He's candid, he's a very hard worker, and he is going on a long ride into the playoffs with the New Jersey Nets. He's rookie forward Brian Scalabrine, and he talks about his love for the game of basketball, how he got to where he is, and life in the NBA in this installment of Ten Things ...

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1. Brian Scalabrine only started playing organized hoops in the 10th grade. He got cut from his eighth and ninth-grade basketball teams. In his words, he was "only 6-1 and not very good."

2. Scalabrine then took it upon himself to work on his game "every single day." His freshman year of high school saw his biggest personal improvement. "I dedicated my life to basketball then," says Brian. "Not just playing to have fun, but working on my game, my shooting, and working out in general." Brian then grew to 6-9 during his junior year of high school, which solidified his hoops future.

3. As a kid, he didn't have any role models. He credits his hoop-crazy friends as being the biggest influences in his life and those most responsible for developing his love for the game.


Scalabrine has a realistic attitude about his place in the basketball universe.
Ron Turrenne/NBAE/Getty Images
4. Brian enjoys doing community events with the Nets. "I love getting out into the community," he says. "I want to do as many events as I can while I'm in the NBA, because who knows how long I'll get to be here."

5. Scalabrine didn't have a college scholarship out of high school. He went to Highline Community College in Des Moines, Wash. instead, before transferring to USC after two seasons at Highline, one of which he redshirted.

6. Despite the fact that "only a nobody walks in L.A." (Missing Persons), Brian didn't have a car for his first year at USC. "It was all about basketball," he says. "All business."

7. Brian's dedication paid off, as he had a hugely successful college career. He finished sixth all-time in school history in points scored, and was a Sporting News honorable mention All-American his junior year. His stats and individual awards diminished slightly in his senior year, but this was due to an improved supporting cast. The Trojans made it to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament that year, which is Brian's fondest college memory.


2002 NBA.com
Playoffs Section
8. Brian didn't even watch the 2001 NBA Draft, where he was selected by New Jersey with the 35th pick. "I ended up leaving my house (that day)," says Scalabrine. "I had a lot of people over, but I never actually saw my name called."

9. More on being drafted: "At first, there was trepidation on my part, as I felt pressure to make (an NBA) team. Then I realized it was out of my control. I just figured that if they liked me, I'd make a team; if not, I'd just go play somewhere else. It wasn't like it was make it to the NBA or work a nine-to-five job. I knew I'd be playing basketball professionally somewhere."

10. Now that he's with the Nets, though, Brian enjoys playing for New Jersey. He likes the treatment he gets there, and feels at home in New Jersey, as it's very similar to Los Angeles ("Strip malls everywhere"). He also teams with Todd MacCulloch to give the Nets a very rare redheaded twosome on its front-line.

By Lina Balciunas and Randy Kim