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Marv Albert Q&A, Part I
March 27, 2009
by Ben Couch - NJNETS.COM


East Rutherford, N.J. If you've spent any time watching the NBA during the last 20 years, you know the call. Say it with me now:

"YES!!! And it counts!"

It is legendary broadcaster Marv Albert's trademark, and he has been delivering it on the YES Network as the Nets' play-by-play announcer for more than four years. Albert, who worked for NBC Sports for more than 20 years, has covered 12 NBA Finals, seven Super Bowls and six NHL Stanley Cup Finals along with boxing, college basketball and the NHL All-Star Game. During the course of his career, Albert has earned five national sports Emmy Awards and four New York Emmy Awards, six CableACE Awards, and the 1997 Curt Gowdy Media Award, one of the highest honors given to sports journalists.

Albert recently took time out of his busy schedule to discuss the Nets' season, as well as his career in broadcasting. Be sure to check back next week for more of our exclusive interview, right here on NJNets.com!

NJNets.com: What's enabled Devin Harris to break out as an All-Star this season?

Marv Albert: He came over from a free-flowing offense in Dallas. It was a different setting because he was surrounded by Dirk Nowitzki and Josh Howard and they had a different style where he was more of a set-up guy. He would shoot or try to take his man off the dribble only in certain situations. I think that this offense was made-to-order for him and hes just emerged as a terrific player and an All-Star.

I think its the style of the Nets and the fact that the major scorers on this team are Devin and Vince Carter. Anything else that they get is bonus, and you always need a third scorer; now, Brook Lopez has been developing into that. But in Dallas there were too many other people: you had Jason Terry coming off the bench; you had Jerry Stackhouse at the time coming off the bench.

NJNets.com: How has Vince Carter adapted to playing alongside such a capable backcourt scorer?

Marv: I think Vince has easily had his best all-around year as a Net. Were not seeing as many fadeaway jump shots, though that will happen from time to time. Vince also, at times, plays through injuries and doesnt say anything. Hes a tough player in terms of not talking about when hes had to play hurt. But when hes healthy, which has been most of the season, hes not only capable of being a prolific scorer, but also -- as I think Net fans have seen and I think they saw in Toronto, too -- he is a superb passer.

He has really melded well with Devin and I think he has taken a lot of the leadership on his shoulders in terms of being able to play backup point. The offense can run through him occasionally if Harris sits down or, in a case of Devin being injured and Keyon Dooling starting, Vince sometimes will play the point. Hes also a pretty good rebounder. But I think just his all around game has been excellent.

He had a bad stretch recently on the West Coast; I thought he was hurt, though. Then he broke out -- he had that 41-point game and then he had three or four strong games including that phenomenal performance at the garden against the Knicks where he scored the first 17 points in the second quarter. You dont see that too often. And they were all good shots. It wasnt like he was forcing anything; he was taking it to the rim. That was spectacular, and he just put the game away. He ended up with 29; had he stayed in that would have been 40-plus. But they didnt need him because it was a blowout.

NJNets.com: You've seen some great big men during your career, notably Patrick Ewing with the Knicks. Where does Brook Lopez fall on the development curve for NBA big men?

Marv: Brook has come along so fast. He started the season behind Josh Boone, and I think eventually he would have taken over but Boone got hurt and Brook worked his way into the starting lineup. Within the next couple years, I think he will be considered one of the best centers in the NBA, because there are very few centers like him anymore. It used to be the league was full of tall centers that also could shoot a little medium-range jump shot and could do other things like block shots. Hes a throwback.

For me, whenever I get the All-Star ballot, with Shaquille ONeal on the downside -- although hes had a good year -- I always find it hard to come up with the second center that you select for the All-Star team. Its usually Yao Ming for sure, or Shaq, or now Dwight Howard, but after that its tough. So I think Brook has come along way considering his age and the fact that hes in his first season in the pros. Hes a guy who works hard, and I like the fact that he gets down on himself. A lot of guys dont, or dont show it.

I know Lawrence Frank tries to keep the spirits up if Brook has done something wrong or if he has taken a bad shot, which doesnt happen that frequently. But Brook cares so much and I think hes the type of guy who will always come back after the offseason with additional moves. You would see that with guys like Bernard King, Kevin McHale, Michael Jordan, and Larry Bird. They worked on their game in the off-season despite the obvious -- that they were so good. Not to compare Brook Lopez to those particular players, but I think he has that sense of the game and will get better and better. You can see it even during the course of the season. You can see new parts of his repertoire developing and hes going for it. He can shoot from a little further out now, hes not afraid to take that jump shot. I thought he was at his best the other night at the Garden, although David Lee is not a true center. But he just had a tremendous game.

NJNets.com: Aside from those three players, who else is contributing that a casual fan might not notice?

Marv: The casual fan, if theyre watching on a somewhat regular basis, cant miss Jarvis Hayes or Keyon Dooling. I think Dooling has done all you can hope for, either coming off the bench or as a starter. He has such a great attitude about the game; he knows its a long season and if things dont go right he bounces back. And I have seen that from him when he was with the Clippers or Magic. He has just a great attitude, hes played so well and has hit clutch threes.

Jarvis Hayes is another guy. We saw it last night in one of his better games. Hes been consistent off the bench. And obviously the last few games Chris Douglas-Roberts. Hes still in a learning process. His style in college was so different from the pros, but you can see he is starting to come on and you can see possibilities down the road. What I like about him is he takes it to the rim so often it gives them a different dimension. I would say its still early; we are talking two games, although he had maybe one or two other opportunities. Its hard when youre not playing and then youre playing 15 or 20 minutes. He had a good game back in Memphis when they had to play him due to injuries. But I would say that those are the three guys, and to anyone watching on a regular basis I think it would be obvious.

NJNets.com: Can you recall any players who had similar late-season breakthroughs?

Marv: Yeah, there have been guys. Sometimes its getting an opportunity. I dont want to compare them, but I remember when Walt Frazier first came into the league and Red Holzman was playing him off the bench for about a half-season. And he really had no confidence, as smooth as it developed later on; obviously hes a Hall of Famer. But, it took a while for him to fit in, and then he just took off like a shot.

Another guy was Bill Bradley. I remember they were kind of pressured to start him and play him a lot.They played him as a point guard, and he was very awkward; opponents would strip the ball (easily). It was very tough for him, playing out of position. It turned out he was a small forward, a position where he didnt have to bring the ball up. Later on though -- after he became a polished player -- they could use him occasionally as a backup point and he would handle the ball well. But Bradley really struggled at the start and because of all the publicity being a Rhodes Scholar coming out of Princeton, he was a target. Teams would double team, they would trap him, but eventually, after he moved to small forward, you could see his skills. Again, dont put Chris Douglas-Roberts in that sphere, because he is not anywhere close to that, but those players did blossom.

Check back soon to read the continuation of our Interview with Marv, in which he discusses his career in broadcasting.


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