My colleague Mike Anthony was in Waterbury for the Greater Hartford Pro Am playoff action this weekend, where the Doc Hurley team, filled with ex-Huskies, advanced in the playoffs. Mike caught up with three UConn guards …
Jerome Dyson, 26, who finished the 2011-12 season in the NBA with the Hornets, played last season in Israel, scoring 20.4 points per game for Haspoel Holon. He spent part of this summer with Charlotte’s summer league team, averaging 11.5 points,. 4.3 assists over 24.8 minutes per game.
“I’m Just waiting right now. I’m trying to figure it out. My agent is trying to see about guaranteed money [from an NBA team] and I’m just waiting it out. I’m in no rush right now. My agent is just trying to see what NBA teams are interested and which ones can give me guaranteed money. That would give me a feel for who is really interested in me. I’ll probably know in another week or two.
“I loved it [playing in Israel].It’s all Americanized over there. People hear what they hear on the news, this and that, but it’s totally different. I never felt in danger over there and I had a great time. The league is very good. There are five or six Americans on every team.”
A.J. Price, 26, spent the season with the Wizards, backing up John Wall and playing with Emeka Okafor, who had a solid year. He played 22.4 minutes per game, averaging 7.7 points. Now he’s a free agent:
“I’m just waiting. I’ll see what [my agent] can work out and if he can’t work anything out I’ll go overseas. The show must go on. The show must go on. The kids still have to eat and I still have to provide [he has one-year-old daughter, Alissa]. Any opportunity to make a living playing basketball is a blessing in itself, no matter where it is, whether it’s overseas or in the NBA.
So far, it’s been basically a dream come true, what you think about and what you want to do as a kid and what you sacrifice for all those years. To make it to the NBA is an accomplishment. Now I’m just trying to set my [family] up for the future and make as much money as possible.”
Kemba Walker, 23, who played a couple of weeks ago, is back with the GHPA for the playoffs. He has become the face of the Charlotte franchise, its leading scorer last year (17.7 ppg, 5.7 apg). But in these parts, Kemba will always be identified with that UConn championship run in 2011.
“I do, man. I watch those [March 2011] games all the time, actually. I always go back and watch the DVDs. My mom has every DVD.
The highlight? The Big East tournament. That was the biggest to me. We were struggling late and we came in and won that tournament. Nobody expected us to win. I still can’t believe we won it. It’s still surreal. That’s when we started hitting adversity and things started getting tough for us. As good teams are supposed to do, we all became closer. That’s what it was about. We became closer every day and it showed on the court.”