Shelvin Mack, a 2008 graduate of Bryan Station High School in Lexington, was back in town this week to host his annual youth basketball camp.
Mack took a few minutes Tuesday to answer some questions about his first five seasons in the NBA:
Who’s the toughest player to guard at your position? “(Russell) Westbrook. The speed and he’s a real beast. He’s trying to score every play down the court, whether he’s trying to get to the basket or go through you.”
Who’s a guy you don’t like to get switched onto? “LeBron. He just uses power. I’d say that’s the only person.”
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Who were you pulling for in the NBA Finals? “I was going for the Cavs. I kinda wanted to see them get it done. I wanted it to be a great series and it turned out to be one.”
What was the toughest part about moving from Atlanta to Salt Lake City? “They did a great job making everything easy for me. I’d say the toughest thing is being away from your family and living in a hotel. I was living in a hotel for like three months.”
How was reuniting with Coach Quin Snyder (a former Atlanta assistant) in Utah? “That’s one of my guys. … I enjoy playing for him. He’s taught me a lot, especially when I was in Atlanta.”
What’s it like going against your former college coach, Brad Stevens (now with the Boston Celtics)? “Everytime we play them we get to go to dinner and stuff the night before. Actually, when they played the Hawks in the playoffs I went to a few games with him. We were able to get some dinner and catch up.”
How often does Gordon Hayward’s near-miss against Duke in the 2010 NCAA championship game come up in conversations with him and other teammates? “A little bit but not really. It’s in the past. You really don’t know how big it is until it’s over with. It’s in the past, move forward. Everybody’s onto bigger and better things with their families. Hopefully one day we all get to have a 10-year reunion and we can talk about it.”
What was the D-League like? “It’s a great league. The worst part about the whole league is just the travel. That’s kind of rough. Sometimes you have 17-hour days. I can see that being tough for a lot of guys, especially when you’re coming from an SEC program where you’re chartering first-class flights and all that to being on a bus for eight hours trying to get somehwere. I feel like that’s the hardest part that you go through in the D-League.”
Any advice/words of encouragment for guys in this year’s draft who may end up in the D-League? “Don’t be discouraged by going to the D-League. A lot of people look at it as a bad thing. … You can’t just look at is as ‘I’m in the D-League.’ You gotta look at it as a stepping stone toward the big goal. The same way in high school, where you start out playing freshman and JV, then you make it to the varsity level.”