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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Point Guard Project - Royal Ivey

Welcome to the 5th edition of the Point Guard Project.

Past participants:
PGP1 - John Lucas
PGP2 - Luke Ridnour
PGP3 - Jrue Holiday
PGP4 - Ricky Rubio

Today we are joined by Royal Ivey

The PGP questions:

1) Who did you watch play growing up? And whose game did you try to emulate?

2) What was your first memorable point guard match-up, when you first got into the league?

3) What is your definition for the job of a point guard?

4) How do you determine when to shoot vs. when to pass?

5) What is a typical workout for you like?

6) Do you have any words of advice for young aspiring point guards?

First off, I have to say that this is a real treat for me.
For those that don't know, not only was Royal my first one-on-one interview here at True Hoops but I actually played against him in High School during a charity event.

If you haven't heard the interview before, please check it out.
Not only one of my favorite pieces, but it's actually something I showed my high school players my last year as a coach in NYC for both educational and motivational purposes. It's been know to bake noodles.

Now for the numbers.
Royal is in his 9th year in the league. He was drafted in the second round of the '04 NBA draft.
He is listed as 6'4'' and 200 ibs, with career averages of 3.4 points, 1.1 assists, and 1.2 rebounds in 12.5 minutes per game. His career highs are 19 points, 8 assists, and 8 rebounds, respectively.

FYI, Royal Played 4 years for Texas. He is second all-time in school history for career starts, and helped lead Texas to the 2003 Final Four. He played prep school ball at Blair academy,  alongside Luo Deng. Of course he is from New York, and played at Benjamin Cardozo high school in Queens.

Mr. Ivey, welcome to the Point Guard Project:

Summary of Answers:

1) Grew up watching Kenny Anderson, Stephon Marbury, and Mark Jackson. But of course that's because he's a New York guy!

2) First memorable point match-up: Steve Nash. He was in his prime. Real good and real fast with the ball. Just dissected him and his team. It was the first game of the season too. He was like "wow, this is what the league is about!"

3) Definition for the job of a point guard: Distribute the ball, be a catalyst like a quarterback. Get the offense started, run plays and make sure everyone is on the same page. A point guard is the head of the snake.

4) When to shoot vs. Pass: Most of the time - in his situation - it's pass first, trying to get everyone in the offense, and make sure the offense is running. Certain guys have the green light - shoot first then pass later. And that's what they do and that's what they get paid for. He is paid for running the offense and getting guys in the right position.

5) Typical workout: Coming off pick and rolls, screens, pin downs. You always handle the ball. Perhaps some in and out moves(?). Has a set workout and sticks with it.

6) For aspiring point guards: Keep working on your game. Point guard is the toughest position to play in the NBA. But it's the best because you always have the ball in your hands. Keep on honing your craft and work at it everyday.

A couple of things.

First off, that NYC point guard allure of going to Georgia tech is REAL.
I remember growing up and playing high school ball - it was just known that Georgia Tech recruited point guards from New York. It was just known about Kenny Anderson and Steph. And is was certainly a desire/dream to be the next to go there. In fact, when I was a freshman at LaGuardia High school, there was a senior across the street at Martin Luther King high school, Kevin Morris, who was the next point guard being recruited by Georgia Tech. And of course everyone wanted to see him play. I even went to a game to watch.

And to let you know that the whole NYC Georgia Tech point guard thing never really faded, when I played against Royal in the Wheel Chair Basketball Classic my senior year, Bobby Cremins - coach of Georgia Tech - was there. Because of the game, I ended up going to St. John's. But I remember, even years after, saying to my friends "man, if I would have dunked the ball I would have went to Georgia Tech." (perhaps a story for another day).

Ironically, going to St. John's I got to look at a picture of Mark Jackson every day in the locker room.

And Steph? You want to know about Steph??? My goodness, there isn't enough space in this post to write about all the Steph stories I heard while in high school (and even in college and after college). That was New York's guy (at least before he played for the Knicks). And forget about kids from Brooklyn, Steph was their main man. He was their end all be all.

Second, I truly think Royal's response about when to shoot vs pass is extremely informative.
I love how he makes it known, "in my position, I pass first......I get paid for running the offense and getting guys in position."

My, it's as if we're revisiting my first interview with him.
Knowing your role in a system and your strengths in order to be successful as a professional. In Royal's case, an NBA point guard. Yes, there are other point guards in the league (Rose & Westbrook maybe?) who best serve their team by attacking and scoring. But that's not everyone. A lot of players are role players. And if they want to keep their spot on a team (or in the league), they have to play a certain role and play it as best they can.

For sure, this is an honest answer (with a touch of humor) and is context dependent.
It may also be a little sobering. Having to play by the conventional rules of society and strictly adhere to the requirements of a job, just to keep that job and your lively hood. Where is the freedom? The free will? But for how many people is this the reality? And how many of those people don't have the benefits of playing in the NBA?

Perhaps many of us would prefer not to.
But again, that is a story for another day.

Much thanks to Royal Ivey for his time!
I hope you enjoyed this edition of the Point Guard Project!
Stay tuned for more!

1 comment:

  1. Can't imagine who provided some of those stories. Lol