Keyon Dooling Q&A: Putting Himself in the Corner(s)
May 15, 2009
By Ben Couch -- NJNETS.COM
East Rutherford, N.J.—After four years in his home state of Florida -- one with the Heat and three with the Magic -- Keyon Dooling was ready for a new beginning. He found opportunity awaiting in New Jersey, signing with the Nets, who used a trade exception left over from the Devin Harris-Jason Kidd swap to ink the free agent to a three-year deal .
Dooling responded with an outstanding season, posting a final nightly line of 9.7 points and 3.5 assists while shooting 99-of-235 (.421) from three and .436 overall in 77 games (26.9 minutes per). All but the overall shooting percentage were career-bests. He even capably filled in when needed, starting 18 games and averaging 14.5 points and 5.7 assists in 36.8 minutes during those contests.
With the season complete, Dooling took time to chat with NJNets.com, discussing what adjustments helped him have a career year, doing the Downward Dog with his wife, and how much he loves that Florida fishing.
NJNets.com: Going back to the beginning of the year, what goals had you set for yourself and the team?
Keyon Dooling:Well I looked at it as my best opportunity to play as a pro. Obviously, we weren’t picked very high -- a lot of people had us 15th or dead last in the East, so our goal was to make the playoffs. We had an opportunity, but it seems like it slipped away.
NJNets.com: With so many new faces, how long did it take for everyone to feel comfortable with each other?
Keyon:I think we’re still getting there. It doesn’t happen overnight, it’s a process. We’re on that process right now. I wouldn’t say we’re a team that’s come together, because our record doesn’t reflect that a team that’s come together. But nevertheless, we’re taking baby steps, we’re taking strides in the right direction, we’re getting better. Everybody’s starting to understand each other’s role, starting to appreciate each other’s role, and we’re showing we can be a better team next year.
NJNets.com: Did you feel like there was a point during the season when the team showed what it might be capable of?
Keyon: Early on, I think we surprised some people. I don’t think the league necessarily had a lot of scouting materials as far as our open offense at the beginning of the season, so I think we took some teams by surprise, creating gaps for Devin. But as you get scouted, you have to rely more on the team game. So we’ve got some work to do.
NJNets.com: How'd you feel about your individual play?
Keyon: I think I did pretty good. I didn’t necessarily set too many individual goals, but from a playing standpoint, I knew I’d get to be on the court more than I had ever been. I’m glad Coach Frank gave me the opportunity to show people what I could do.
NJNets.com: You've said that after the 2007-08 season, the Orlando coaches told you to work on your three-point shot during your exit interview. What did you do to improve?
Keyon: I shot every day. I made about 300 3’s at least five days a week – that's just counting makes. Throughout the whole summer, constantly shooting, it became repetition. Then my repetition became habit and my habit became my stroke, ultimately. Hard work pays off, and I think the summertime is the one time of the year you get to sit back and actually add something to your game. Three-point shooting was definitely something I focused on.
NJNets.com: Was there a point when it clicked and you realized, 'Hey -- I've got this!' ?
Keyon:Yeah, I would say about a month into it, it became an easier shot. I started to notice less fatigue while I was shooting. It wasn’t necessarily that the ball was getting lighter or I was getting stronger, it was that I was getting more efficient as a shooter. Sometimes it would take me longer time to shoot from certain spots, and in particular, the corners was where I was struggling during the summer. So I put more time into my corner 3, and that’s become my best shot.
NJNets.com: How difficult was it to take advice on improvement when you didn't know what team or system you'd end up being a part of?
Keyon: I’m pretty humble. The coaches in Orlando, I learned a lot from them, so I valued their opinion. It was something that they thought would help my game, whether it was there or anywhere. And it holds true for anyone: becoming a better three-point shooter allows you to be on the court in late-game situations because you’re always a threat to make shots.
NJNets.com: Looking toward the offseason, what kind of routine will you be following this year?
Keyon: I definitely need to take some time to get my body feeling better. My summer regimen is pretty simple: I do what you call an ‘active recovery,’ meaning yoga, pilates, spinning class. All so you’re not banging your feet on the court every day. One thing I am consistent with is shooting every day – well, at least five days a week. From a cardio standpoint, you can catch up with that, but you have to work on the little nuances of your game that will help you.
NJNets.com: How long have you been doing that?
Keyon: I started about two summers ago, and it’s helped a lot with my flexibility. It’s a way of training that’s outside of a basketball setting. It’s a fun thing to do, especially if you’re doing it with your wife or your friends or something like that. Because with no strings attached, we’re laughing at each other because we can’t do Downward Dog positions. It’s competitive and it’s fun and it’s free.
NJNets.com: And I know you love video games ...
Keyon: Yeah! I just got The Godfather Part II. I cannot wait to play it. I’m going to take over the whole city.
NJNets.com: I'll be sure to stay on your good side, ha. Any other plans to kick back?
Keyon: I’m going to do some reading. I’ve got about nine books on ice that I’m ready to read. I’ve got two video games I’ve got to finish: Grand Theft Auto IV, and then I want to beat The Godfather. I’m also going to spend time with my wife and my kids, my family.
NJNets.com: I heard a rumor that you're a big fishing guy -- survey says?
Keyon: I love to fish. I will fish three or four times a week. I am the best bass fisherman in South Florida. … [Laughs] Nah, I’m kidding. But I do pretty well.
NJNets.com: Where do you usually fish?
Keyon: Right at my house, there’s a couple different streams. You don’t know what you might pull out of there; you can pull anything from a slug to a peacock bass to catfish to -- if you’re in the wrong spot -- maybe a gator. It’s pretty adventurous for me, but relaxing and also competitive, because me and my boys go together.
NJNets.com: Just the guys, eh?
Keyon: Most of them are my friends. My wife and kids, they’re girly girls, so I can’t get them out there. My brothers, though. It’s like a fellas event.
NJNets.com: Are there any other players that you train or hang out with in the offseason?
Keyon: Down in Florida, I live right across the street from Udonis Haslem, so we see each other every day. He’s one of my fishing buddies, video game buddies. James Jones is a guy who I’ve watched work on his three-point shooting during the summertime, and he’s a prolific shooter, so he helped me with that a little bit. I’m going to the Bahamas with Jameer Nelson and his family. Jameer and Trevor Ariza are my best friends in the NBA, so I make sure I take the time to see them.
NJNets.com: Both of them are friends of yours from your recent three-year stay with the Magic, right?
Keyon: Yeah. We’ve become very close. Our families take trips together. You’re only going to have a few, but it’s good to have good friends in the league.