Talk hoops all year long in Luke Winn's blog, a journal of commentary, news and reader-driven discussions about the college game.
3/02/2007 02:30:00 AM
Blog Q&A With ... Georgetown's Roy Hibbert
Georgetown's Roy Hibbert has helped the Hoyas to a No. 12 ranking.
As the latest in a season-long series of Blog Q&As, I chatted with Georgetown junior center Roy Hibbert on Wednesday. Hibbert, who averages 12.5 points and a team-leading 6.2 rebounds for the Hoyas, is shooting a stunning 73.5 percent from the field in Big East play. Georgetown, which has won 11 of its past 12 conference games, is ranked ninth in the latest AP poll.
Luke Winn: You wear jersey No. 55, which most recently belonged to Hoya centers Jahidi White and Dikembe Mutombo. Did you randomly pick it, or is it an ode to one of those two guys?
Roy Hibbert: Well, I met Dikembe when I was in sixth grade and always liked how he played. I wore 33 in high school [at Georgetown Prep, in North Bethesda, Md.] -- because it was the biggest jersey they had -- but a part of me wanted a new number when I got to Georgetown, and meeting Dikembe played a little bit of a role in that.
LW: How did you run into Dikembe back then?
RH: I was at a Run N' Shoot [Athletic Center], and I think he came by. I actually have a picture with him that my mother has tucked away somewhere at home. I was 6-6 then and he was a 7-footer, and I was astonished by his size. That's something I'll always remember. The fact that I get to play against him sometimes when he comes back [to campus] is really fun.
LW: Which of the former Georgetown big men has given you the most advice over the years?
RH: Whenever Alonzo [Mourning], or Dikembe, or Big Pat [Ewing] comes by, they always give me their two cents, and I always listen. Mike Sweetney and I used to work out at Georgetown a lot when I was in high school, and I actually talk to him more than any other former player. I'll send him e-mails, talking about stuff like the pressures of playing at Georgetown. It's easy for a coach to talk to me about how to handle that stuff, but it's different when a former player can tell me about it. Mike was out there doing the same thing as I am now.
LW: How did those workouts against Sweetney go in high school?
RH: For me it was like a rivalry. I used to go up there [to Georgetown's campus] and play against him, and I guess the other big guys had class at the time of the workouts, so I had to guard Sweetney every day. He'd always tell me, 'I'm killing you, Roy, I'm killing you.' I was a freshman or sophomore in high school, and he was this big, mammoth player. It was a challenge that I eventually got better at. Whenever I see him now, I tell him I can't wait to play him again.
LW: You were described as an extremely raw player when you started college. Of all the moves you've added to your repertoire as a Hoya, which one are you most proud of?
RH: The running hook, or the 'Kareem hook.' Coach [John Thompson III] always calls that my bread-and-butter move whenever I'm in the post. That's the move I can do with either hand, left or right, and I feel like it's my strongest option. When I first got to Georgetown, coach Thompson had me in the gym for hours upon hours, shooting hooks until I got it right.
LW: If you added all these moves after you got to college, how did you still score 19 points a game in high school?
RH: I'd just turn and shoot. The next-tallest people there were 6-1 or 6-2, so it was rather easy. Sometimes I felt like that was my time off from working on stuff that I could really use in college.
LW: When you first got to Georgetown, the elder John Thompson [Jr.] nicknamed you the Big Stiff, then renamed you Stiff-No-More after you improved. How did you react to that -- and is there a different nickname that you actually prefer?
RH: I took what Big John said as a challenge. I just wanted to prove people wrong and show them that I'm not this Big Stiff; that meant having to do a lot of agility work and running. As for other nicknames, one of our assistant coaches, coach [Kevin] Broadus calls me "Franchise," and I prefer to stick to that one.
LW: As far as agility work, there was some hula-hooping involved, right?
RH: That was early on, because it was difficult for me to do certain, simple things. The hula hooping I don't really do anymore, but it helped me with my side-to-side movement and athleticism.
LW: Will any video of that every get out on YouTube?
RH: No, no video. The only time I did it was in the back of [McDonough] Gym, by myself.
LW: Do you ever go on YouTube to watch basketball clips?
RH: Yeah -- one I just watched was of my friend Deron Washington [of Virginia Tech], who I played with this summer [in D.C.'s Kenner League]. He had a dunk from a game against Boston College that's on there. I'll also go and look at old Pat [Ewing] dunks, and old Iverson crossovers and stuff.
LW: This is a random style question, but I wanted to know why you opt to wear a T-shirt under jersey during games -- is it to follow suit with Ewing, Mutombo and Mourning, who all wore Ts as Hoyas too?
RH: The reason why I do it is because the Verizon Center has ice [for the Washington Capitals] under the court, and it gets cold sometimes. When I was a freshman, the first few games I was coming off the bench, and I decided I'd rather stay warm than come in cold.
[Ed note: According to Georgetown sports information director Bill Shapland, in the days when Ewing's Hoyas shared the old Capital Centre with the Caps, they had the T-shirts sewn into jerseys to stay warm. The NHL has had a major impact on Hoya fashion.]
LW: Your student section does a "Roy! .. Roy-Roy-Roy" chant to the beat of Eye of the Tiger when you make a big play. Do you enjoy that?
RH: When I was a freshman, I was really into it. But as I get older and better, I tend to zone it out because I have to focus on the task at hand. When I was a freshman, and I'd score, I'd be happy. Now if I score I'm worrying about making sure I get back on defense, or that I make sure to run the offense and not get too excited the next time I get the ball. I mean, I appreciate [the chant] -- I like it, because it's quick and to the point -- but I'm steadily moving away from paying attention to it.
LW: Do you have a go-to pregame album that you like to listen to? I'm assuming it's not Survivor.
RH: I like to listen to Biggie Smalls, his first album. Ready to Die.
LW: You were talking before about making sure you run the offense. Everything you guys do on offense seems very calculated. Let's say you get the ball in the high post, early in the shot clock. What is your thought process?
RH: I go through a checklist. I look to see who's covering my teammates. If I see John [Wallace, the Hoyas' point guard] is being covered by a bigger, slower guy, I'll play a two-man game with John and he could backdoor, because a big guy wouldn't be able to stay with him. Or, if I see Jeff Green's guy laying off of him, I'll throw the ball to Jeff and go screen for him. I don't want to go into it too much and give it away, but our offense is all about reading and making the correct decisions.
LW: Georgetown went from a team that was struggling early in the season -- losing to Oregon and Old Dominion -- to having the nation's most efficient offense down the stretch. What clicked that allowed that to happen?
RH: We established that Jeff [Green] is the go-to guy. He is the leader of this team, and he takes control of the game from start to finish. We make sure we run our plays through him and he distributes the ball. That's why we've been able to win; he's put the team on his back. We've each done our parts and come together around him.
LW: It says in your bio that you're a government major. Is that still true -- and do you plan to do anything with it?
RH: Yeah, I'm in political science. I might get an internship on the Hill this summer -- I need to make a decision on that soon, but because basketball is going on right now, I haven't been able to sit down with my advisor and look at it. Coach Thompson knows enough people around town that I'm hoping he could pull some strings.
LW: Are there any current politicians that you admire?
RH: I like Barack Obama. He came to campus and spoke [in September], and I got a chance to listen to it, sitting way up in the rafters. What he was talking about really seemed to click with me.
LW: Any chance you'll have a future in politics after college?
RH: Maybe if basketball doesn't work out, I'll run for office. But that's way down the road. I'm just trying to win ballgames right now.