Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert's biggest critic stood 7-2, attended Georgetown and was the No. 17 pick in the 2008 draft.
His critic was blunt, no matter how high or low it made Hibbert. He had to tune out that critic -- himself -- because the constant emotional roller-coaster ride affected his production on the court too much.
At the same time, Hibbert started relaxation exercises to help ease his mind.
That, along with 15 pounds of added muscle, have made Hibbert almost a regular in the double-double department in points and rebounds for the Pacers (7-3) this season. He's tied for fourth in the league in double-doubles with six.
Hibbert heads into tonight's game at Toronto averaging 14.1 points and 9.9 rebounds.
"I've been doing, as crazy as it might sound, a lot of relaxation exercises to try and change my temperament," Hibbert said. "Sometimes I tend to spaz out on the court. This time I'm letting things go and I'm trying to play more focused."
The Pacers have until Jan. 25 to offer Hibbert a contract extension. He will be a restricted free agent if the sides don't agree to a deal by then. Pacers president Larry Bird said earlier this week the team has not begun talking about a new deal with Hibbert.
In the past, it was easy to tell how Hibbert was playing in a game by simply looking at his body language on the court. He played well when he was energetic, scored in the post, blocked shots or pointed up to his Area55 fan section at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Things weren't going his way when his energy level was low or he sulked on the bench.
Now, Hibbert's doing his best to try to maintain a middle ground no matter the situation.
"He's getting older, more mature, he's comfortable in his role, and he knows the ups and downs are not going to change his role," coach Frank Vogel said. "I think because of that, you can react to that less."
Hibbert enjoys having David West and Tyler Hansbrough play alongside him at power forward because he knows they also can score in the post.
Hibbert spent his first three years as the sole inside presence for the Pacers. They were an easy team to defend, relying primarily on jump shots.
"It helps having Tyler and D West being very active in the post because it leaves me one-on-one opportunities for offensive rebounds," Hibbert said. "And this year I've been set up a lot better in terms of where I want the ball in the post, and our spacing is a lot better."
Hibbert is getting deeper position in the post because his lower body is stronger after an offseason of strength training. He was squatting between 475 and 500 pounds.
Hibbert also does a 20-minute full-body workout with Shawn Windle, the team's strength and conditioning coach, after every home game.
"The emphasis is on legs because with such a compressed schedule it gives him the best opportunity to recover," Windle said. "So that next day when it's just a practice day, we don't do a hard workout. . . . It affects his ability to recover because the games are coming so fast."
The added strength is helping Hibbert shoot a career high from the field (54.5 percent). He isn't getting knocked off the box down low as easily as in the past, and he can launch his hook shot with either hand.
"I think I know how to position myself better," he said. "After four years, I should be able to learn something."