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KennerLeaguer
07-09-2008, 10:59 PM
Here's a story that explains why I became a great admirer of Roy. Roy committed to Gtown university just before his sophomore high school basketball season began. He was of course very tall even back then and like many big men the word “potential” was mentioned whenever his name was brought up back then. But so was the word “raw”. In fact “very raw” is more accurate. He had his share of critics who thought he was too stiff, too slow, too big, too uncoordinated. Even his supporters conceded that he had a LONG way to go before being someone capable of dominating even a high school game.


The first time I would get the chance to see Hibbert live and in person came during the summer between his junior and senior year in high school (Georgetown Prep). The event was the annual Jabbo Kenner League and Roy was playing for the Tombs. A little background information is needed. The Kenner League is the one NCAA sanctioned summer league tournament in the DC-Maryland-Northern Virginia region. With a few exceptions it has been played on the campus of Georgetown University every year of its nearly 30 year existence. Sometimes its very organized and very strict on who can participate. Sometimes its more loose and disorganized and allows pros such as Gilbert Arenas, Sam Cassell, Brendan Haywood, Jerome Williams, etc to participate in the main tournament games (which start after a month of “regular” season games are played to determine seeding. You also have had great DC street legends suit up and play too though they have tended to play in the KL tourney games for the pros. But the main interest that has drawn fans for decades is when the college players or soon-to-be college players hoop for their respective summer league teams.



Skip ahead to the following summer. Hibbert had just come off a successful senior season campaign. I headed to Gtown for the beginning of the 2004 Kenner League games eager to see what improvements he had made without getting my hopes up too high. Catching a few of Hibbert’s games that summer I had noticed that there was a tremendous amount of improvement from the previous summer. Every game he would do something that I didn’t think he was capable of. He was also finishing better, showing more confident moves and playing better defense. He was competing hard not only against top college players but pros such as the Wizards’ Haywood. In other words I saw for the first time the potential in Roy to be a true contributor and a very good player.

But a lot of his glaring flaws were still evident. He was awful at running the floor, he played too soft around the rim too often, he was still awkward. He had some good games but he still had some bad games too. Compared to teammate and fellow college freshman-to-be, Jeff Green, Roy looked like the project that he was. Worst of all, as during the previous summer, he had to deal with the awful truth that summer league crowds could be unforgivably cruel. People were laughing at him. People were criticizing him from the stands and then talking to themselves about how he could not play. Not even playing in the on-campus gym of his selected college buffered him from all the snickering and groans. The worst part was that from my view I could even see his future college teammates (the returning upperclassmen players on the Georgetown team) who were sitting in the stands chuckling openly over Roy’s awkwardness.

Roy responded to this in a way that defined his character. He showed up. He showed up for every game despite the fact he was often the butt of jokes and the target of laughter from the crowd. Maybe this does not sound like such a big deal to some folks but you must understand the context. All summer leagues deal with no-shows and guys who arrive late. Its part of the fabric of the events. Guys who had proven everything in the world as well as guys who were supposed to be trying to better themselves as basketball players would decide at the last minute they had better things to do. So who would blame Roy for having enough with being tease (which is especially detrimental to shy teenagers) and deciding to stay home and miss a game or two? I wouldn’t have blamed him for skipping a couple of games or more and going out with friends to the mall (you must realize most KL games are played on the weekends). I would have probably too sensitive to the teasing or two angry to keep subjecting myself to such verbal abuse. But that’s me; that isn’t Roy. No, Roy kept coming back and playing because his being teased was a small price to pay to further improve his education on the hardcourt. He had supposedly never skipped out on the KL games that previous summer either when I first saw Roy. Like man he blocked it out and just worried about balling. That summer he helped the Tombs win the Kenner League title.

The following summer he made that quantum leap and played for Clyde’s in the Kenner League. He ended up being the best player on the best team in the league itself. And in the championship game his team beat the Tombs, led again by now Big East Rookie of the Year Jeff Green, for the title. The next year, during the summer of 2006, he once again led his Clyde’s team to the title. During both of his summers playing for Clyde’s he led the league in scoring, rebounding and blocks. And his Clyde’s team went undefeated through league play throughout that two year run. If he had played in the league during 2007 before his senior year (he was a way playing in the Pan Am games), the feeling is that his team would have won again. That’s how dominant his two summers run with Clyde’s was. In the history of Kenner League Hibbert had a stretch run of performances and results that’s right up there or close with some of the very best that the league has ever seen. Talk about a Hollywood-like success story. Maybe that guy yelling that encouragement to Roy during the KL games in 2004 was right all along.

