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Q. If this is about hang time, why haven't you mentioned punters?
A. You've turned to the wrong page. You're looking for Dr. Z, not Dr. J.
Q. Do you need to be a great jumper to hang?
A. No. Some of the best hangers haven't been great jumpers. Earl Monroe and Tiny Archibald, for example. Two of the alltimers, Baylor and Hawkins, by their own admission, weren't leapers. "I always thought in terms of body control rather than just hanging," says Hawkins, who began his pro career in 1961 with the Pittsburgh Rens of the American Basketball League and ended it in 1976 with the Atlanta Hawks of the NBA. "My long arms and big hands, and the way I would extend them, probably contributed to the impression that I was jumping higher or hanging longer than I actually was."
Q. What are the keys to hang time?
A. 1) Timing.
2) Body control, the fluid movement of different parts of the body in various directions at once. Big, strong hands to take the ball up directly off the dribble and hold on tight as you shake it like a maraca. This was especially significant for Baylor. " Elgin had the strongest hands I've ever seen," says Rod Hundley, who played with the Lakers and now broadcasts the Utah Jazz games. "Once he had the ball in his hands, nobody took it away from him. When he went up, he carried you with him." And as that notorious negative hanger, Billy (The Whopper) Paultz, observes, "Big hands and hang time go hand in hang."
3) Confidence, almost to the point of arrogance. "Once I made my move, I didn't think anybody could stop me," Baylor says.
4) Court awareness, so you're better able to perform what Vitale calls "the four Ds—Drive, Draw, Dish and Deliver."
Q. Are some bodies better equipped for hanging than others?