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Wednesday June 29, 2011 3:23 PM

Catching Up With Kyle Lowry


Rockets' point guard discusses leadership, the new guys, goals and golf

Jason Friedman
Rockets.com

HOUSTON - This week Rockets.com is catching up with the team's players to see what they've been up to this summer and how their respective games are coming along. Today's target is Kyle Lowry, who's coming off a terrific season which saw him record career-bests in points, rebounds and assists per game, along with a career-high in 3-point percentage as well.

JCF: Last time we caught up with you, your foot was obviously giving you some trouble. How is it now?

KL: It’s fine. It’s a work in progress. The last couple weeks have been a good step forward for me and I’m glad I can be back out there working out and playing a little 3-on-3.

JCF: You looked really good out there yesterday, that’s for sure. Have you had a chance to get to know Coach McHale a little bit and how your role might change, if at all, going forward?

KL: Not too much, it’s too early for that type of thing. We’ve talked about different things we did last year that we want to keep in and implement going forward. But also of course he’s going to add some of his own things here and there, work in some new terminology, things like that.

JCF: What sort of things did he say to you when the two of you first spoke?

KL: He just wanted to make sure that I knew that he’s going to be tough on me – be tough on everyone – but to let me know that he’s going to be hard on us for a reason, and that’s to win games. He’s going to expect me to be more of a leader and he’s going to expect that we all go out there and play with intensity and heart and that chip on our shoulder that we played with last year down the stretch. He’s very enthusiastic about everything, very upbeat, up-tempo and I think it’s going to be interesting to see when the season starts, because that’s when he’ll show his true coaching abilities.

JCF: How do you feel about fully embracing that leadership role?

KL: That’s what I’ve always wanted to be. People say I’m a natural leader, but I just go out there and do my job and do whatever it takes to win; that’s what comes with being a leader, those are the sort of things I’ve done as I’ve tried to grow into a leader and I’m just going to continue to do them.

JCF: What is it about you that makes people say you’re a natural leader and what is your leadership philosophy?

KL: Just go out there and do your job. Go out there and play hard, understand your teammates, understand the other team’s gameplan, understand your coaches’ philosophies and what they want you to do. There’s nothing better than showing, though; more than talking, you have to make your actions speak louder than words. So when I go out there, I give it my all and give it 110 percent and I guess people take notice of that.

JCF: You also have that Philly toughness to your game, so I assume that means showing tough love, especially on a team filled with young guys, won’t be a problem for you, either.

KL: You have to. They also have to be open-minded to understand that I’m not yelling at them out of spite, but to show them that I want them to be better and I expect more out of them.

JCF: What do you expect out of yourself next year? I know you look to Chauncey Billups as a guy to model your game after, so what should we expect from Kyle Lowry next season?

KL: A better year. I want to be more of a stabilizing force and be someone who’s going to do it all year, consistently trying to be the top player or point guard on the floor that night.

JCF: You had a six-week stretch right before you got hurt last year during which you were playing at an All Star level, putting up around 20 points, 8 assists every night while shooting better than 40 percent from 3. I assume when you’re talking about consistency, the goal is to play at that level from start to finish next season?

KL: Pretty much. I want to be that consistent all year. I want to play the same way all 82 games. I want to be consistent every night.

JCF: What’s your scouting report on the new guys you’ve seen so far?

KL: I like them. They’re young, they’re talented, but it’s just a big difference when you start playing against older, veteran talented guys also. But I’m impressed so far with the new guys coming in. I think some of them are going to be a good help for us right away and some of them will be long-term projects.

JCF: Who do you see helping out right away?

KL: I think Marcus Morris will be an impact player right away because he’s a multidimensional player. Johnny Flynn gives us more speed and athleticism. I think Chandler Parsons and D-Mo right now will be guys who will be really good practice players and will really help get our guys better by pushing them hard in practice. But they're both very talented, that's obvious, and will get better quickly.

JCF: I guess you have to say that about Marcus since he’s a fellow Philly guy, right?

KL: I’m just saying (laughs). I see what I see.

JCF: How about the guys you’re already familiar with – Patrick, Jordan, Hasheem – what have you noticed about their development?

KL: They’re all coming back and looking very hungry. Jordan’s playing very aggressively, Hasheem is getting stronger and playing more to his strengths and Patrick is just Patrick: everybody has seen the maturation of Pat during the season – he just keeps growing. But they’re all working hard, in here everyday, getting better in the summertime like they’re supposed to be doing. Their work ethic has been great.

JCF: We know you’re going to be working hard yourself on the court, what’s your plan for the rest of the summer off of it?

KL: Off the court, I’ll just be chilling and hanging out with my family, and working on my golf game.

JCF: How’s that coming along?

KL: It’s coming along pretty well. I’ve been playing a couple times a week.

JCF: What are you shooting these days?

KL: I shoot between 90 and 96, so that’s good for me. It’s only really my second year playing a lot, so it will get better.

JCF: Well then let me ask you this as a final question: On the court, I’ve always admired the fact that you do a great job keeping your cool when calls don’t go your way; most of the time you just hand the ball to the referee and walk the other way. Golf is a completely different game, though. Have you had any temper tantrums on the course yet?

KL: Yes (laughs). I’ve thrown my club five or six times in my life, and I’ve walked off the course, by myself, a few times. Golf is a whole different sport, a whole different challenge, everything.

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