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Monday September 22, 2008 6:30 PM

Catching Up With Joey Dorsey


Rookie forward full of surprises - both on and off the court

Jason Friedman
Rockets.com Staff Writer

HOUSTON - The draft is done. The free agent frenzy and Olympics are, too. Preseason is still a couple weeks away. Yep, we're officially in the midst of 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 continues today as we chat with Joey Dorsey.

*Note to the reader: Dorsey has not yet come to terms with the Rockets, but the team is now very close to signing him to his first NBA contract.

JCF: How's your summer been? What have you been doing outside of basketball?

JD: Basically I just go to the movies a lot. I went the other day to see that new Samuel L. Jackson movie, Lakeview Terrace. On my off time, that's all I'm doing is going to the movies and watching old school basketball guys like Dennis Rodman - you know, the great rebounders - so I can get a knack for rebounding in the league.

JCF: Who's the guy you look up to the most, past or present, whom you'd most like to model your game after?

JD: I would have to say Carlos Boozer. Yeah, I like Boozer; I like his game. He's more of a power guy and he can shoot the little 18-footer, so I like Boozer's game. I'm a rebounder. I love rebounding the ball and getting in there and doing the dirty work, but a lot of people don't know I can score the ball, too.

JCF: Now you know you're in Houston and Carlos Boozer is sort of a dirty word around these parts.

JD: (laughs) Yeah, yeah. I know.

JCF: But at the same time, the Rockets can always use another body to throw his way. Do you look forward to accepting that challenge?

JD: Oh yeah, I would love to guard him; someone that you look up to and then to play against him - you want to go out there and show him why you're here.

JCF: Going back to the movie thing, what's the best film you've seen this summer?

JD: Lakeview Terrace might be it.

JCF: Really? It was that good?

JD: It was that good. When the movie started, it was sold out, people were sitting in the aisles, standing up and everything. It was a very good movie.

JCF: Are you a video game guy, too?

JD: Yes, yes. X-Box, Playstation 3...

JCF: And what game is taking up most of your time?

JD: NBA Live, NBA 2K8... I'm hoping I'm in NBA Live '09, but I gotta get the contract done (laughs).

JCF: Well let's talk real basketball. When we last spoke in Vegas, Ron Artest wasn't a Rocket yet. How pumped are you to play on such a loaded team?

JD: Me and the guys were talking - If everybody stays healthy, there's no reason we shouldn't go as far as we want to go. And just with me, it's just getting down the plays, getting the actions and making the reads. So getting with Ron and T-Mac and learning those reads and everything - I think I'll be good.

JCF: Have you had a chance to work with the coaches some in an effort to get more familiar with the system?

JD: Yes, we were doing it today - situation drills. So I was thinking out there, and when you're playing in this offense, you can't be thinking that much; you gotta make the quick read.

JCF: Hey, going back to your introductory press conference, everybody remembers you describing yourself as "Ray Lewis with a basketball." I assume you're a big football guy?

JD: Yes, yes, yes.

JCF: And since you're from Baltimore, I assume the Ravens are your team?

JD: I like Ray. I like certain players, but I really like Dallas.

JCF: Oh no. How do you grow up in Baltimore and end up a Cowboys fan?

JD: Because of Deion [Sanders]. I followed Deion since he was with the Falcons. Then he played two sports when he played baseball as well. And you know my first love was football, and then I kind of got into basketball. But I still have a love and a passion for playing football.

JCF: What was it exactly that attracted you to Deion?

JD: Man, just the way he was out there running the punt and kick returns back, and he was just so flashy. I loved Deion.

JCF: What position did you play when you were in football?

JD: I was a tight end and defensive end. That's why I think I'm so physical.

JCF: That's interesting that you went from football to basketball, because we typically here stories of it being the other way around, where basketball guys end up playing football professionally.

JD: Well, the Texans were actually at my basketball workout.

JCF: Really? Did they ask you to do any football drills?

JD: Yeah, they gave me a couple football drills.

JCF: Wow. So do you have any gridiron aspirations?

JD: Yeah, after I complete my first contract in basketball in a few years I would love to take on football for a year or two just to see where I'm at out there.

JCF: Very interesting. Hey, I almost forgot to ask: The first time we spoke, you said your goal was to become a 60% free throw shooter this season. How's your stroke coming along?

JD: Day before yesterday, I came out here and worked out with one of the coaches. I made 75 out of 100, so free throws are coming along really well.

JCF: Now obviously there's a big difference between hitting them in practice and hitting them in games. When you were at Memphis, how many would you usually hit in practice?

JD: When I was at Memphis, I couldn't showcase my game - shooting the jump shot, putting the ball on the floor, passing it - so me going to the free throw line, it was like, "You gotta make this shot." So there was so much pressure on me and the confidence just wasn't there.

JCF: So do you think you're going to surprise people with your offensive game? I mean, everybody knows what you can do defensively, but nobody expects you to do anything but dunk on offense.

JD: You know, my mid-range jumpshot is coming along pretty well. We had a [shooting] drill today where it was me, Brent Barry, Mike Harris and DJ Strawberry against T-Mac, Luther Head, Chuck Hayes and somebody else, I can't remember who it was. But they thought the teams were even by having Chuck on one side and me on the other (laughs). They didn't know I could shoot the ball like that. We were shooting threes and mid-range jump shots and we beat them 4-1.

JCF: So from what area of the floor do you feel most comfortable?

JD: It don't matter. My range is out there. I can shoot beyond the arc and everything.

JCF: Really? Well if that's the case, you're going to surprise an awful lot of people.

JD: Yeah, yeah. People don't know I can shoot the ball because my whole four years at Memphis I was just a rebounder and a dunker. But I was cool with that because we had players who could do all the other things.

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