House of Heat

Being the Pac-10 Basketball player of the year in 1999-2000, doesn't guarantee instant stardom in the NBA. It doesn't even guarantee being picked in the first round. Eddie House, one of the best Sun Devil Basketball players and ASU athletes of all times, had to start over all again to make it in the NBA, after being drafted in the second round by the Miami Heat. Nevertheless, he made the most of the opportunity given to him.

House averaged 5.0 points per game during the regular season. He did however come on strong late in the year averaging nearly 10 points in his last four regular season games. In his first ever NBA playoffs, he averaged 12.7 points in three games before the Miami Heat were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs. Off the court, Eddie got married last December to sister of ex-U of A player Mike Bibby. If he does have a son down the road, he says there's "No telling" if his offspring will be the nest greatest player in the NBA (and with those genes it would be hard to be wrong). Furthermore, House did promise not to let uncle Mike convince his son not to attend ASU. We sat down with Eddie, and asked him to reflect on his rookie season with the Heat, as well as his career at ASU.

Q: How would rate your rookie year with the Miami Heat?

A: It was a huge learning experience to see how the NBA game was played. I learned how to be a professional and how to prepare as a professional. The pro game is so different than the college one, so you really have to learn the game. Players are bigger, stronger, faster. Guys are very aggressive and they bring it every night. You have to respond with the same intensity and bring it every game, and leave it all on the court. It's a long season, but that's what you work hard in college for.

Q: When you look at the goals you put for yourself before your rookie season started, do you think you accomplished them? What aspects of your game do you need to work on?

A: I need to work on a lot of things. Looking back, the year was a maturing process for me. I was growing up watching and learning from mistakes that others do. I pretty much happy with last year, but there are more goals that I put ahead of me which are attainable and I intend to achieve them. This summer I'm gonna do everything I can so I can fulfill my goals.

Q: You were the Pac-10 player of the year when you entered the NBA draft, and you only got drafted in the second round, where most don't make it in the NBA. Would it be fair to say you were playing with a chip on your shoulder?

A: I still have to continue to prove myself. College was college and nobody is worried about what you did there. People want to know what you can do in the NBA. I think with the opportunities I was given this year I helped the team. Next season it will be a different story because I'll be focused and I'll know the do's and don'ts of the game.

Q: Many said that you were too small to play the shooting guard in the NBA, and you'll have to make it as a point guard. Can you talk about that adjustment?

A: Getting used to the NBA game and the players, learning to recognize different defenses, learning where players like getting the ball, those are some of things I had to adjust to, and I had to do it well. I didn't have to worry about all this in college. The coaches worked with me all year on those things. I worked hard before and after practice so I would be able to handle myself in game situations. I think late in the season and in the playoffs, I showed that I was able to do all that.

Q: Can you talk about your first days with the team? How hard was the transition? What surprised you?

A: I found the NBA to be exactly what I expected it to be, and that is a league with the best payers in the world. Every night you have to rise to the occasion or be embarrassed. You have to make sure you're on the right end of the spectrum. The transition to the NBA game was OK. I knew what I needed to work on, and the coaches were there to start working on what I needed to work on. I wanted to be prepared in game situations and not hurt the team.

Q: Who was your mentor?

A: No one particular on the team. Everybody was giving me advice and helping out. Assistant coach Van Gundy was tremendous! He worked with me a lot before games on different aspects of my game. He helped me improve, and that's what this summer is all about, getting better.

Q: The last two years you were coached by two of the most demanding coaches in the business – Rob Evans at ASU and Pat Riley at the Miami Heat. Can you draw comparisons between both?

A: Both of them have a serious motivation to win. All they want to do is win and win. Both of them stress defense, and pressuring your opponent. From that stand point they were the same. Playing for coach Evans made me mentally stronger and more aware of all the small details. He wanted me to work as hard as I can all he time. I think that helped me coming into training camp with the Heat.

Q: At ASU you were the go to guy. In the NBA you didn't see a lot of playing time. How hard was that transformation?

A: Ofcourse it was hard, but that's how the game is. I was playing behind established players like Tim Hardaway and Anthony Carter. So in the scheme of things, where would I fit in? But when I had to go in, I had to immediately deliver and produce. That was my attitude all season. When you're given a chance to play, you have to show that you're a producer. You have to show that you'll work hard, play tough defense, give everything you got, and show no negatives.

Q: At ASU you were clearly a crowd favorite, and in Miami you also had a love affair with the fans. When the crowd was yelling "Eddie! Eddie!" It wasn't always directed to your teammate Eddie Jones…

A: I guess the crowd likes a player that comes into the game, works hard, and provides a spark. I played with my own little style of making the game more up-tempo. When the crowd chants, you play along with it. It's your home crowd and you should feel at home. You feel comfortable, and you do what ever you want. It's all about pleasing the crowd. When they were yelling "Eddie" both Eddie Jones and I knew who they were yelling for (smile)

Q: Looking at your ASU career, it was a bumpy ride. You played under three coaches in four years, and you went through the growing pains from freshman to senior. How would you sum up that time?

A: I wouldn't trade it for anything else in the world! It was a learning experience. Everything that happened there happened for a reason. Everything that happened made me a stronger and better person. I did have a lot of obstacles and roadblocks that I had to get through. I just found a way to beat them.

Q: It would be too easy to say that your 61-point game against CAL in your senior season was the highlight of your career. Do you have any other great moments at ASU that stick out besides that unbelievable game?

A: That game sticks out big time. There were so many of my friends and family at the game, and some of them haven't seen me play in a long time. It's was like a homecoming (Eddie grew up in the bay area) for me, my last show, and It was like me saying: "This is what I'm gonna leave you with to remember me (smile)". It was a very special to moment for me. When Eddie Johnson (the ASU TV color commentator and ex-Phoenix Suns player) told me I had 61 points, I said "yeah right". Another game I won't forget is my sophomore year, when we beat Stanford at Maples Pavilion, and they were ranked third in the country then.

Q: Last season was a very though one for the Sun Devils. I know that you followed the team a little bit, and know virtually all the players on the squad. What's your take on what happened?

A: The guys are still learning, and a lot of them were still young players then. I don't know how much of ASU's offense was my game, but players needed to step up and fill the void after I left. Guys didn't step up, and that's what happened plain and simple. If you want to play at the next level, you have to know how to step up your game and pick up the slack for others. I really thought that after I left the team, guys would step and contribute like the coaches wanted them to. The team is very capable; guys just have to believe that they can bring it to the court.

Q: Going back to your team now, the Miami Heat, what are your expectations for this coming year?

A: I'm gonna bust my butt this summer, and get ready for training camp and go at people's throats (smile). We got time to get our game right, and this year we want to advance past the first round of the playoffs. I'm so pumped up for this season; I have been working hard in the off-season getting myself ready. It's time to play now!

Q: Looking at where your Basketball career is right now, are you pretty happy with your level of play?

A: Yes I am. I am pretty happy. I know I can get better, and that's what I'll try to do. I'll just take it one day at a time, and not looking too far ahead. The rest will come into place.

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