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Friday, July 13, 2007

Luke Winn on Big Roy

I should note that Jester traveled with Roy on the train up to Philly for the Pan Am tryouts at Haverford, where Winn conducted his interview with Roy.

Last dance
Hibbert defies reason to return to Hoyas for final year

He had cut weight from his 7-foot-2 frame, which is now a leaner 275 pounds. He attributed this to part running-and-lifting regimen, part decreased intake of General Mills snack food. "I have a thing for Chex Mix," Hibbert laments. "I've been cutting down on it."
. . . .

"I'd rather have seen [Hibbert] go pro -- because we have to play Georgetown twice next year," says Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, who's also the chair of USA Basketball's collegiate committee and was watching from the sidelines in Haverford. "But I've never thought it hurts really good players, like Roy, to stay in college. It didn't hurt Patrick Ewing. It didn't hurt Derrick Coleman. It didn't hurt Tim Duncan or Alonzo Mourning, and they stayed all four years." Hibbert is likely to improve on his 12.9-points, 6.9-rebounds per game averages from last season, and the Hoyas -- who gain much-needed backcourt depth with freshmen Chris Wright and Austin Freeman -- should remain in the top-10 picture for '07-08. Which is a nice situation to be in, but with Hibbert and Jeff Green, the East Region's Most Outstanding Player, Georgetown would have been a consensus No. 1 in the preseason polls.

On NBA Draft night two weeks ago, the remaining Hoyas gathered in the basketball office on campus to watch Green get selected No. 5 by the Celtics. Hibbert even put his junk-food-free diet on hiatus for the occasion, which was catered with pizza and hot wings. Big Roy found, however, that he could only bear to watch the first five picks: "I left right after Jeff got drafted," he says. "It got to me ... I was just like, that could have been me up there. But I have no regrets, and I'm working for another attempt at a national championship." The emotions Hibbert felt during the draft subsided quickly, in part because he had a jam-packed summer ahead (he left the next morning at 5:45 for the Amare Stoudemire Skills Academy in Phoenix, has this potential USA Basketball trip to Brazil for the Pan Am games, as well as Michael Jordan's Flight School in Santa Barbara, Calif.), and more because he relishes college life and wants to finish his degree in government. Hibbert said the decision he made, on May 23, to remain at Georgetown was easy; "If school wasn't fun for me, if the atmosphere at Georgetown wasn't fun for me," he says, "it might have been different."

Fellow Pan Am Trials invitee Richard Hendrix, of Alabama, has been joking with Hibbert -- an admirer of Barack Obama who intended to intern at the Department of Education this summer, before basketball got in the way -- about when he'll run for governor of Maryland. Hibbert says he'll only entertain a career in politics after a long run in the NBA, so his campaign at present is to begin solidifying his status as a top-five pick in the '08 draft.
. . . .

Hibbert has been keeping tabs on Green's progress with the Sonics -- as much as someone who has neither cable nor Internet in the townhouse he shares with Georgetown teammates can keep tabs on glorified scrimmages in Vegas. "You have pay like 30 bucks a month, per person [for cable and Internet]," says Hibbert. "I don't have that type of money." Eight days earlier, Green had signed a contract that will earn him $2.548 million in his rookie season with the Sonics. Hibbert doesn't have $30 to get ESPN and NBATV in his room. Still, there is no clear answer as to whose life is better. Green is rich, Hibbert is broke. But at this same time next year, Big Roy will likely be a Lottery Pick with a degree -- and no lingering uncertainty about what kind of tourney run he could've had as a college senior. His vow of poverty is only temporary, and entirely justifiable.

1 comment:

Joshua said...

It's hard not to have even more respect for Big Roy's decision to stay after reading this. For him to pass up big money now, when he can't even afford $30 per month for cable and internet, just shows the type of person he is.