All this season, Magic guard Keyon Dooling will be blogging for OrlandoMagic.com. Check back weekly as Keyon gives you a player's perspective on how the season is progressing and a behind-the-scenes look at life as an NBA player.
By Keyon Dooling | January 18, 2008
Well...half the season is in the books and if I had to grade our performance so far, I would give us a C+ or a B-. I am a hard grader, but it all depends on which Magic team shows up. At times we are really good and other times we aren't so good, so I grade us somewhere in the middle.
Right now we are heading into the second half and we are really looking to correct the things we did wrong and build upon the things we did right.
I don't think we have an identity yet, and we are still trying to find ourselves. Once we find ourselves defensively...we will be a great team.
Personally, with the opportunities I have had this season; I think I have played pretty well. Like I said...I am a tough grader but I think overall I have done an average job.
Unfortunately, I haven't been able to spend much time with my family because we have always been on the road, but I am really looking forward to the All-Star break when I can get to spend some quality time with them.
I think we might head over to the Bahamas and check things out over there for a little bite...but mainly I just want to rest up and get ready for the home stretch.
The second half of the season should be less demanding with more home games, so we will look to position ourselves for a nice seed in the playoffs.
By Keyon Dooling | October 30, 2007
Tomorrow is the season opener and I have been injured for most of the preseason but I feel good and I am optimistic about my body. We are really excited for the season, and can't wait to get things started against the Milwaukee Bucks.
The Bucks should be a good challenge for me and the other guards on the team because Milwaukee has one of the best back court tandems in the league with Mo Williams and Michael Redd. They have a brand new coaching staff, so they will have a new system that we haven't seen before and that is something we have to be prepared for. We just need to play our game and we will be fine.
Tonight I am going to go home, get something to eat, and go to bed. My routine doesn't change the night before a game, I have been in the league eight years so I know what to expect tomorrow night.
Tomorrow I will eat a good breakfast, go to shootaround, eat lunch, take a nap, and then eat something little before the game starts. I don't eat anything specific but I do try to stay away from fried foods.
By Keyon Dooling | September 29, 2007
I’d like to take this time to welcome all the fans back. The off-season was very adventurous. I think we definitely improved our team this summer.
In the midst of all my training I was able to go to the Bahamas four times. I love going there, it is by far my favorite place in the world to visit.
I am excited to be back though. I am really pleased with our off-season with our new coaches and all our new players. Signing Dwight was a great move. Overall, we just got better as a team and an organization.
Training camp starts tomorrow and the thing I am looking forward to most about it..is when it’s over. It is without a doubt the hardest part of the season and I just hope I can’t get through it healthy.
I am really looking forward to our visit to China. It is a once and a lifetime opportunity. I have been to Japan before but never China so it should be a great experience.
I’m just glad to be back with everyone and can’t wait to get the season rolling.
By Keyon Dooling | April 29, 2007
I just want to start my thanking all the fans that have tuned into my blog this season. I really appreciate it. Hopefully I can do this again next year and let all of you once again see what we go through as players during the season.
I think we underachived this year and I think we are a much more talented team than the way we performed. But nevertheless, we made some strides in the right direction. We got our feet wet in the playoffs and now we know what it takes. We now have to go back to the drawing board and get better.
As the season progressed, we learned that we can't afford to have slippage during the season. We started out really well and then we had that really bad stretch. It was a crazy number of games that we lost and we can't have stretches like that, we are too talented of a team.
Today, I'm headed home to beautiful Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I'm going home to spend lots and lots of quality time with the family.
By Keyon Dooling | March 6, 2007
Hey Magic fans! Good to be blogging for you again. Everything is great right now for me. My wife and I welcomed the newest addition to our family on February 15th when my third daughter, Jordan, was born. She's doing very well and I'm looking forward to seeing my family. They are coming up to Orlando today. I'll get to spend some quality time with them.
Her birth was timed perfectly. She was born during the All-Star break and I guess they waited on me. Everything worked out perfectly. I am definitely outnumbered now, having three daughters. The ratio isn't very fair right now, but it's all good.
Everything else is cool right now. The team is just trying to get healthy right now and trying to get this thing rectified. Right now, we just have to put it all out on the line every night and try to make our run here. We are in a much better position than we were last year. We begin making a run here and we can start jockeying for position and a higher seed.
There's really not one thing that is wrong for us right now. Different games it just seems to be different things that come up. We just need to work on being consistent on both the offensive and defensive ends. That's easy to say, but much harder to do.
March Madness is coming up and I might get into it more once the tournament begins. I haven't had much of a chance this year to get into college ball, but there are some really good players that are definitely going to show up come tournament time. I think this year it is going to be a team effort to win it all and I think Florida has a good chance to win it all again. I think North Carolina also has a good chance, because those teams are deep teams and have guys that can play multiple positions and are interchangable. So those are a couple of teams you might wanna watch out for this March.
