passing made it down the court and back to English before the lone-dribbling boy. And with that, English made his point.
"The quickest way to score is to pass," he said. "I don't care how good a ball handler you are."
Although he trains others, he prefers to perfect his art by himself or with a few of his former Tigers.
"Who trains me? Nobody. I work out on my own," English told the campers. "I'm a by-myself kind of guy. Basketball's a simple game. No need to reinvent it."
At the end of the day's practice, English and his assistants opened the floor up to questions from the campers.
Some questions were serious, but others were more lighthearted.
One boy asked if English ever played as himself on basketball video games.
"I never play video games," English said, laughing along with the rest of the group. "I haven't played video games since I was, like, in elementary school, man. Sega Dreamcast."
One boy asked him which NBA team he was hoping to play for.
"Any team," English said. "I'd like to be on a team that wins. That helps with everything. Losing isn’t good. You don’t want to be a part of losing in anything — college, professionals. I'd like to go a winning team, but any of the 30 teams would be good."