Talk hoops all year long in Luke Winn's blog, a journal of commentary, news and reader-driven discussions about the college game.
2/20/2007 11:44:00 AM
Blog Q&A With ... Texas A&M's Acie Law IV
Acie Law IV has led the Aggies to a 22-4 record this season (10-2 Big 12).
As the latest in a season-long series of Blog Q&As, I chatted with Texas A&M senior point guard Acie Law IV on Monday. Law leads the eighth-ranked Aggies in points per game (17.0), assists (5.5) and clutch shots (basically, every time they've needed one). A member of the Wooden Award's midseason top 30, Law has piloted A&M to a 22-4 record leading into Wednesday's showdown with Oklahoma State.
Luke Winn: With game-winners against Texas (last year) and Kansas (this year), plus innumerable late-game scoring barrages (against Oklahoma on Saturday, for example), you've established yourself as one of the nation's best clutch shooters. Is it pretty much understood by the rest of the Aggies that you'll have the ball in your hands when the game is on the line -- or is it still not a guarantee?
Acie Law IV: I think, in the last few minutes, we just look for matchups. Sometimes we try to get it inside to Joe [Joseph Jones], and sometimes we try to get it to myself. I've been fortunate to be able to deliver in the clutch, but it's not just me -- we have a couple of guys we can go to. LW: Sure, but that doesn't mean you don't want it …
AL: Oh, I always want the ball. Whenever we're in a tight situation, I go to coach [Billy Gillispie] and say, 'I need the ball. I want the ball.' And usually he'll say, 'OK, take it and make a play.'
LW: And how did it happen against Kansas?
AL: The ball got tipped out of bounds before that play; I looked over at coach and he had called something different [not for me]; I told him I wanted it, and he said 'OK.' I took the inbounds in the corner, and [KU's Brandon] Rush back off me enough to let me take the shot. That was a sign of how confident coach has become in me, and how much our relationship has grown.
LW: I'm not sure if I've seen a player, anywhere, have Roman numerals on the back of his college hoops jersey. What factored into your decision to go with your full name -- "Law IV" -- instead of just "Law"?
AL: It's my name. I'm Acie Law the fourth. When I first got to A&M I wanted to put my whole name on there, and that's what it is.
LW: Tell me about the first three Acie Laws. What are their stories?
AL: My great grandfather is Acie Sr., but I never got to meet him. My grandfather is Acie Jr.; he passed away in 1997, when I was 12. He was the best person in the world. We had a great relationship; he'd take me shopping as a kid, he'd watch me play basketball, and was around a lot in Dallas. He was into basketball, but his big deal was boxing; when he died it was at my house, right after we had watched the second Tyson-Holyfield fight. He got so excited over it that he had a heart attack.
My father is Acie the third; he's an auto mechanic in Dallas, and he played ball when he was young. He had committed to go play at St. Louis, but then he had my older brother and ended up going to Navarro College instead (a juco in Corsicana, Texas, south of Dallas). And he was a point guard, too.
LW: You're the grand-nephew of Ernie Banks on your mother's side. Has he ever given you any athletic advice?
AL: We actually spoke just last week, and he told me he's coming down for my Senior Night, which I'm excited about. When I first met him as a kid, and he found out I played basketball, he told me that if I worked hard, anything was possible. I think he was the first person to get me thinking that I could achieve great things through basketball.
LW: You have a tattoo on your right arm that says "Lord's Favorite Lawman." Can you explain what that means?
AL: The Lord has been so good to me, and I just wanted to express that. I've always felt that I'm unbelievably fortunate to be where I am, and the tattoo was one way of showing it. "Lawman" is one of the nicknames that my dad gave me; people called him that and they called my grandfather that, too. It got passed down through the generations.
LW: The tattoo on your left arm appears to be a long verse of scripture. Which one is it?
