Chris Charles spends the bulk of his summer off-season working out with his friend and Villanova family-member, Randy Foye. They get together in New Jersey, or sometimes travel down the Turnpike to the Davis Center, to lift, run, go through drills and maybe play some one-on-one.
That push they give one another has arguably made them both better players, and in the case of Charles, it has pushed him to do some great things abroad.
After playing for the past few seasons in the Middle East -- where he found success with a number of teams in Syria, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere -- he flew out to Thailand to try his hand in East Asia this season. His coach, Joe Bryant (father of Lakers' star Kobe), helped bring a little friendly Philadelphian face to his new digs, playing for the Sports Rev Thailand Slammers.
On Tuesday, he was officially announced as the ASEAN Basketball League's 2013 Defensive Player of the Year.
In the regular season, Charles averaged 19.7 points (2nd in the League), 14.5 rebounds (2nd) and 4.1 blocks (1st) per game for the Slammers. That included a monster 22-point, 29-rebound game in early February that cemented his arrival as a force in the ABL.
"It's an honour and blessing to be recognised by the ABL," Charles told FOX Sports. "I've had great teachers throughout my playing career, since college with my coach Jay Wright at Nova up until now in the professional ranks with [Slammers] coach Joe Bryant who have put a strong emphasis on defence and the intangibles."
Charles' hustle and drive allow him to use his length to a big advantage on defense, which can be seen in his rebounding and block numbers.
He's also a candidate for the World Import MVP award that the ABL will announce next week, but he told reporters that wasn't high on his mind. The Slammers are in the midst of the ABL semi-final series against the San Miguel Beermen -- a best-of-five series that is currently tied 1-1.