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Ed. Note: We’re very pleased to have the opportunity to bring you a one-on-one interview with Chris Douglas-Roberts. Longtime friend of the site, Fred Katz, had a lengthy chat over the phone with CDR this week. We’ve broken it up into three parts; this is the second part.
Here’s a little bit about Fred: Fred Katz averaged almost one point per game in fifth grade, but he maintains that his per-36-minute numbers were astonishing. Find more of his work at Bleacher Report, RotoWire and ClipperBlog.com. Follow him on Twitter at @FredKatz.
Fred Katz: You were out of the NBA for the lockout season. What did you do in that year?
Chris Douglas-Roberts: I was in Italy. I went during the time guys were going [overseas]. At that time, I was so naïve. I was a young player. I didn’t even care about what the NBA was doing. I just knew that we would possibly miss half of the year. And at that time, it was just about basketball for me. I’m confident that I would’ve gotten picked up when it all came back because a lot of teams were scrambling, and they were pretty much picking anybody up. But I just wanted to go play basketball, and I didn’t care where it was. In the end, it wasn’t about the money either, because it was actually one of the lower deals I got. I just wanted to play, man. I was over there hooping.
Katz: What did you learn from being away from the league?
Douglas-Roberts: I learned to be more appreciative. Honestly, when I was a kid, I always felt I would be in the NBA. Then I had the college career that I had. And then I had the transition to the league. So I almost felt like this is just the next step instead of really understanding how much of a blessing it is to actually play in the NBA. I just had the mentality like “I’ll be there one day.” So my time off really made that clear.
Playing in the NBA is a dream for everybody. You can’t take it for granted a little bit and I can say that I did. Being over there showed me, you know, we’re traveling by bus. You’re staying in a small apartment. You don’t have hot water some days. You might not have a washer and dryer some days. I kind of took life as an NBA player for granted and that brought it to light.
Katz: What was the hardest part of being in Italy?
Douglas-Roberts: Being the foreigner. I have so much more respect for people from other countries now. Not speaking the language, man, that’s a handicap. If I want to know something, I can’t say it. That’s the hardest part, just feeling kind of handicapped.
Katz: What has coach Steve Clifford done for you specifically to help you make your way back into the league in Charlotte?
Douglas-Roberts: First of all, he just gave me another opportunity. It’s funny how things work. When he was in LA and I was in the training camp with LA before they let me go, we built a relationship. I didn’t know that he would end up a head coach. But he saw me everyday just going hard on Kobe. Fighting teeth and nails every practice. And he’s the one who ended up giving me an opportunity. So that’s the biggest thing. That’s all you can really ask for, a coach who gives you an opportunity and is confident in you. You have to do the rest.
Katz: Did you work a bunch on your shot, because your three-point shooting numbers are better than ever?
Douglas-Roberts: I was in Frisco, Texas this summer, where I live, and I have an everyday routine there. Two times a day, with my trainer Rafael Barlowe and his brothers James and Cam. We get a bunch of threes up. We get a bunch of shots up. A bunch of threes. All types of threes. And I really wanted to make that improvement because I was just labeled a scorer, like “he needs the ball in his hands.” I just worked on all my flaws. “He can only score.” So now I’m seeing the floor, making passes. “He needs the ball in his hands.” Well, now I’m making spot-up threes at a high clip so I just wanted to keep on improving all of the flaws that people thought I had and that was one of them. So you’ve got to respect that. If a guy is shooting 40 percent from three, you have to respect that.