Hornets.com 1-on-1: Orlando's Chris Duhon
By: Clyde Verdin, Hornets.com
January 12, 2011
Before the Hornets tipped off with the Orlando Magic Wednesday night at the New Orleans Arena, Hornets.com caught up with Magic guard, and Slidell native, Chris Duhon.
Duhons all-star career began at Salmen High School, where his talents would soon earn him a scholarship to Duke University in North Carolina. In his four years with the Blue Devils, Duhon went on to have the second-most wins in school history with 123, win three Atlantic Coast Conference Championships, two Final Four berths and a national championship in 2000-01.
The 6-1 guard was selected 38th overall in the 2004 draft by Chicago, playing there for four years until signing with the Knicks as a free agent in 2008 and joining the Magic this past offseason.
Hornets.com: You started a foundation in 2005 to aid in the recovery after Hurricane Katrina that you still currently run. Tell us about it and how much it means to you personally.
Duhon: It means a lot. Just being from here and being able to help out family, friends and others get back to their normal lives. Its something that Ill continue to do because it means so much to me.
Hornets.com: How much time do you get to spend here in over the course of a year?
Duhon: Well I host a basketball camp and golf tournament here during the summer, so if Im lucky Ill be able to spend about a month to a month-and-a-half here to be able to do that.
Hornets.com: You and about seven of your Magic teammates attended a basketball game at Salmen when you arrived in New Orleans. Were they receptive to the idea, and did they enjoy it?
Duhon: Its something I thanked them for doing, by taking time out of their schedules to go to the game. I wanted them to go because those kids dont get to see these types of guys in person every day. It shows what type of character guys we have, and what kind of team we are.
Hornets.com: Did the coach ask you to talk to the team before or after the game, or were you just going to the game as a fan?
Duhon: I actually know a lot of the kids. Many of them work my camp in the summer. I also know a lot of them from just being around Slidell and being the kids of people I know, watching them grow up. Theyre in high school now, so that means Im starting to get old [laughs].
Hornets.com: From a community standpoint, how important is it for the Hornets to remain in New Orleans?
Duhon: I think its huge that the team stays here. This is a great city and I believe it deserves all the major sports we can get like basketball and baseball, whatever it may be. I think its very critical that we keep this franchise here.
Hornets.com: With both you and J.J. Redick representing two very successful eras in Duke basketball, what is it like playing together in Orlando?
Duhon: Its good. Obviously Im familiar with him because we got to play together for two years at Duke, and hes definitely grown as a player and getting better daily. I understand how he plays the game and is an easy guy to play with being a knock-down shooter.
Hornets.com: What are your thoughts on this years Duke squad?
Duhon: I really like this team. They have a lot of shooters, their defense is better, more athletic and just a fun team to watch. Theyre going to put a lot of points on the board and really be a fun team to watch.
Hornets.com: Were you able to watch last years national championship game?
Duhon: I was supposed to go to the game but my flight got cancelled. I was in Los Angeles and was going to head out there on the first flight out, but when it got cancelled I just watched it from home. But they won so it was still exciting.
Hornets.com: What about playing for Coach Krzyzewski helped you transition to the NBA?
Duhon: When I was there we had Jay Williams, Shane Battier, Carlos Boozer and Mike Dunleavy and he just let us play. We really didnt call a lot of plays, giving us the opportunity to be ourselves and figure out how to mesh together. He taught us about leadership and collective responsibility, intangibles that make a great team.
Hornets.com: The one knock on Duke players when they come out of school is that they play well in college but it doesnt translate into NBA success. But looking around at players like Elton Brand, Grant Hill and Boozer, theres a lot of longevity to their careers. Who do you attribute that kind of success to?
Duhon: I think that kind of credit goes back to Coach K. When youre there he teaches you how to play the game and expects you to have a high basketball IQ. Thats the one thing he preached to us, that if we knew how to play the game the right way, we could play anywhere and with anybody. A lot of players can get away with their athleticism, but if you have the other intangibles you can have a long career.
Hornets.com: Youre on a team that has a legitimate shot to go far in the playoffs. What is it like to play for a true contender?
Duhon: Its a fun atmosphere. Everyone has dreams to win the championship and being on a team that has a realistic shot to do that is exciting. The best thing about it is that a lot of the guys on this team are very humble and truly enjoy being around each other. It makes it fun to come to work every day.
Hornets.com: With that, do you feel that you have to exceed your level of play because it could mean so much more in the end?
Duhon: You just want to bring your best every day. We created an environment here where everyone works hard and wants to work hard to get better. Nobodys going to allow you to slip up and everyone knows that our goals are to stay focused on the end result and thats winning a title.
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