Dumars on son: 'He's not afraid to shoot it'
Lots of catching up to do after a week off, and as interview requests go, it was a halfcourt shot Tuesday morning to call the Detroit Pistons and try to get president of basketball operations Joe Dumars for a phone interview, just two days before the NBA Draft. The first person in the Pistons' media relations department said it'd almost certainly be after the draft before Dumars could return a call, so all they could promise was that they'd pass along the message.
Thirteen minutes later, Dumars called, happy to take a break from last-minute draft workouts to talk about his son Jordan, a 6-foot-6, 230-pound wing from Detroit Country Day who has accepted a scholarship offer to play at USF for Stan Heath, starting with the 2009-10 season.
Dumars, who won two NBA championships in 14 years as a player in the league, said he knows many people in Tampa through Palace Sports & Entertainment, which owns the Pistons and until just recently owned the NHL's Tampa Bay Lightning. He admitted, however, that he "did not know a lot about USF at all" until he drove from Orlando to Tampa with his wife, Debbie, and Jordan for an unofficial campus visit while the Pistons were in Orlando to play the Orlando Magic.
GA: How long have you known Stan Heath?
JD: I knew Stan when he was an assistant at Michigan State. Just knew he was a really good, young assistant coach. I know he saw Jordan play last year, right before the season, and he saw him play in AAU this summer. Stan really started talking to him while we were in the first round of the playoffs, against Philly.
GA: What were the biggest things that attracted Jordan, and your family, to USF?
JD: We drove over from Orlando and that answered a lot of questions about USF. My wife, as mothers will do, wanted to know everything she could about the school. She was Googling everything about it. We liked a couple of things that were very important to us. The person you're going to play for is paramount, and Stan and the man that he is, that was a huge appeal to us. Second, but just as importantly, Jordan wanted to find a program that was up and coming. He wanted to be a part of something like that. Jordan's put a lot of thought into this, and we felt like we were able to check off all the boxes with USF.
GA: Tell us about Jordan as a player, from a dad's perspective more than an NBA front-office perspective ...
JD: He'll be a very good defender. He can really shoot the ball, and he has a very high basketball IQ. And as a father, he's a kid who is never going to have one day of problems. He's very committed to basketball and South Florida. As Stan has said many times, he's a player who will help you win games.
GA: Any similarities between your game and his, things that remind you of yourself at that age?
JD: Well, we both were never bashful about shooting. People will see that he's not afraid to shoot it.
GA: You and Heath both have teenage sons named Jordan, which probably shouldn't be that big a surprise for two fathers who have been involved in basketball as much as you have been.
JD: Jordan's name actually wasn't from No. 23. I saw enough of Michael not to name my son after him (laughing). We just liked the name, and we would have picked Jordan whether it was a boy or girl.
(photo courtesy of Associated Press)