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Patrick Beverley interview

Patrick Beverley has unquestionably been the player to watch on the Miami Heat Summer League roster this year. He was originally drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers last year and then his rights were traded to the Heat immediately afterwards before ending up on Olympiacos in Greece. Because the Heat did not choose to participate in the Summer League last year this is really the first time we've been able to see Beverley playing here in America against professional competition and he's shown that he's up to the task. I talked to Beverley for several minutes before the Heat's third game in the tournament against the Detroit Pistons about his approach to the game and what he feels he could bring to the Heat should he get a roster spot. Describe your journey all the way from Arkansas to the Ukraine to Greece and now you might be on the cusp of playing in the NBA. Not easy. It definitely has not been easy. I definitely took a different route than a lot of players. So I’m fortunate and blessed to be in the position I’m in now but like you said it started from college. I played an exceptional freshman year, a subpar sophomore year, which led me to leave school, and went over to play in the Ukraine. I played extremely well there and fortunately got drafted to the Heat. Went back overseas to the #1 team in Europe, Olympiacos in Greece, where I developed my point guard skills and now I’m back over here in a good position to be on an NBA basketball team. I should write a book. It wasn’t the easiest road, I can definitely tell you that. It’s been a most humbling role but I think it has set me up to get to this part where I am now to be able to play for a fantastic team and hopefully, possibly lead the team. What did you learn from your time in Olympiacos? You came off the bench right? Yeah, I was actually the third or fourth point guard. Our point guard was the MVP, our backup point guard was the MVP three years ago so I had a lot of coaching with the point guards - a lot of experienced point guards so I learned a lot. As you can tell on the floor my decision-making, being a leader, being a general out here on the basketball court, is definitely different than where I was a year ago. I just want to keep improving, that’s all. What’s the level of competition been like here in the Summer League? Is it comparable to the European League and has there been an adjustment? This is a totally different game. You have a lot of guards in Europe that - you know - like our point guard he wasn’t fast, he didn’t jump the highest, he wasn’t a great shooter but he can play basketball with one arm. He was one of the smartest guys that you could ever play with. And I think that’s what the transition is. Over here it’s more athletic and overseas you have the Europeans who play more with their minds. I’m not taking a knock to U.S. guards that play in America because some guys do use their minds but most guys over here use up on their athletic (skills) to be successful and over there it’s not a lot of athletic guys and they can play for twenty years. In a setting like this do you sometimes feel like you have to rush things and prove yourself? Or because you’re a point guard, do you want to get your teammates involved as well but also stand out at the same time? The biggest thing with me is that I just want to come out here and get some games under my belt. The first couple of games I played have been the first games since I came back to America. I just got done with a long season – 73 games. So I’m just trying to get back in tune with that and getting back in tune with the NBA rules and everything else. I’m just out here trying to have fun, trying to get some sets down and trying to be able to run my sets and trying to lead my team. Do you feel like sometimes you’re almost too unselfish with the ball and you don’t look for your own shot because you just want to create for others? If anybody knew me from the past they knew I was a shoot-first type of guard when I was at the University of Arkansas. But now I think I’m in that transition where it’s like I’m in that middle. I’m a point guard but I’m trying to be too much of a point guard at times. I totally agree with what you’re saying. It comes with games and it comes with practice. Out here is a learning experience. I take the film away from each game, watch it and critique myself with things I need to get better. I definitely think I played better yesterday than I played my first game. The next time I play I hope I play better than my last game. It’s all about improvement with me. Do you dream about making it to the Heat and getting to play with Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh? I think your skill set would be such a perfect compliment to them with the way you push the ball upcourt, your defensive abilities and the way you could get those three involved. It’s funny how you’re saying that because just a couple of years ago the only thing people knew about Patrick Beverley is score, score, score. Now you’re saying I could possibly be that guy that helps LeBron James, D-Wade and Chris Bosh get points. Like I said, the transition I’ve been through has been hard. I definitely learned a lot. Since I was a kid I dreamt about the NBA and I think I’m in a great position. Not just to make a basketball team but play a lot of minutes and be a piece of that team because of my defensive abilities. Do you think you could emerge as a Rajon Rondo – type for the Heat because it’s a similar situation with the Celtics: young point guard, 3 All-Stars… Everyone says that. I’ve been hearing that since I’ve been overseas: "You could be the next Rajon Rondo". I love Rajon Rondo but I’m going to try to be Patrick Beverley though…for now. I’m going to be Patrick Beverley but that’s definitely a point guard that I look up to as well as Steve Nash and Deron Williams. So I look at all these guys and I watch film on all these guys. If there is a comparison between me and Rondo then I’ll take that.