Suns News

Telfair to Learn From Mother's Favorite Player

Telfair used to watch his cousin, Stephon Marbury, play for the Suns.
(Jeramie McPeek/
By Stefan Swiat,
Posted: Dec. 12, 2011

No one was happier than Sebastian Telfair’s mother when it was confirmed her son was going to Phoenix. Not only was Telfair going to be able to contribute to a perennial playoff team, not only did Telfair’s cousin Stephon Marbury once thrive in the Valley of the Sun, but she would also be able to watch her favorite player every night.

Steve Nash.

“He’s always been my mom’s favorite player,” Telfair said. “He always takes a hit and keeps on ticking. She's always been a huge fan because he’s a little guy that goes inside and shoots, breaks his nose and comes back into the game.”

And who better for her son to receive some tutelage from then the former two-time MVP. With back-to-back-to-back games and a 66-game condensed schedule, Telfair was recruited to keep the Suns high-powered offense clicking when Nash isn’t on the floor.

The 6-0 playmaker stated that he’s already begun studying the way Nash prepares for practice. Telfair has already taken copious notes of how the seven-time All-Star works on his layups and his set shots before and after practice.

“It’s a perfect position for me to be in at this time in my career be around a guy like that a two-time MVP,” Telfair said. “I’m going to try to be around him as much as possible and sponge up everything.”

Heading into his eighth season, Telfair has career averages of 7.8 points and 3.8 assists a game. Highly-touted out of high school, Suns Head Coach Alvin Gentry believes that his renowned prep reputation has worked against him.

“I’ve liked Sebastian ever since he came into the league,” Gentry said. “The one thing about him that bothered me about the NBA a little bit is that he got this reputation of what he should’ve been, and because he wasn’t a LeBron James-type, everybody has a tendency to look at him as a failure. I think he’s been a good solid player in this league and I think he’s going to get better also.”

Only 26 years old, Telfair regards himself as an “attack” point guard that is champing at the bit to play with active bigs like Channing Frye and Marcin Gortat on pick-and-rolls. Gentry sees the benefit of having a player like Telfair on his roster from both sides of the ball.

“In a system like ours he’ll be able to thrive,” the Suns Head Coach said. “He’s very quick with the basketball and he can push the basketball up the court. I think he gives us a real good on-the-ball defender and I think he’s going to have a very good year here.”

Telfair said that he’s been lobbying his agent from the time he’s entered the league to play with a team that likes to push the tempo. Now in Phoenix, he believes that time has arrived.

“I’m not just saying this, but I think this is the best opportunity that I’ve got since being in the NBA,” the former NYC high school star said. “With the team coaching staff and style of play, I couldn’t ask for anything better.”

The former prep star has been familiar with Phoenix since his cousin, Marbury, played in the Valley. During his early high school years, Telfair would fly out and watch Marbury and the Suns take the court.

“I remember I would pick up my tickets at will call and someone from the team would walk me through the back,” he recalled. “I thought it was the coolest thing in the world.”

Telfair is already familiar with some of his new teammates, having worked out with Jared Dudley over the last few weeks in Las Vegas. Excited to get on the court with his new teammates, he couldn’t hold himself back from working out with them, despite not having signed his new contract or having taken a physical.

And no matter what happens in Phoenix, Telfair has already declared that he’ll be held accountable for his performance here.

“If I can’t be successful here, I don’t know what to do with myself,” he stated.

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