By Keyon Dooling | February 1, 2007
Hey everyone. As you probably already know, I've been bitten a little bit by the injury bug lately. And right now I'm just trying to get myself healthy again so I can be out there helping the team.
I ended up hurting my thumb when I landed in the photographers area during the Dallas game. When you are playing, you've got that adrenaline going so much that you don't end up feeling anything. But after that game, the pain really started to settle in. I sprained some ligaments in my thumb and I'm just really thankful that I don't need surgery. Right now, I'm really not sure when I'm going to be able to play. It's week to week right now.
I am getting excited, though, because my family is getting much closer to the arrival of my third daughter. It might end up happening sooner than expected, so we are just keeping our fingers crossed. I'm just hoping that my baby is healthy and my wife stays healthy and that's the most important thing.
By Keyon Dooling | January 18, 2007
Hey everybody, we’re back! Did you miss us? Well, we missed you all and Florida!
Our West coast trip was surprisingly cold! Usually cities like L.A. and Phoenix you expect and can look forward to nice weather, but it was freezing. So we didn’t really spend too much time out and about like we normally do. So it’s good to be home. We’re about to get off this losing streak and bounce back!
And about that losing streak, you know there are times in the season where you’ll have ups and there are going to be downs. My theory on all of that, as I’ve said before, is to try and keep it at a nice even keel. Not too high on the wins and not too long on the losses. And we just try to come in here and be a professional everyday you know?
As for my Achilles, it’s okay. It’s not great. It’s not bad. It’s somewhere in the middle. So we’ll just leave it at that, it’s OK.
You know what we really need right now, our fans to come out and cheer! We really need you guys to come out so we can feed off of that energy. It’s a really big stretch for us right now. We’re about to play some of the elite teams in the league. New Jersey is a good team. Washington is right there at the top of our division. And the big challenge is going to come with Dallas. I think they’ve won about 32 of their last 35 games or something like that. So that’ll definitely be a challenge for us.
Man, what do you guys think about all those trades going on? I guess the thing about our league is that you could be here today and gone tomorrow. So that just comes with the job territory. You’re one phone call away from being traded. That’s why I just try to take advantage of every opportunity I get to be in the city that I am. I just try to enjoy it to the fullest. You know, just enjoy everything about where you’re playing, enjoy the moment. That’s why I go out and meet people. I try to find the good restaurants.
And let me tell you there are some good restaurants around Orlando. Lately I’ve been going to Kobe Steakhouse. That place is pretty impressive. And I love to go to Tony Roma’s and get their wings. I know it doesn’t sound like a wings restaurant, but oh man they’ve got some good wings and some good ribs.
I know the Super Bowl is coming up, so it’s time for predictions. I’m really not as big of an NFL fan as I am a college football fan. But I guess if I picked a team I’d go with the Colts. I’d really like to see Peyton Manning win a championship. He deserves it. I think he’s one of the best quarterbacks of all time. He needs to go ahead and win one and then build his legend from there.
By Keyon Dooling | January 4, 2007 - 11:12AM
Everything has been good for me lately. Christmas was great, New Year's was great. With the exception of Achilles' being tweaked a little bit, everything is pretty wonderful.
For the holidays, I went home to Fort Lauderdale and had the chance to spent Christmas with my family, watch my daughters open their presents. That's what Christmas is all about, giving thanks and being grateful for our situation and the kids, so it was a great day. For the new year, I didn't make any resolutions this year. I kind of like where I am in my life. I try to stay pretty consistent as a person, so it doesn't take a new year to become a different person. I'm kind of the same Keyon Dooling every day. What you see is what you get!
As for my left Achilles', I injured it at the end of the Washington game. I just tweaked it a little bit and it has been sore. But we'll see how things go. I'm already feeling much better, so hopefully I'll be back out on the court real soon.
After a brief slip, we've kind of turned things around on the court lately. There's always going to be some ups and some downs. I'm always telling the guys that we just have to stay on a nice even keel - not too high with the wins, not too low with the losses. It helps getting Turk back and getting Jameer back, but now me and Grant are down. So we are working at getting our full product back on the floor so we can get back to where we were at the start of the season.
If I had to put a grade on the 2006 portion of our season, I'd give us a C+ or a B-. I still don't feel like we are as good as we can be. I think we are still taking baby steps to get there. That's why I'm so optimistic right now, because I still think we can be a better team and I think everybody on our team feels the same way.
Happy New Year everyone!
By Keyon Dooling | December 12, 2006 - 1:39PM
Hey Magic fans. It's been a while since I've been able to blog for you with the long road trip and all. I think it right before Thanksgiving the last time I wrote you all. Thanksgiving was awesome. We had the day off so I got to spend it with my family. We always have a big dinner and just use the day as a time for everyone to give thanks for everything we have and give thanks for each other, little simple stuff like that. That is something that has always been a part of my family.
