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Player Preview - Royal Ivey - 9/8/2009

SIXERS.COM will preview each of the team's current players leading up to the start of Training Camp. Today, a quick look at guard Royal Ivey.

Despite the fact that he declined the player option in his contract, there was always the chance that Royal Ivey would return to the Philadelphia 76ers. So when it came time for the Sixers to sign a backup guard, President and General Manager Ed Stefanski had the perfect name in mind after speaking to Head Coach Eddie Jordan. In August, the Sixers officially re-signed Ivey after what would be considered a very productive 2008-09 season.

"Coach Jordan expressed his interest in acquiring a player who puts the team first and plays aggressive defense, both qualities embodied by Royal," said Stefanski at the time of Ivey’s re-signing.

Ivey is the classic example of a player whose contributions can’t be measured by statistics. He’s not going to average a lot of points, rebounds, assists or even steals.

Instead, Ivey is the consummate “glue” guy. Defensively, he’s going to pester opposing guards every second he’s out on the court while offensively, he’s going to play smart, mistake free basketball.

"I’m the garbage man,” Royal will tell you. “I do the dirty work. It doesn’t look pretty, but I get the job done."

That mindset it how a player with career averages of 3.8 points per game will always have a roster spot in the NBA because he strives to do all the little things. That includes returning to Philadelphia weeks before the start of camp to get in the gym and workout with backcourt teammates, including Lou Williams, Willie Green and rookie Jrue Holiday.

Not every player is capable of scoring 20 points a game. Ivey not only recognizes this, he relishes it.

"You have to take pride in it [defense],” says Ivey. Everybody can do it, but people don’t like doing it. I put it in my head from day one that I’m going to be prideful in my defense."

Ivey’s level of commitment also reaps additional rewards. For a first-year starter like Lou Williams, having a defensive specialist like Ivey push him every day in practice is an asset that can’t be overlooked. Also, having a veteran like Ivey on hand to teach the tricks of the trade to a young, budding defender like Jrue Holiday is invaluable as well.

*****

When the recent lineage of New York City point guards is discussed, players with a certain style to their games like Kenny Anderson, Rafer Alston, Stephon Marbury, Jamaal Tinsley and Sebastian Telfair are mentioned.

For that reason, it’s a bit surprising to hear that Royal Ivey attended Cardozo High School in Queens, New York, the same school Rafer Alston attended. The same Rafer Alston who’s better known by his streetball name of “Skip to My Lou”. The same “Skip to My Lou” who paved the way for flair and flash to become popular again in basketball through the AND1 Mixtapes that were disseminated throughout the mid 90’s.

Hard to believe that Ivey himself wasn’t caught up in that trend, considering he was only a few years behind Alston at Cardozo. But Ivey’s advice to young point guards is loud and clear.

"Take the flashiness out of your game and just get it done,” preaches Ivey. “Don’t try to make the home run play all the time."

While Ivey may not flaunt the gamesmanship his fellow New York City guards are famous for, he most definitely represents the other trait associated with NYC players, toughness.

"New York is the city of basketball, especially for point guards,” says Ivey. It was tough, real competitive. You had to always work on your game; that’s why I’m so competitive when I get out on the court."