Sure it was just summer league. But the character traits that define Roy such as the appreciation of hard work, the desire to improve, reliability and the drive to prove the doubters wrong first became evident to me after seeing him grow so much from one sumer to the next. These are elements of his personality that remain with him to this day. Its why I am a fan and why I think Pacer fans will enbrace him too. Its why I think he will be a wonderful pro too.

McKeyFan
07-09-2008, 11:49 PM
Thanks for the insights, KL.

I hope your speculations as to Hibbert's character and NBA potential prove true.

Anthem
07-09-2008, 11:51 PM
That's... very cool. I'm starting to feel irrational amounts of sunshine.

Quick, somebody say something depressing.

Ownagedood
07-09-2008, 11:51 PM
HOLY CRAP.... Way to tired to read all that.. Ill read it when I wake up..lol

Will Galen
07-10-2008, 12:16 AM
Very good post! Thank you!

TMJ31
07-10-2008, 12:57 AM
Very informative post.

I enjoy reading stories like this that not only highlight a players bball growth, but personal growth as well.

I have not seen Roy play, but from what I am reading thus far, I think he is going to open some eyes with his play and attitude!

Whtwudusay
07-10-2008, 01:04 AM
Thanks for that post. I am very excited to have Roy on the Pacers.

SoupIsGood
07-10-2008, 01:11 AM
Quick, somebody say something depressing.

David Harrison will likely be playing for a different team next year. :(



[Although somehow I think that statement will probably push you further toward sunshineland.... :) ]

CompACE
07-10-2008, 01:33 AM
Georgetown has a reputation for preparing their big guys for the league:

Ewing, Mutombo, Mourning - all went to Georgtown

Hopefully he can be as productive to this team as those guys.

Hoop
07-10-2008, 01:46 AM
Thanks for posting. I really like the things I've read about Hibbert, he sounds like a good guy. I hope he makes it big.

imawhat
07-10-2008, 03:11 AM
In all the interviews I've read and heard, "work ethic" is brought up.

I keep reading about how much he's improved over the last few years.

He's only 21. I've watched several of his games and I almost cursed Georgetown for not using him more on offense. He's really good with either hand and has savvy post moves. I believe Jim O'Brien when he says he'll be a better player in the pros than in college.

I don't think he'll be ready for a couple of years, but he's another guy (like Rush) who I think might be better than people are projecting.

Putnam
07-10-2008, 07:37 AM
Great stuff, Kenner. Thanks. I've had an eye on Hibbert at Georgetown for the past 3 years where the development you speak of has continued.

Hibbert was interviewed twice on Indianapolis radio yesterday, and I can't remember how many times he said the words "work hard." But it is clear that he plans to keep developing beyond what he was as a Hoya.

He'll never be fast in a sprint down the court. But his sure hands, good court vision, balance, willingness to share and size are enough to make him a successful pro.

He also talked a bit about his parents, who encouraged him to study music and try different sports as a kid, until he shot up to 6' 9" and then everyone agreed that it was going to be basketball for Roy. Hibbert may have the best family background of anybody on the Pacers team.

Putnam
07-10-2008, 07:41 AM
I don't think he'll be ready for a couple of years,

This makes good sense.

And yet Conrad Brunner has listed him as a probably starter, and Bird has declared him "ready to contribute." What Rush and Hibbert can do this year will be one of the most interesting questions.

Major Cold
07-10-2008, 10:09 AM
One thing that scares me with 7 footers is their conditioning. If they do too much leg and back problems develop. Remember Smits' feet? Yao has bad feet also. Has Hibbert had trouble with his feet?

Anthem
07-10-2008, 10:21 AM
Smits' feet were bad because he wore bad shoes.

Putnam
07-10-2008, 10:22 AM
Has Hibbert had trouble with his feet?


A fair question, and one that is recent weeks has been much on my mind.

Answer: No.

owl
07-10-2008, 11:14 AM
Does anyone have any source on Hibberts height barefoot and what his standing reach is and wingspan?

Kuq_e_Zi91
07-10-2008, 11:31 AM
Hibbert was interviewed twice on Indianapolis radio yesterday, and I can't remember how many times he said the words "work hard." But it is clear that he plans to keep developing beyond what he was as a Hoya.


Does anyone have the links to the interviews? I would greatly appreciate it because I missed them.

Man, I love Hibbert. I've seen him play since High School too and reading stories like that you can't help but like the guy. Just a great story of coming up. I look forward to him starting and contributing greatly...and...making a push for Rookie Of the Year. I know..I know..but anyways, Hibbert's gonna tear it up next year.

BillS
07-10-2008, 11:49 AM
One thing that scares me with 7 footers is their conditioning. If they do too much leg and back problems develop. Remember Smits' feet? Yao has bad feet also. Has Hibbert had trouble with his feet?