That road trip was a long one! We saw everything from snow, to rain to a little bit of sunshine in L.A. It was definitely a different trip for us, but it was pretty successful. We were able to catch up on some movies. I went and saw Deja Vu and that was great. We hit some good restaurants and I got some shopping done while in L.A. It's things like that that help you occupy your mind.
It's a long trip and basketball is only a small portion of your time. It's the things we do as a team outside of basketball that helps build our chemistry. We go out to eat together as a team, hang out, go to the mall, have fun, talk trash. It's all that kind of stuff that makes a road trip fun.
I had to sit out the final game of the road trip in Indianapolis because of my neck. I guess it was just from sleeping in all the different hotel beds or something that made my neck and upper back stiff. But it's all feeling a lot better.
I'm happy with the way things are right now, but I'm not satisfied. I think there's another we can take our game to. I still don't think we've reached a point to where we were at when we were playing well at the end of last year, but I think we are building towards that level.
It's been tough even since going home because we are in a stretch now where we have six games in nine days. This is a grueling part of the season for us right now. Usually when you come off the West Coast you have two days to get acclimated back to the East Coast time, but for whatever reason, we didn't have that rest period.
But through everything, we are doing okay. We've played two really good teams in Detroit and Phoenix who took care of us on our own home court. But we were able to get the win against Philly and now we've just got to work on finishing out our find game set strong.
By Keyon Dooling | November 16, 2006 - 1:34PM
Hey all! The last time I wrote was right before we took off for a three-game road trip. The road trip was pretty successful because we went 2-1 on the trip and that's the most important thing. As far as individually, I don't feel like I had a very good road trip, so I wanted to come out and play well against Denver - be focused and have a good game. I don't feel like I had a good trip, so I really wanted to bounce back.
It felt good to get some early road wins this season. Everyone makes such a big deal about us not winning many games on the road last season, but we're totally a different team this year. It's so unfair to continue to harp on last year, because that is now distant past. We got a new group of guys, Grant is back and he's healthy, Dwight has gotten better, Jameer has gotten better, Carlos' role has improved, so we're a totally different team. We're more focused on how good we can be this year.
There was a lot written about the flagarant foul I had against Wally Szczerbiak on Monday in Boston. No doubt it was a hard foul, but if you were to ask Wally, I definitely think he would say that I wasn't trying to hurt him. I was just trying to prevent a layup. In our league and during a crucial time like that, I'm almost a rule that you don't allow a layup and instead make a play for the ball. But it was a hard foul because he was vulnerable in the air. But it wasn't nasty or anything like that. I wasn't trying to yoke him out or fall on him and roll over him. But it was a hard foul and I didn't think it was worthy of getting thrown out of the game. But who am I to complain?
I felt pretty good last night in the game against Denver. I shot the ball for the three-point line extremely well. I was definitely happy about that, because as I mentioned earlier, I felt like my road trip was terrible and I really needed to have that bounce back game. But I kind of just stumbled into it because I didn't shoot the ball extremely well in the first half. I felt like I missed two shots that I could have made, so instead of being 2-for-6, I felt like I should have been 4-for-6 at that point. I was just able to stay with it and get some good looks. Everybody did a great job of finding me last night, especially Carlos and I was able to give them some assists.
I've had some similar streaks like that in games where you go on a little roll, but none of them really stick out too much. I've just played so much basketball in my young life that I try not to get too high or too low, but rather try to keep everything pretty even. I can't honestly remember shooting 5-for-5 from three-point range, at least since college. I've doubt very seriously that I've ever hit five threes in a game. Maybe four a couple times when I was playing in L.A., but it was a great game for me. And a lot of fun!
Speaking of college, I stay in touch a little bit with Missouri, but not as much as I used to since Quin Synder left. I played for Quin and I was so grateful that I had the chance to play for him and I love him dearly. I'm not as in touch with the program as I used to be. I'm actually from Florida, so to go back to Missouri is a little out of my way. Plus, there's not too many people that are still there from when I was playing there. Quin is gone, Norm Stewart is gone. But with everyone gone, I would almost be a stranger up there.
But I used to go back every summer when Quin was there and workout, even if it was just for a weekend to show my support for the program. And I still support the program. If they need me to call anybody to help recruit or anything like that, I'm always open to that. But I probably need to do a better job at reaching out to Coach Anderson and getting to know those that are now involved with the program.
I'm actually looking right now at going back to school. I'm in the process of figuring that all out and it's really important for me. I'm not sure yet if I'm going to enroll back at Missouri or if I'm going to take some local Internet classes. When I was in Columbia, I got accepted to the School of Business, but I left for the NBA after my sophomore year. Now I just want to get a general degree and nothing really specific, because I can't dedicate myself as far as being in the classroom, but rather strictly correspondance courses.
