Andy Kamenetzky of ESPN LA has been doing a series of interviews with NBA players that grew up in the Los Angeles area called "The L.A. in my Game". After four duds, he has finally gotten around to securing an interview with an LA player that actually matters in the Indiana Pacers' current starting point guard, Darren Collison.
DC talks at length about the distinction he makes between "LA" and the Inland Empire where he grew up and the adjustment he had to make in competing with inner city kids:
The thing about inner-city basketball, even when we were young kids, the gym would be packed like you were at the top high school games. There were tournaments and games where we'd play against inner-city teams. They'll score on these fancy moves and you got the crowd in the stands going crazy. We're like nine, 10 years old, little kids just trying to play the game. That's when I realized it's real up there. The competition is totally different. The atmosphere is totally different.
That's just how L.A. is. They enjoy watching basketball. No matter what the age is, they have respect for it. But I knew I had to get better at my game if I wanted to compete at that level and so to speak, not get dogged.
It's also interesting that in the wake of Jrue Holiday's betrayal of the program, that DC clearly knows how to handle potentially loaded questions, and talks about how CBH isn't all X's and O's:
AK: How did your game evolve under Ben Howland?
DC: I think Coach Howland made me realize the physical attributes I have, as far as quickness. I knew I was quick, but he used to always to express, "You're extremely quick." I'd be like, "Okay, I know that." And he'd be like, "No. Seriously. I don't think you know how quick you are." That says a lot, because once you believe your physical attributes, that's all the things you can rely on, as far as the NBA. You're either real quick, or real athletic, or you can really shoot the ball. I definitely started understanding how quick I really was and using it more to my advantage.
AK: That's pretty ironic, since Howland is known for slowing the game down. Were there ever times when you thought, "Yeah, I'd actually like to go a little faster, Coach?"
DC: I won't catch myself saying that right now. (Laughs)
I highly recommend the rest of the interview because there's a lot more there. Hopefully with all the downtime, we'll get to see more of these interviews with our Bruins; at least we will if the Kamenetzky's want to interview some successful players.
Earlier this week, we emphatically told one of our former players to shut up. I can't imagine we'd ever have to say that about DC, because the guy has class, and he represents us well.