Box & One With D.J. Strawberry

By Wesley Chism Jr.
Updated: March 30, 2008

SEATTLE — Backup point guard, D. J. Strawberry, of the Phoenix Suns came to this team knowing that he was going playing behind some seasoned veterans. The son of ex-major leaguer Darryl Strawberry was a second round for the Suns in the 2007 NBA Draft.

“I knew that my playing time would be minimal, but I haven’t really been concerned about it and more focused on becoming a better player and learning the system”, said Strawberry.

All of the veterans on the squad have taken an active role in the development of Strawberry, but Grant Hill has made the greatest impact on him. “It is so important to have him in this league to teach young guys such as myself to better athletes and conduct yourself in a professional manner”, Strawberry said.

“Grant Hill is one of the toughest guys that I’ve seen play the game. When you think about all the injuries that he has had and the opportunities when could have just thrown in the towel, wow!”

“Every day he’s still right there in the thick of things going about his business, prepared to play every night. He’s a savvy guy and a great person on and off the court.”

Strawberry played a few games this season in the NBDL and credits that experience to his growth. “That was valuable playing time for me and gave the coaching staff an opportunity to see how I am coming along in game time speed”, he added.

“The learning never stops and that’s why I have to always give 110% every day.”

The most important thing that D.J. has learned this season is being ready to play regardless if your name is in the starting lineup or not and staying focused at all times. “The worst thing that you can do on this squad is go into the game and have no idea what play has been called or your assignment”, said Strawberry

In college, he could get away with little stuff and slack off at times because of his talent but in the NBA it’s a different story. “Everyone in the league has got talent and can play so you’ve got to be mentally and physically prepared”, said Strawberry.

“Doing the little things, such as an extra pass or getting a crucial rebound is what makes the difference in the win or loss column.”

D.J. credits his conditioning in the summer which consisted of a lot of lifting and cardio to making the transition from 32 college games to 82 NBA regular season games.

In the up coming off season he will be working out with the Suns’ cCoaching staff and “do whatever is asked of him” to be prepared for his second year in the league.

At this time the Phoenix Suns are still positioning for home court advantage during the playoffs. “It’s our goal to win it all and we have all the right tools to make this happen”, said Strawberry.