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Friday August 29, 2008 9:18 AM

Catching Up With Chuck Hayes


Rockets forward dishes on Dream Team, parenting and the upcoming season

Jason Friedman
Rockets.com Staff Writer

HOUSTON - Update: Twenty four hours after this story was posted, Chuck Hayes suffered a broken nose during a summer scrimmage. He underwent successful surgery Thursday afternoon. Hayes is expected to miss between four to six weeks before he is cleared to return to on-court workouts.

The draft is done. The free agent frenzy and Olympics are, too. Preseason is still more than a month away. Yep, we've officially entered hoops hibernation.

So to get you through the basketball void, Rockets.com will spend the next few weeks catching up with various members of the team to find out what they've been up to this summer. The tour begins with hardworking Chuck Hayes.

JCF: What have you been up to this summer off the basketball court?

CH: Being a father. My little man is at that stage when he gets into everything and whatever he sees somebody else do, he’s going to try it, too. He’s running me wild.

JCF: What’s more tiring: Playing basketball or taking care of him?

CH: I think him (laughs). I think he takes the cake. He just demands so much attention because even though you know he’s fine, when you let him run around you still got to watch him because you will never know what he get himself into. Plus my son has no kind of body control at all. He runs into the wall while he’s looking at it. He’ll fall over his own shoes or his toys and come down and hit his head on something. You just gotta watch him, so I’ve just been a father this whole summer.

JCF: How old is he now?

CH: He just turned 16 months.

JCF: Have you been able to play any video games or movies at all, or do you just not have time anymore?

CH: Earlier in the summer I got the Wii and my son played Wii with me, but that kind of died out quick. But I just saw two movies. Batman: Dark Knight was classic. I had to go see it two more times. I think Heath Ledger really did a number with the Joker. Then I saw Tropic Thunder which was one of the funniest movies that’s come out in a long time.

JCF: Really? I saw the preview and couldn’t decide whether it was going to be good, or just flat-out horrific.

CH: I thought it was going to be a dumb movie like one of those Naked Gun type films, but it had a storyline that will throw you off and the dialogue in there will have you dying.

JCF: Alright, you convinced me. I’ll have to go check it out. Now what about on the court? We always hear that NBA players like to add something new to their games during the summer. Is there anything you’ve been working on that will surprise the fans when they see you this season?

CH: I just want to be consistent. Last year I personally feel like I had a span where I’d have one or two good games in a row, then I’d disappear for the rest of the week. So I just want to be consistent and be aggressive. Sometimes, actually, I found myself being a little bit too passive. So I really just want to be consistent, aggressive and be a guy coach knows he can count on.

JCF: What does consistency mean to you? Because obviously you’re not going to be the guy who goes out there and puts up an 18 and 10 every night; especially not with the firepower now on this team. So much of what you do goes beyond the traditional box score, so how do you personally measure consistency?

CH: It comes down to accountability and trust – that my teammates and coach know what to expect out of me. If I bring the same thing every night, then they know that, for the time I am in the game, that’s what they’re going to get.

JCF: Now you guys have had a rather interesting offseason, to say the least. Ron Artest. Brent Barry. Joey Dorsey. How excited are you for this upcoming season?

CH: I’m very excited. We’ve got a nice group coming in. I mean Ron, his resume speaks for itself. He’ll bring a little attitude and toughness to the team. Brent is a champion. He’s a long-time veteran who knows the ropes of the game. And Joey is just an active, high-octane guy who’s going to go out there and cause a lot of ruckus. So we’ve got a little bit of everything and with the guys we’re bringing back from last year our chances look pretty good.

JCF: Now from a personal standpoint, do you worry about the incredible depth of this team cutting into your playing time?

CH: No, that’s not an even a concern. You know, coach is going to put out there the guys he feels can get the job done and I just have to try to convince him with my play in training camp and preseason that I’m one of those guys he can trust.

JCF: Hey, off topic, but are you much of a football guy?

CH: A little bit. I’ve got a favorite team.

JCF: Which is?

CH: The Raiders.

JCF: Yikes. I’m sorry about that. How are they gonna do this year?

CH: You know what, I don’t know. But I’m still gonna cheer them on. If we lose, I’ll hear about it and if we win, you’ll definitely hear about it. But I don’t know what to expect, because the AFC is tough.

JCF: Well, and they’re such a young team, too.

CH: If we can keep those guys and continue to pay them – because we are a broke franchise – we should do well.

JCF: What about the Olympics? You know people are starting to ask whether or not Team USA's 2008 team was the equal of the ’92 Dream Team. What’s your take?

CH: Okay, we just had this discussion in the locker room. I’d take the Dream Team but…individually, some of the guys on this 2008 team can get some of the guys on that team.

JCF: Well sure, Christian Laettner…

CH: (laughs) Well, we said that one. It's tough, because but we’d have Kobe on Mike, I think LeBron would have to be on Magic or Pippen. But then you’ve got D-Wade vs. Clyde. You got Dwight vs. Pat. Chris Bosh vs. David Robinson. Then you’ve got…

JCF: Charles Barkey…

 CH: …Barkley going against, say, ‘Melo. Then you have John Stockton going against Chris Paul or Deron Williams. So the match-ups are unreal. Who do you pick in their prime? I mean, Mike, Pippen and maybe Charles were still in their primes, but Magic and Larry were kind of up there in age. I mean, I’d still have to go with the Dream Team, but there would be some very interesting match-ups.

JCF: Okay, well since you mentioned it, Clyde vs. D-Wade – who would you take there?

CH: Psssshhhhh (sighs). Man…

JCF: Haha. Be careful, you’re in Houston now. But be honest.

CH: Dang it. Both got championships… Awwwwww… I would have to take… Oh, I gotta take Clyde. But barely. Just barely.

JCF: Wade was awesome.

CH: Wade was great. Coming off the bench, and the minutes he played, to average that many points – he was great. But, oh, that’s a tough one. Clyde, but just by a nose – probably just as close as that Michael Phelps’ win.

Have a comment, critique or suggestion for Rockets.com? Contact Jason Friedman via email at: jasonf@rocketball.com