Smits' feet were bad because he wore bad shoes.

I am of the school that says Smits' feet were aggravated when he was asked to gain too much weight for a season or too. His impact shot up immensely after he lost that weight but his feet never recovered.

ABADays
07-10-2008, 12:41 PM
It takes a lot for me to warm-up to Georgetown players but this guy sounds like a true find. Good luck to him.

maragin
07-10-2008, 01:16 PM
Thanks for the insight KL, and welcome to the board.

KennerLeaguer
07-10-2008, 02:05 PM
One thing that scares me with 7 footers is their conditioning. If they do too much leg and back problems develop. Remember Smits' feet? Yao has bad feet also. Has Hibbert had trouble with his feet?

He lost maybe half of his sophmore season in high school and the early part of his junior season in high school (came back in time to lead Gtown Prep to a win over Chris Paul's team in a high school tourney) due to surgeries on his feet. I too was worried if that was going to be a regular problem. But its been nearly six years now since he has last had any issues on that front. He never missed one game while at Georgetown.

KennerLeaguer
07-10-2008, 02:07 PM
Thanks for the insight KL, and welcome to the board.

Thanks very much. If you folks have any questions or anything please ask. I'll get to them as soon as I possibly can. I'm a semi-expert on Roy Hibbert. :)

Eindar
07-11-2008, 12:04 AM
I have a question!

Hibbert had a down year last year, and I personally think that his lowered stats are more due to the way Georgetown runs that Princeton-style offense than his lack of ability. I think that the pro game will suit his style a lot better.

My question is, during the Kenner League games in which he did very well, did his team run more of an isolation offense for him on the low block, or did they run a lot of motion plays, a la how he was used at Georgetown?

MyFavMartin
07-11-2008, 12:20 AM
Quick, somebody say something depressing.


It was only summer league.



You're welcome. ;)




Good story. I always hated guys who thought they were players talking smack. Just made me play harder and victory was sweeter when they had to wait for another game and my teams kept playing.

You get a choice in life when something knocks you down.

You lie there and feel sorry for yourself.

Or you get back up and bring it even harder.

KennerLeaguer
07-11-2008, 06:08 AM
I have a question!

Hibbert had a down year last year, and I personally think that his lowered stats are more due to the way Georgetown runs that Princeton-style offense than his lack of ability. I think that the pro game will suit his style a lot better.

My question is, during the Kenner League games in which he did very well, did his team run more of an isolation offense for him on the low block, or did they run a lot of motion plays, a la how he was used at Georgetown?


If he had a down year during his senior season then he must have had a down year in his junior season as well when everyone was calling him a lottery pick. You see he had increased his scoring output by just over 1 point from his sophomore to his junior season. That's about the same amount he had increased his scoring from his junior to his senior season too. So what's the difference? Not winning the Big Eat Tournament? Not making it to the Final Four again? Having his worst game ever in the NCAA tournament while his team had its earliest departure (second round) from the tourney during his run (referring to the loss against Davidson)?

Yes, I suppose in some ways it was a disappointing season. But people had these expectations of him putting up 20 points and 10 rebounds per game. I warned some of my fellow Hoya fans that that wasn't likely because no one scores that much in JTIII's offense. If III speeds up the offense, which will happen this upcoming season, players have a better chance of putting up more points, but I still don't see anyone getting to 20 ppg because sharing the ball is so emphasized at Georgetown. Jeff Green won Big East Player of the Year when his points per game were just slightly more than Roy averaged in his senior season. None of the leading scorers for Gtown since III has been onboard (Brandon Bowman, Jeff Green, Roy Hibbert) has even averaged 15 points per contest. In fact Hibbert's 13.4 was the second highest average for a Hoya during John Thompson III's very successful four seasons at the university. Playing for JT III won't necessarily mean being able to put up great numbers but you will at least be well coached and well instructed and become a better basketball player.

I will talk about the rebounding numbers and the Princeton-style system when I have more time later today. But I can tell you that in the Kenner League games it was a more typical approach to playing basketball (both the good and bad). Hibbert was very efficient playing for Clyde's but he was also very efficient playing for the Hoyas. The difference was that on Clyde's (his summer league team) there was less sharing of the ball and more pounding it inside to Roy. And Roy, playing outside the share-the-ball approach of the Princeton system and playing with overall less talented guys than he was normally playing alongside with the Hoyas, understood he needed to be aggressive and take more shots. Plus in the Kenner League you didn't get any of that zone defense or three guys collapsing on him when he got the ball. Roy's best outings in college have typically come when he was being guarded by a man-to-man defense. So facing that type of D for the most part in the summer league and getting a whole lot more touches than he did as a Hoya, it became routine for Hibbert to score in the high 20s to high 30s.