Friday, February 24, 2006
The Daily Orange - Roy Hibbert Profile
MBB | The Georgetown Giant: GU's Roy Hibbert evolved from goofy big man to interior threat
Kimberley A. Martin
This season, the Georgetown center has established himself as a formidable low-post threat, averaging 12.4 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.6 blocks this season. He'll look to add to those numbers when the Hoyas visit the Orange at noon on Saturday.
Hibbert started his career at Georgetown Preparatory School in Bethesda, Md. Though awkward as a 6-foot-9 freshman, the coaching staff saw potential in his game. Others gawked at his overwhelming size and lack of coordination.
Syracuse wide receiver Rice Moss, Hibbert's point-guard at Georgetown Prep, remembers the constant heckling his friend endured during games. But even he admits to taking part in the teasing.
"We were in Oregon one time, and all the fans started screaming, 'Lurch! Lurch!'" Moss said. "So we've called him that ever since. He's just a big Lurch, the dude from 'The Addams Family.'"
Hibbert's size has always made him an easy target for name-calling, but he took it in stride.
"That happened quite a bit, wherever we played," Dwayne Bryant, Georgetown Prep's head boys basketball coach said. "You've got a kid who, at the time was 16 or 17 years old, at his size. And everywhere you went people stared, people taunted. Those types of things didn't faze Roy when he was on the basketball court."
In his early years at Georgetown Prep, some people said he was just "too big" to become a good player and that he would never amount to anything. But Hibbert ignored the comments like he ignored the jeering fans. And despite breaking his foot twice, Hibbert improved his coordination and low-post skills well enough to earn a starting spot on the Hoyas roster.
Though Bryant said Georgetown Prep isn't by definition a feeder school for the university's basketball program, his connections at Georgetown helped steer Hibbert towards the Hoyas. Bryant, a four-year starter under former coach John Thompson and the university's all-time 3-point leading scorer, introduced Hibbert to Georgetown and summer workouts with legendary Hoya big men.
"Through his high school career, on occasion, we would play against guys his size, but even in college it's rare that he's going to face someone as big as he is," Bryant said. "Working out against guys like Alonzo (Mourning), Dikembe (Mutombo), Patrick (Ewing), Othella (Harrington), Mike Sweetney and all those other guys obviously helped him, because he got to work out against some of the NBA's best on a daily basis, or at least a regular basis."
Hibbert's extra workout sessions may have helped him become a Hoya, but it didn't erase the doubts of his critics. Some argued head coach John Thompson III should have redshirted Hibbert in his freshman year. Last season, he averaged about five points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game in sixteen minutes.
It was just like high school: same script, just different characters for Hibbert.
But on Wednesday night, Hibbert scored a career-high 25 points on 10-for-13 shooting in Georgetown's much-needed win over Rutgers. The victory snapped a three-game losing streak for the Hoyas. It was an answer to the early nay-sayers.
"People thought he would be more of a hindrance than a help," Bryant said. "And he decided to get in the gym and work his tail off this summer, and now he's considered one of the best sophomore centers in the nation."
Hibbert's never been a stranger to hard work. He can't afford to be.
His performance in Wednesday's game may quiet his critics, but as the latest big man to walk in the shadows of Georgetown greatness, Hibbert will always have big shoes to fill. Though he isn't a natural shot blocker or as athletic as Ewing and Mourning, Hibbert has the potential to be a stand-out center, both at the collegiate and professional level.
"I think if you were going to compare him, you'd have to compare him to Dikembe," Bryant said. "I think he might even be much further along defensively than Dikembe and Alonzo at this stage. Because he's a little bit more of a natural as opposed to those guys who were power players. But I think as far as his numbers go, in particular points and rebounds, he may be very similar by the time his career is over."
Though at times a liability, without question Hibbert's biggest asset is his size. His height makes it difficult for other teams to defend against his jump hooks and his 5 to 10-foot jump shots. As Hibbert becomes more comfortable with his size and his strength, he'll become more aggressive, dunking the ball on people and attacking the rim, Bryant said.
Those closest to Hibbert don't doubt that he'll make the necessary adjustments within time. Since he was a Little Hoya at Georgetown Prep, Hibbert has possessed a focus and determination uncharacteristic of athletes his age.
Usually mellow and "goofy," according to Moss, Hibbert's former Prep teammates often said he had "split personalities" because of his intensity on game days.
"He's one of the more focused kids I've ever coached," Bryant said. "He practices extremely hard, but he takes his mental game to a different level come game day."
Adversity can make certain people give up. Others, like Hibbert, stand up to the challenge. And if they happen to fall, like Hibbert has done many times, they get right back up. Early on in his childhood, Hibbert's parents, Roy and Pat, instilled the importance of hard work and determination in their son. It's a trait that has now manifested in Hibbert's resolve to prove his critics wrong.
How long it will take Hibbert to become consistently dominant at center is unclear. But his former coach isn't worried.
"He's going to figure it out," Bryant said. "He's always been that way. He's always been a worker. He's always been someone who gives 100 percent. You don't have to ask him to play hard or to work hard.
"That's just something he does. I believe that's directly related to his mother and his father. They're both extremely hardworking people, and that's what they've instilled in their son. If you want something, go get it. Don't wait for anyone to give it to you."
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