by Tzvi Twersky | @ttwersky

After dominating the paint in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals last night, an ebullient Roy Hibbert ascended to a podium deep in the heart of Bankers Life Fieldhouse and answered questions about the decisive victory over the hapless Miami Heat. At some point, unprompted, the 7-2 center began discussing his relationship with Tim Duncan.

“I worked out with Tim Duncan this summer,” Hibbert, who had 19 points and 18 rebounds in the contest, said.  “I model my game after him. Actually, he texts me after every game. I’m appreciative, and he’s somebody that looks out for me.”

While the soundbite was revelatory in its wording and gracious in its timing, it’s not the first occasion on which Hibbert has spoken about his relationship with Duncan.

Earlier this spring, when SLAM spoke with Roy Hibbert, the fourth-year pro volunteered more about him and Tim:

“This summer I watched a lot of film and worked out with Tim Duncan for like two or three weeks at a time during the lockout,” Hibbert told SLAM. “I learned a lot from him. I talk with him on like a weekly basis, ask for scouting reports.”

When asked how he got in touch with the seemingly unapproachable Duncan, Hibbert laughed and responded, “I mean, seriously, he’s great.

“When the All-Star Game was in DC when I was in high school, there was some event he had to do—he was on a panel of professional basketball players—and I walked by and said hello. That was back in 2001. Then, more recently, I talked to him about that. He said, ‘Damn,’ he remembers me and ‘that was a long time ago.’”

Questioned as to the ease of learning from a guy who’s unrightfully known as much for disappearing for the summer as he is for appearing in 13 All-Star games, Hibbert chuckles. “Seriously, he is one of the nicest guys,” Hibbert says, “but we try to go at each other. I try to learn as much as I can from him when I play against him.”

Based on his performance last night against the Miami Heat, he’s learned plenty—but that doesn’t mean he’s satisfied.

“In the League sometimes you have ups and downs, a couple good games and a couple of bad games,” Hibbert, who’s numbers have yo-yoed somewhat this Playoffs, told SLAM a bit back. “I try to learn from those bad games and just get better. I want to be the best center I can be, and I want to be the most dominant center ever. That’s what drives me.”