NBPA: J.R. Reid Q&A

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- The former Carolina player discusses his experiences at the NBPA Camp and his future in basketball.

Tell me about your experience here at the NBPA Camp.

It's been fabulous working here with these great kids. The team that I've been dealing with has been sensational. They are willing to learn, they are respectful, they respect the game, and each other, more importantly. And there are some tremendous athletes here at UVa.

Jerry Stackhouse said that part of his motivation for doing this is looking at his career in basketball down the road and maybe transitioning to coaching. Is that the same for you as well?

Absolutely. I think maybe some of us want to go up into executive offices and go that route, go into the office and learn it from the bottom up. Some guys might want to go straight into coaching, but the NBA has done a great job at giving us all a great opportunity to come here an learn from NBA coaches.

Are there any opportunities here at this camp that you didn't have when you were coming up through the ranks?

Well, the things that they do with the parents. We had opportunities to do things like this. I was a kid who did the Nike Camp with Sonny Vaccaro back in the mid- to late 80's. These kids are bringing in their parents, giving them some information, how to deal with recruiting, which I think is very good. You hear a lot about the horror stories that go on in recruiting so they are trying to do the best that they can to help everyone involved.

What has been the most rewarding experience for you at this camp so far?

Just that these guys are hungry to learn. When a guy pulls you over and grabs you after a workout, 'Hey, Coach Reid, do you have a few minutes? Can you work with me? I want to ask you some questions about my jump hook. I have some questions about my reverse pivot. Can I get it a little quicker?' Things like that. When somebody is seeking knowledge and they are coming to you for it, it is a tremendous feeling.

Have they asked you for any recruiting advice?

They haven't asked me about any of that, they really haven't. Most of the stuff is basketball-related as far as performance and things they can do on the court. They ask questions about the NBA, like 'Who is the strongest guy?' or 'Who is the toughest to guard?' or things like that. They hang on every word you say and it feels good when you have been out of the game for awhile that somebody is seeking your advice on things.

As we sit here on the UVA basketball court, how did a Virginia native get away from the Cavaliers and other Virginia schools?

It was tough. I thought about coming to UVA, but at the time Carolina just had so much to offer with Coach Smith being there, the education, graduation rate, the returning players, no one else could really equal that in the ACC. It was an easy decision for me.

What has it been like to be part of that Carolina family now for--

A long time. It's great. Coach Smith did a lot for me, and I try to do whatever I can to help them out if they ever ask me for anything. Jerry (Stackhouse) and I are both here so we have two Carolina guys here, and we just hope that they get the ship righted this year and get back to some winning ways.

Do you get a chance to visit much?

I went to the 100-Year Reunion, but I usually don't go to too many games. I live in San Antonio now. To be honest, I just hate to worry them. Every once in awhile I will call for a friend who might need a ticket—a very close friend—but I really don't like to bother the coaching staff with requests for tickets if at all possible.

Carolina players I have spoken to in the past said that there is an instant connection with other Carolina players when you meet them even from different eras. Tell me about being part of that fraternity.

I think it is the guys who all played for Coach Smith. I made it to the 100-Year Reunion, and there were guys from the class of 1942, other great, great players like Lennie Rosenbluth. Yes, there is a closeness, a connection, a relationship there that a lot of other schools don't have because they didn't have a coach who was situated and cemented there as long as Coach Smith was. We come from different eras, different decades, but when we see each other we can click. The one connection we have is always going to be Carolina Basketball—playing unselfishly, playing together, and playing hard.

All players at this level are talented. What sets the truly great players apart in your opinion?

I think it is searching to get better—always trying to perfect your game. Tim McCormick was just talking about that in here. He was talking about how he came and watched (Michael) Jordan play when he was practicing early in his Chicago career, and he was impressed with how early Mike came to the gym to work out. He was always the last one there. He was one of the first guys to get a personal trainer, and now everyone in the League has personal trainers. The great ones always are looking to improve every day. That's something that is very impressive.

What does your future in basketball hold?

I'd like to coach—where ever I can get my feet wet. I want to improve as a coach and a person. I'd do college, but If I had my choice I'd like to do NBA. I think most guys here would because this is who has given us this opportunity. This is the game that we have spent the most time in. Right now, I would like to work with young players, be it college or young NBA players. I just want an opportunity to give them a little of my knowledge and what I went through that might be able to help them with their careers.

What sort of knowledge do you have already that you can share?

As far as basketball goes, I have played for several coaches. I can't even count how many coaches I have had in the NBA. I have had a chance to be part of a lot of different systems. I have played for running teams, I have played for half court teams, post-up teams, jump-shooting teams, so I have had the opportunity to learn from a lot of different coaches and be around a lot of different coaches. I think that is going to help me in my coaching career if I get that opportunity.

Who at this camp has impressed you?

I don't want to mess up his name—Myck Kabongo. Great young man. The guy is humble, he's polite—'Yes, sir' and 'No, sir.' What really caught my attention was 15 seconds into our first game there was a loose ball and he's diving on the floor skinning himself up. He's a natural leader, he's getting guys into plays, he's not being selfish, he's not jacking up shots. He's looking to get everyone involved. It reminded me a lot of a Carolina guy. I'm like, 'Dog, I'm sorry this guy is going down to Texas.' Heck of a player and, more importantly, you just like to be around him.


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