Q+A: Terrell McIntyre
Former Italian League MVP on how the PG position is changing.
by Rodney David King / @mehkavelli
Standing at 5-9, Terrell McIntyre was never the biggest player on the court. What he lacked in height, he made up for in heart. Playing four years at Clemson, McIntyre finished his career as the second highest scorer in the school’s history. As a senior, he averaged 18 ppg and led the Tigers to the NIT championship.
After going undrafted, McIntyre would go onto spend most of his pro career playing overseas, suiting up for teams in France, Germany and Italy—with a stop in the NBA D-League in between—before he was forced to call it quits due to a hip injury.
Now, TMac is back in the states full-time and looking to use his knowledge of the game to help coach the next wave of great guards. McIntyre took the time to speak to SLAMonline about his career overseas, life after basketball and how the point guard positive has changed over time.
SLAM: In 1999 after your senior year, you went undrafted and headed overseas to continue playing. What was it like going from the Carolinas to Europe early in your career?
Terrell McIntyre: It was immediately a culture shock. I finished school in 1999, so the technology wasn’t the same. The Internet wasn’t as popular as it was then. The language barrier was different. My first year I was in a small city in France. It might have been different if I was in Paris, but I was in a small city. It took me a couple of years to adjust to the lifestyle over there.
SLAM: What made you hang up your sneakers and officially retire from basketball?
TM: I got a hip injury. I saw a couple of doctors and specialists and they advised me to retire. It wasn’t because I was tired of playing or couldn’t play. Because of my injury, I felt it was best for my overall health and was best for my career to retire.
SLAM: Where do you see your career going in the future? Is coaching in the cards for you?
TM: I would love to coach. I would actually love to be an assistant coach. They’re more hands-on with the players. I would like to be an assistant coach at the college level or pro level. Other than that I would like to do something working with kids. Whatever I do, I’ll still be dealing with basketball.
SLAM: How has the point guard position changed since you were roaming the court?
TM: It’s more athletic. You don’t see a lot of natural point guards in the League right now. When I came out, there were a few smaller point guards. Now the small point guards are pretty much gone. You don’t see small point guards like when I was coming out like Muggsy Bogues. When I was coming out, there was a lot of point guards under 6 feet. Now, you don’t see any guards under 6 feet at all. The position is much more athletic. You don’t really see true point guards unless they’re the backups.
SLAM: Do you feel like you could still lace up and go head-to-head with some of the point guards today?
TM: Definitely! It’s the knowledge of the game. I’m far more advanced in my knowledge of the game right now and I understand the position better now. When I was younger, I played the point, but you don’t really understand the position. I could definitely do it now, I could still play. I don’t know how much with this hip. If I had two new hips, I definitely could do it, but I’m out of commission with this hip.
SLAM: When you watch basketball now, what point guards stand out to you?
TM: Chris Paul is the best point in the NBA right now! He’s a true point guard. He can distribute the ball and score when he needs to and to me that’s what the position is supposed to be. You have to be able to read the game and the flow of the game. Sometimes you have to score the ball if your teammates aren’t scoring. I feel like Westbrook is coming along. I got to shout out my cousin Eric Maynor, he’s definitely a true point guard too. Deron Williams, he’s another one who can take over the game when he needs to and score when he needs to.
SLAM: Have you been following Clemson basketball? How do you like their development as a team?
TM: Last year was promising. This year has been a little disappointing. They’re trying to get some good recruits. Coach Brownell has the right attitude. When you change coaches, people want to see results immediately. Especially when you have a good season the year before like Clemson did. They’ll be OK.
SLAM: A lot of athletes get into the music business when they retire from playing sports. Do you see yourself getting into the music business any?
TM: That’s not really for me. I have a cousin named Devann Newhill who‘s an artist in North Carolina. I listen to his music and I wish him all the best. I’m not going to get into the music business myself; I’ll let him handle that. Whatever he needs from me, I’m there for him. I support him and I go check out the shows, but as far as hands on, I don’t see myself doing it.
SLAM: From David Thompson to John Wall, the Carolinas has produced some great basketball players, pro and college over the years. Why do you feel talent flows out of the Carolinas like it has?
TM: It’s just what we do. We’ve always been known for basketball in the Carolinas. We’re always competing. We got the summer league in Durham, we have the summer leagues in Charlotte, the AAU scene around here—it’s something we do year around. In NC, it’s basketball, basketball, basketball.
SLAM: So what’s the next for Terrell McIntyre?
TM: I got a couple of things brewing, I have a couple of investment things going right now. I’m just going to wait ’til this basketball season ends so I can stake my claim in this coaching thing and developing kids. I got a couple of things brewing, but I’m going to wait and see what happens after the summer.
SLAM: Who do you think takes the ACC title this year?
TM: I’m going with UNC. I’m not a UNC fan but they‘re playing good this year. I think Florida State has surprised some people this year, but I think that the Tar Heels take it this year.