I walked into the Nets locker room after a recent game and immediately sensed Chris Douglas-Roberts was someone I could engage. CDR was one of the few players still in the locker room…as most players take turns shooting around…and I don’t think I could have received a more peace conversation from anyone else at that moment. The second year guard/forward out of Memphis is a gifted scorer and tremendous athlete. He was averaging 10 points a game but went off for a game high 23 in the Nets 108-97 loss to the Sixers. Off the bench, he seemed determined to make a game impact. The Nets…who won last night vs. Sacramento…have 8 wins on the season and definitely pulling out the stops not to fall one game short of the NBA record for futility…’72-’73 Philadelphia 76′ers…9-72 record. I can attest that CDR is playing hard and I hope you sense the same when reading the following interview.
Michael Tillery: During your time in school at Memphis, you played in one of the most successful programs in recent memory. The Nets are having a difficult time of it this season. I want to do this for the kids. Do you have any advice?
Chris Douglas-Roberts: The best situation I could give a kid in a bad situation…period…is to focus on the tunnel…the light at the end of the tunnel. If anybody knows about that, I do. I came from a bad neighborhood in Detroit on the west side and nobody I know has ever gotten out. I saw a bigger picture no matter how hard things got. You have to continue to look at that big picture. In this case, I’m doing the same thing. This is just a minor setback. It’s bad because we’re living it and we’re losing…amongst a lot of other things…but at the end of the day, it’s just one season out of many.
MT: When you are out on the floor…we are all taught to take steps to get to the next…do you see that aforementioned light in a play…then a quarter…then a game…then ultimately the season?
CDR: Honestly, it’s (at the time) 15 games left as far as this season. If we were going to turn it around, it would have happened by All-Star break. You have to find a positive out of this some way…in any situation. There’s a lot of negative going around. You have to look to the positive.
MT: Being you are in the New York area, there’s a lot of speculation in the air about next season. How does that affect…or not…a professional athlete with everything swirling around the organization?
CDR: You can’t really pay too much attention to it because no one really knows what’s going to happen next year. You don’t know…you just don’t know. A lot of talk and speculation but at the end of the day, you just won’t know until it happens. You have to focus on the present.
MT: What are some of your individual goals?
CDR: Just to continue to improve every year. Never take a summer off. Never get complacent even when I get to a point where I’m really successful in the NBA. Early in the season…the first three months…I was beginning to do some things but things change and they have changed so I can never let up.
MT: Obviously, you are a very talented player…with a lot of skills specifically as a scorer…what do you learn inside of a game?
CDR: It’s tough Mike. It’s been so up and down. In the NBA, things change overnight. You have to learn on the run and when things do change and it’s a hard time, you can’t get down on yourself. Confidence is everything. A let down in confidence even before a game can really…really affect you. Learning is the beautiful part of this game. You never get too old to learn. I was watching Kobe working out last summer with Hakeem Olajuwon.
He’s the best player in the league so when you see a guy like that trying to improve…and continue to learn the game, you are inspired to understand it’s never enough. You have to continue to learn.
MT: What do you do to decompress in your alone time?
CDR: Relax. That’s it. This schedule is strenuous…as is the whole lifestyle. It’s really is strenuous. When you have a chance to actually relax you have to do so. Taking care of your body and eating right is huge in this league because you play so many games. It wears and tears on your body so when I do get the chance to chill, that’s exactly what I do.
MT: I travel a lot but not as much as a professional athlete obviously. Jet lag is something nevertheless. Can you explain for the fans what jet lag does to your body?
CDR: That’s when fatigue really kicks in. Traveling and jet lag really kicks your butt man. Sometimes I wake up and don’t know what city I’m in. I don’t know what hotel…you’re just tired.
The thing about it is the great people…the great players find out how to work through it and use it as motivation.
MT: Describe a typical eating day.
CDR: Breakfast of course. Breakfast is first. I’m greedy so I eat a bunch of pancakes…a bunch of bacon. Drink a bunch of apple juice. Then I lift. Then I drink a protein shake or a muscle milk. Then I eat lunch. Then another protein shake or muscle milk. Then dinner.
MT: Do you have a certain routine on game days? Are you superstitious?
CDR: I’m not superstitious but if I go a day without getting any shots up, I just feel horrible. I know somebody…be it high school, college or pros is getting up shots. This league is a meat grinder. You have to stay on top and continue to get better. I have to get shots up every single day without exception.
MT: The Memphis Tigers.
CDR: Aw man, they’re in the NIT. I hope they win (Memphis was ousted by Mississippi). I can’t lie and say I’m not disappointed they didn’t get to the Big Dance.
MT: Do you and Rodney Carney (Sixers, former Memphis teammate) speak often?
CDR: Not a lot, but we talk. It’s all love (They went hard at each other on every possession they guarded each other).
MT: How about Pooh (Derrick Rose)?
CDR: Yeah most definitely.
CDR: It was a helluva experience Mike. It’s my number one experience as a basketball player. We had a lot of support but it seemed everyone loved to hate us. We fed off that. We were being compared to UNLV and we wanted to win it for the Fab Five of Michigan, UNLV and Phi Slamma Jamma (Houston with Dream and Drexler).
MT: You read my mind there. There seems to be a team each year which has tremendous athleticism and catches a lot of wreck from basketball purists. I guess Kentucky is that team this year?
CDR: Yeah. Yes they are. They remind a lot of us. We don’t know what they are doing on their off time. On of off time we we putting in work and always around each other.
MT: When I get a chance to speak with Coach Calipari, he seems pretty reserved with the press. I know he’s a beast (Dig the quote Cal gave me at beginning of the Live Blog regarding Derrick Rose).
CDR: Cal is crazy man. Cal recruits guys like me, Derrick Rose, John Wall…from the hood. Simply put. I had a lot of home visits with different coaches. I had a lot of my guys on the porch. When he pulled up he slapped five with everybody. That showed a lot. That showed who he is. He’s always comfortable in every situation and those are the kids he likes. He sold me with that.
Only relative because Common plays for the Nets. I can’t wait for this.