My primarly focus for going back to school is because of my two daughters and the one that is on the way. I want to be able to show them what daddy did. I'm not just talking the talk, but I'm going to walk the walk and set a good example for them. The most important thing that me and my wife want for our family is to grow up and have a better life than us, but still have our family morals, our family principles. And still be humbled by where we've come from.
By Keyon Dooling | November 9, 2006 - 1:21PM
Hey Magic fans! The last few days have kind of been a roller coaster ride for the team. We had a couple of tough losses and we had a thriller win. It's been fun, but we got to go back to the drawing board and find some consistency.
We're hitting the road today, flying to Indiana in a couple of hours and gonna try to take care of some road kills. I think it's going to be extremely important for us to get off to some good starts on the road. We were a terrible team on the road last year, so we want to go out there time and do some things different. It's pretty important for us to go out and have a decent trip.
When I'm on the road, it's always important to stay healthy - especially coming from Florida and going to the colder climates. Finding some good restaurants is always important when you're on the road and then you always get to catch up on your movies. There's like three or four movies out right now that I want to see, so I'm looking forward to some matinee time.
I've had a lot of questions lately from people wanting to know why Carlos Arroyo and I play so well together. The answer is pretty simple. It's very easy to play with Carlos and it's really fun to play along side him. He's extremely aggressive, he's great in pick-and-rolls and it's easy to play off of him. I'm glad that we have been able to build chemistry together.
I've had other times in my career when I've had really great chemistry with another player. I had one guy that I played with my whole career, from middle school all the way to college at Missouri and that was Clarence Gilbert. We had some unspoken language. But at the NBA level, it's been really great to have that connection with Carlos.
If any of you were at the game last night or watched it on TV, you might have noticed I was sporting a new haircut. This year is going to be a fun year for me with my hair. I'm going to do parts, I'm going to do different haircuts this year. I don't know how much longer I'm going to have my hair anyways, so I'm just going back to some boyhood stuff and have a little fun with it.
And I know I can't compete with Darko's new haircut. But Darko needs to taper up the back of that neck, man. He needs to do that for us!
By Keyon Dooling | November 2, 2006 - 1:37PM
AUDIO: Keyon's Blog Intro
What's up, Magic fans? This is your boy - Keyon Dooling. I'm very, very happy and excited to get the season kicked off. Last night against Chicago was definitely a challenge for us - especially after them coming off beating the defending champions. It was an important game for us and we were just scratching the surface of how good we can actually be.
Obviously, expecatations are high. We also have high expectations for ourselves, but I'm not really setting too many individuals goals. If we put individualism before the team, that could be our demise and I don't want to have anything to do with any negative energy. My goal is to help our team anyway I can. Some nights it's going to be scoring and most nights it's going to be with defense and hustle. One thing about our team is that we have guys that accept roles and everybody just tries to play their role.
The Eastern Conference is going to be tough this year. I know a couple years ago when I was out in the West with the Clippers, all the talk was that the Western Conference was the toughest and that the champion of the West is going to automatically win the championship. You can't say that anymore. From top to bottom, you can say that every team got better. From the Hawks, to us, to the Bulls. With that being said, it's definitely going to be challenging this year in the East.
Last night was a good win for us, but we can't lose our focus. We have to stay on an even kill and be a consistent ball club. Last year, we had some times when we were terrible and at the end of the year we were really good. We got to find that middle ground and be competitive each and every night. We also got to learn how to win close games. And I think a lot of that comes with experience, leadership, chemistry - all the things that comes with being a good team.
Life away from basketball right now has been a little tough for me lately. I'm a family man. I got a wife and two daughters and another daughter on the way. To give them some stability so that they don't have to move every time I change cities, we decided that they'd stay in our home in Fort Lauderdale and not come to Orlando. So not having them here has been a big challenge for me, a real big adjustment for me. But it has also helped me appreciate my family and not take them for granted. Sometimes I go four or five days without seeing them and that really takes its toll on me.
My oldest daughter is in kindergarten this year, so that's one of the reasons why I didn't want to switch them this year. I wake up every morning and call them on their ride to school around 7:55. I then go back to bed and sleep for another 45 minutes or so. But every morning I just call them to tell them that Daddy loves them and I tell them that they can be anything that they want to be. I try to preach that to them and to tell them that the sky's the limit. I want them to have a better education than I had and I better lifestyle than I had coming up. Not being with them every day I miss some of the day-to-day activities as far as being face to face, but I'm there for them mentally and spiritually.
One more thought before I sign off for today...Dwight Howard is now officially THE BEAST OF THE EAST! Everyone better watch out this season!
Well, that's all for now. Thanks for taking the time to read my blog and keep checking back as I write more throughout the season.