Chris Douglas-Roberts Q&A: Building on the Beginning
May 12, 2009
By Ben Couch -- NJNETS.COM
East Rutherford, N.J.—Nets swingman Chris Douglas-Roberts was waylaid by a sprained MCL three games into his rookie season, and when he returned a month later, minutes were at a premium. Douglas-Roberts spent 26 of the next 48 games with "DNP-CD" notations following his name on the stat sheet. But with 15 games to go, Nets coach Lawrence Frank sought a second-quarter spark against the Knicks and subbed in Douglas-Roberts.
Explosively driving to the bucket time and again, Douglas-Roberts scored or assisted seven consecutive baskets, on his way to career-high totals of 14 points, seven assists and three steals. He remained in the rotation for the final 15 games, averaging 9.5 points in 22.2 minutes per game during that stretch.
With the season complete, Douglas-Roberts took time to chat with NJNets.com, discussing his adjustment to the NBA, the coolest play he saw on-court, and what fans should expect after the summer.
NJNets.com: Looking back on the year, what was the biggest adjustment you had to make at the NBA level?
Chris Douglas-Roberts: Just the game, and me thinking too much, thinking like, ‘Oh, this is the NBA and these are the best players in the world.’ Which they are, but I was giving them a little too much credit, you know? You’re supposed to respect them, but you’re not supposed to bow down to them. I just had to put everything to the side, get out on the floor and just play.
NJNets.com: What helped you change that mindset?
CDR: Just time. When you’re a competitor and you’re in the NBA, you’re playing against other NBA players and it shouldn’t matter who’s out there.
NJNets.com: Were there any plays from this season another player made that didn't seem like they'd be possible?
CDR: You see a lot of those every game. You see a lot of them. While I was on the court, I seen Wilson Chandler make a play (for the Knicks), an under-the-rim dunk. It was here -- I think it was the second game we played ’em -- and it was unbelievable. I looked around like I was seeing all this on TV. That was a play that I really admired.
NJNets.com: What was it like joining a team with fellow Detroit native Maurice Ager on the roster?
CDR: That helped a lot, man, because that’s the guy I’m usually with on the road. A lot of guys don’t come in and know somebody immediately, and I did. It helped a lot, it really did. It helped a lot, especially off the court.
NJNets.com: What about Mo's personality off the court helped so much?
CDR: He’s a Detroit guy, so we automatically got along. We have the same mentality when we’re doing certain things. I was able to kick it and we clicked instantly.
NJNets.com: No doubt. What part of your game do you feel improved the most this year?
CDR: Just the pace of my game. I was always confident in my ability, but the game was going a little too fast at first.
NJNets.com: Was there anyone in particular who helped mentor you? What did they focus on?
CDR: Keyon Dooling and
NJNets.com: Yeah? What's the specific workout plan?
CDR: Just live in the gym, man. Just live in the gym. I’m going to get a couple of my boys from Detroit, from my neighborhood back home down here, just have them rebounding with me, waking me up, living down here.
NJNets.com: That must be a big change from last summer in Memphis.
CDR: Yeah, we had summer school and stuff – I was still a student-athlete. But now I’m a full-time athlete and I can just go as hard as I want at that.
NJNets.com: Is that freeing?
CDR: Definitely. Definitely. School is a whole other monster. We had to do our schoolwork at Memphis, so it was a whole other story.
NJNets.com: Speaking of Memphis, how do you think the program holds up now that Coach Calipari left for Kentucky?
CDR: Hopefully it stays steady. But it’s hard, because Cal was a huge part of that program, and a huge part of getting players into Conference-USA. It’s gonna be real hard, man, but I wish Memphis the best. That’s still my alma mater and I love the school and I’ma always be a Memphis Tiger at heart. But it’s going to be hard over there.
NJNets.com: How did he help prepare you for playing in the NBA?
CDR: He makes you mentally strong. He’s going to yell at you, he’s going to pick at you, he’s going to try to get under your skin and get in your head. But through all of that, he still lets you play.
NJNets.com: Looking back on the year, you really broke through at the end of the season, finishing the year as a starter. What made that possible?
CDR: I had an opportunity, that’s all that was. You get an opportunity, you just have to seize it, and that’s all I did: just seized the opportunity.
NJNets.com: Is that encouraging heading into next season?
CDR: Yeah, yeah. But you know, like I said the other day, I’m not content with this; I want to build on this, I want to build on everything I’m doing. And that’s what I plan on doing.
NJNets.com: I know you said you'll be living out of the gym, but do you have any vacation plans?
CDR: Yeah, yeah, of course that, of course that. But I’m really focused on this basketball thing. I’m really focused on that.
NJNets.com: Did you get any good advice on improving that midrange game?
CDR: Just shoot. Repetition: same shot every time. That’s pretty much it -- shoot, shoot, shoot.
NJNets.com: One more - you're a big tattoo guy. Any new ink we should anticipate?
CDR: Yeah. That’s going to be a surprise, though. Next season, I’m going to have a lot more.