I've been in Charlotte since June 1st, working out with my personal trainer, a guy who goes by the name of Jeff George. Not the Jeff George from the Indianapolis Colts. Just Jeff George. We're focusing on general overall body composition, core strength, flexibility -- all the things I wanted to focus on this year heading into the season. There's no top-secret mission. Just being more consistent in games and change the game with confidence.
My thumb's been good. Zero problems. I gave it a little down time after the season, let it heal properly and it hasn’t given me any problems since.
It feels great to hear Kiki mention me as part of the young core. Words can’t describe it. If you look at Kiki’s record of putting teams together, it’s pretty impeccable. Anytime a guy of that stature can give you an endorsement like that on a team that he’s trying to build, it does nothing but make you more hungry to be a part of the team and try to do everything you can to make the team better in any kind of way.
And I know Devin said we talked about getting the guys in early, but we didn’t split up the players or anything, ha. We spoke earlier this summer, and I talked to L-Frank about getting the guys up there, so everyone can be on the same page. Last year, we had a lot of moving parts and it took us a long time to jell. This year we have some moving parts, but our younger guys are more experienced. Devin has a year under his belt from a great season, an All-Star season for himself, and Brook is developing at a pretty good pace. If we can get everybody else on the same page from a development standpoint, I think we’ll surprise people a little more this year to an even greater degree than we did last year.
Fatherhood, Four Months In
There've been a lot of sleepless nights, but it’s well worth it. I still get up at 7:30 every morning, and he keeps me up all night, but I wake up rested somehow. He’s wonderful man. There’s not too many things I can put above the birth of my son.
He’s starting to focus in now: he can laugh, he can hold me. Just the natural progression from birth to now being four months old, it’s amazing, man. I take pictures of him every day. I’ve got pictures all through my phone and on my computer. I can’t get enough of him. Regardless of how hard my day has been: hard workouts, hard shooting or court workout or whatnot, I come through the door and regardless of whether I’ve had a good day or a bad day, he’s still smiling. I can do no wrong in his eyes.
There was a tough one a few weeks in, oh yeah. The season ended on April 15th and it was the 17th or 18th, my first night back at home with him and I. Had. No. Clue.
My wife and I, we weren’t freaking out, but it was like, ok, he’s crying. I changed his diaper, I fed him … I don’t know. You just get real nervous and scared when things like that happen, but it’s one of those things where I called my mother and she coached me through it. He just wanted to be held. And we figured out that he’s an outdoors baby -- anytime he’s crying inside, we pick him up and take him outside and he quiets up quick. Ha.
Oh, and he loves the water, too, so we might have another Michael Phelps.
Back to School
I finally restarted working toward my degree in housing and consumer economics. I took a finance class in May and it kicked my tail. Try being away from school for six years and then the first class you take is a finance class. Whoo. I had to put myself in a different mindframe. In school, I sat in the front row. I wanted to get it out of the way and make the best of it. Right now, I’m on plan to graduate in August 2010, but I don’t think I will graduate then. That’s predicated on if I go to school all next summer and I don’t think I’ll do that. I’ll still chop it up in time; I’m not that far away.
I don’t know why I chose to do it this summer. I’ve been procrastinating since my rookie year. Everything kind of snowballed when I got hurt, because I planned on doing it then, but I had summer league that year and then I got hurt my second year in the league, so I guess never really had a chance to get back to it until this summer. This is going on the second summer of me being completely healthy and actually returning to a team. I had one year in Detroit, so I couldn’t go back to school then. After the year in Jersey, I had a two-year contract, well one-year and they picked up my option, so I decided once the season was overwith, I’d have a lot of down time letting my thumb heal anyway, so why not take a class? And that’s what I did.
Bleeding for the Bulldogs
It's almost football season, oh yeah. Oh yeah, oh yeah. We’re going to rebound after last year, when we were the preseason No. 1 and expected to go to a BCS Bowl. But I’ve got to say we’re in a tough conference: it’s Florida’s time. They’ve got a great player in Tim Tebow, a great system, a great coach.
Coach Mark Richt keeps those guys ready to play each and every year, each and every week, so there will be no problem with Georgia having an elite program for years and years to come. Let’s just think we can be in the big game this year and get those guys a well-deserved championship.
Having a high-level football team, that’s wonderful. That’s bragging rights anytime you can talk to the guys on the team about their football teams. I was always most proud of my team. As for the basketball team, I had the chance to meet Mark Fox when I was in school. I think he’s going to do a wonderful job down there, too. He’s an established coach and he’s won at just about every level he’s been, so I’ve got full confidence in him to turn that program around.
The Jarvis Hayes Foundation Basketball Camp
This summer, for the first time, I ran a basketball camp at the Pleasant Hills Community Center in Roswell, Ga. It was from July 13-17. We had a great turnout of kids, from ages 6-16. It was more of a skills camp; we taught them fundamentals: shooting, rebounding, things like that. We even had a Michael Jackson tribute performance. It was a nice week -- one of my older brothers, Marcus, was a counselor there. Everything turned out well and all the proceeds went to my foundation. We were even able to provide 24 kids with full scholarships.
I'm just trying to make a difference in the community. My goal with the foundation is to create a movement that carries from this generation to generations to come. When I’m out the league, I want to have had a lasting impact of making a difference for the less fortunate. This summer helped further solidify that.
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