By Anthony McClean, Editor In Chief Emeritus NEW HAVEN (BASN) —...
Box & One With Rodney Stuckey
SEATTLE — With the overall 15th pick in the 2007 NBA Draft, the Detroit Pistons chose 6-foot-5 guard Rodney Stuckey out of Eastern Washington University.
I asked him what it felt like to here your name called by Commissioner David Stern and being handed a Pistons hat. “Wow, I can remember that moment like it was yesterday”, he said.
“I was so excited then and I’m just as excited now to be speaking with you. I couldn’t believe it when I got a call, the day of the draft, from Chauncey Billups welcoming me to the team and letting me know that if I needed anything I could call him.”
“There’s no greater feeling in the world than being able to do something that you truly love and get paid for it. I can’t imagine myself doing anything else other than playing basketball for the Detroit Pistons, I am very happy.”
Rodney’s enthusiasm hasn’t gone unnoticed by his teammates. “You can expect big things from Stuckey, he has the potential and puts in the work to be one the leagues up and coming All-Stars,” stated Chauncey Billups.
“What I like about Rodney is that he shuts up and listens but when he does ask a question it’s a good one,” replied Rasheed Wallace and when you move around the locker room it’s more of the same.
When asked about the No. 3 on his jersey, he chose it because of DeWayne Wade of the Miami Heat. “I’ve always admired his game and what he adds to the team”, added Stuckey.
Will Stuckey be nervous facing D-Wade for the first time? No, not at all but he realizes that he better bring his A-game.
At press time, Stuckey finds himself on the bench during the Pistons only visit to Seattle. “It is nothing to be upset about, I’ve got many years of basketball ahead of me and this only one game,” said Rodney.
Rodney broke his left hand, on October 24th against the Washington Wizards, coming around a pick. “I still don’t know exactly how it happened but I could tell immediately from the pain that there was something wrong”, said Stuckey.
The healing process has been going faster than Doctors expected and is headed back for another prognosis on November 20 to see when he will be back on the court.
“I’m excited to get back on the floor, but right now I’m just being patient and doing what is asked of my by our doctors and trainers”, Stuckey said. “I’m not trying to rush this process because I don’t want to reinjure it.”
“My responsibility right now is to stay in shape.” He does this by doing a lot of running, sit ups and dribbling with his right hand. “Conditioning is very important if you want to be successful at this level.” Once I get back on the court I need to be ready to play when my number is called,” added Stuckey.
So many of you are probably thinking that he’s just chillin’ right now with a courtside seat, well you’re wrong. He’s completely engaged every game. “On game days, the coaching staff or a veteran player will come down the bench to make sure that I understand that play that is being called and will talk me through other scenarios”, he added.
“They will also test me to make sure that I know the play that is being called and the education that I’m receiving right now is priceless.” On every film study that the Pistons have, you can find Rodney front and center.
“I’ve requested tape on Deron Williams, point guard of the Utah Jazz”, Stuckey said. “I like the way that he runs the teams offense, distributes the ball and attacks the goal. I would like to incorporate some of his attributes into my game.”
The summer league and preseason games gave Rodney the opportunity to adjust from collegiate ball and get use to the speed of the game in the NBA. “It was a valuable experience for me and it helped my game out tremendously”, he said.
To make it into the NBA I always thought that there was a little luck involved but that’s not the case with Rodney Stuckey, he’s put in the work. You will never see him sit back and just relaxed now that he has arrived. “You’ve got to be dedicated and focused, that’s the key to my success, stated Rodney.
“If I could share one piece of advice to any young player that wants to make it here it would be the following:
A. Stay focused and set goals for yourself.
B. Get in the gym and work hard every day at being better.
C. Limit distractions, whatever they may be, because it takes away from what you are trying to accomplish.
“Success comes with a price and you have to dedicate yourself to the process, it doesn’t just happen,” added Rodney.
Wow! Rodney Stuckey may be better than advertised and if he isn’t, then he is going to be!