AL: It's part of Psalms 91 and 93. When first I read those verses, they just hit home for me; they say that God is my fortress, in him I trust, and that I shall fear no one. That's how I feel.
LW: A fact about you that's not widely publicized is that you're ambidextrous; you shoot left, but were born -- and still write -- righty. Can you explain how it happened?
AL: I broke my right hand when I was young. Rather than just sitting around without playing, my dad forced me to dribble, and do things with my left -- and I just got good at it. I started out as a righty, but I broke my hand three different times, falling on it playing basketball in seventh, 10th and 12th grade, so I got used to shooting lefty and stuck with it. Those were tough injuries, but everything happens for a reason.
LW: You're somewhat famous for your accurate, lefty knuckleball shot. Did coach Gillispie try to tinker with it at any point?
AL: He taped my whole right hand up in one practice, because he felt like my right thumb was the reason the ball wasn't spinning. It didn't really work; after that he just told me to continue working on my shot, and if I keep making it, it's fine. The no-spin thing doesn't bother me. Everyone talks about it, and my teammates give me a tough time about it -- but as long as it goes in, that's what it's all about.
LW: Which teammate gives you the most flak for the knuckler?
AL: That would be Joe [Jones], who I'm really close with. He'll say things like, 'I couldn't even do that if I tried,' and guys well mess around in practice, seeing if they can shoot without spin. I have no real explanation it; I've worked on trying to make it spin, but it doesn't happen.
LW: Back in coach Gillispie's first season, you were considering leaving A&M. Why?
AL: It was just immaturity. We were coming off a winless season [0-16 in the Big 12], coach was coming in, and we didn't hit it off. It was a matter of me being irresponsible and not buying into the system. His system obviously works; he's won everywhere he's been. For the first couple of weeks it was tough, though. I've never been an outspoken kid, and he said to be a point guard you have to talk a lot more than I was doing on the floor. We were doing a defensive drill in practice where I was supposed to talk, and wasn't. I was stubborn, and coach is very stubborn, and you're not going to win against coach. The drill went on for 20 minutes, with me not talking, and my teammates starting to yell at me, until I finally gave in. That was the day I started to be a leader.
LW: Who's the best on-ball defender you've squared up against in college?
AL: I would have to say Marcus Dove at Oklahoma State. He's a long defender who's quick enough to guard on the perimeter but can also match up against guys in the post. You have to go extremely fast against him, and he makes it difficult to execute plays; basically, he makes it real tough for you.
LW: And what do you think of the 'Dove Sign' that he -- and the whole Cowboys team -- does after dunks?
AL: I've seen it, and I like it. It's just a way of expressing himself, and the passion and joy he has for the game. I don't want to see him do it against us, though.
LW: You obviously don't like to give the ball up in crunch time, but if you had to pick one other player in college -- and not another Aggie -- to take a shot with the game on the line, who would it be?
AL:Kevin Durant, from Texas. He stays cool in tight situations and has proven himself on numerous occasions, like that Oklahoma State triple-OT game, and he played well here [in College Station] against us. He knows how to handle himself and can perform under pressure.
LW: Last one. Of all the big shots you've hit as an Aggie, which one is your personal favorite?
AL: It's still the one against Texas [a game-winning three-pointer on March 2, 2006]. It was on our home floor, and our backs were against the wall because we were trying to get into the NCAA tournament [they did as a 12 seed]. The fans were so excited that they rushed the floor. They still call it The Shot at A&M, and they made posters of it that they gave out this year.
LW: I'm assuming you have one of those.
AL: I've got one, but I signed it and took it to get framed, and am waiting for it to be finished. For now I'm just going to leave it in Dallas until I get my own house [he's a projected first-round NBA Draft pick in June]. Then it'll go in my game room.
Acie Law should definitely go no later than 15 in the draft....but then again, steve Nash, Kobe Bryant and several others were passed up for major busts. Do hear Kwame Brown?..uh Olowokandi? so much for scouting.