It hasn't always been easy for Carl Landry in his basketball career. He dealt with injuries in college at Purdue and is currently dealing with them in his professional career with the Sacramento Kings.
But this type of adversity makes him a strong role model and speaker for those attending the Always 100 camp this week at the SportONE Parkview Fieldhouse.
Landry spoke to the 86 campers ranging in from third grade to seniors in high school Tuesday and is one of many speakers this week, who also includes former Ball State and NBA player Bonzi Wells.
“My message to the kids is just to go out there and work as hard as you can,” Landry said. “I've never been the most talent player or sharpest pencil in the box when it comes to education, but I always try to give 110 percent in the classroom and on the court, and I think if you work hard you never know where it can take you.”
This message is a prevailing one for the came. Always 100 Director Vernard Hollins has tried to make it about more than just the basketball skills portion.
“At this age now, a lot are 'I'm going to the NBA, I'm going to the WNBA,' but you know what, it's all about hard work and having self-discipline and motivation,” Hollins said. “These testimonies (from players like Landry) are trying to get these kids to the next level and letting them know if you don't make it in basketball, still can make it in life.”
While Landry talked to the younger kids, he also had similar thoughts on the players at his alma mater, as they deal with the struggles of the past two seasons.
The former First Team All-Big Ten player emphasized he doesn't talk or do any sort of coaching, as that's not what he is paid to do, but he is confident that Boilermaker coach Matt Painter can swing the recent momentum - or lack thereof.
“I definitely do believe that,” Landry said. “He (Painter) was a great coach when I was there. I'm not sure why they are struggling, like I said I don't get involved in that, it's not my job, but I'm sure coach Painter is doing whatever he can to put out the best product.”
His message to the kids also could be applied to AJ Hammons. Landry, who plays power forward, said he does talk to the Boilermaker center on occasion and the “work hard” message he passed to the kids at camp echoed what he has told Hammons.
“I think he has a chance (to be great) as long as he continues to work hard and stays focused every time he steps on the floor and gives it all,” Landry said. “He needs to just keep working hard to try and improve. If it's basketball IQ, if it's a left-hand hook shot, if its finishing at the rim, if it's a 15-foot jumper, just get better because the more you have, the more you can bring to the table, the better.”