UNC-bound guard a spitting image of his father
Posted: Monday January 14, 2008 1:11PM; Updated: Monday January 14, 2008 1:11PM
Classify this as a case of déjà vu. Sitting in the bleachers of a basketball gym in Los Angeles, Sharon Drew is looking at her son, Larry Jr., a 6-foot-1, 170-pound point guard, directing traffic on the court as television cameras capture his every move.
Nearly three decades ago, she was doing the same thing. Back then she was watching her husband, Larry Sr., who was drafted in the first round of the 1980 NBA draft by the Pistons and played 10 years in the league. Now she is watching her son Larry Drew Jr., a senior at Taft (Woodland Hills, Calif.) High who has committed to North Carolina.
"It's amazing," says Sharon, who attends every one of her son's games. "I see a lot of [his father] when he plays but it's so much better being here as a mother. It's a different kind of proud when you're a mom. Sometimes I really have to step back and remove myself from the whole situation and realize that this is actually happening. It's his turn now."
While Drew's position, physique and uniform number (10) are identical to his father's, the games are a little different. "He's better than his dad already," says Sharon. "He's better with an exclamation."
Drew Sr., now an assistant for the Atlanta Hawks, doesn't disagree with his wife's assessment. Every other week Drew Jr. sends his game tapes to his father. When he receives them, Larry Sr. has the Hawks' video coordinator edit it and convert it into two DVDs, one for him and one to ship to his son. While Larry Sr. lives in Atlanta during the NBA season, he is able to coach his son some 2,200 miles away by choreographing the exact moment when they put in the DVDs and push the play button.
"He knows when we watch tape I'm not going to sugarcoat anything, and to his credit he's very receptive to my criticism," says Larry Sr. "The bottom line is getting better. Where Larry is at his age, I was no where near that at 17. I didn't have the type of skills that he does. I hope and pray he has twice the success I had as a basketball player and so far he's on the right track."
The coaching sessions have molded Larry Jr. into one of the smartest high school point guards in the nation. He has become an extension of the coaching staff on the floor, able to dissect defensive schemes and take advantage of an opponent's weakness like a veteran.
"He's mature beyond his years as a player," says Taft coach Derrick Taylor. "I pick his brain sometimes. He understands the game and has a high skill level. We've had some great players here at Taft with Steve Smith and Jordan Farmar and he's right there."
Drew's maturity level on and off the court (he is an honor student who plans on majoring in psychology) came at an early age. He sat up at three months, began walking at seven months and reading at 2. "He was a kid who was off the charts in terms of development," says his mother, who plans to travel to all of his college games as well. "Ever since he was born doctors and teachers have told me that he is a gifted child."