A Collector With Game
Brady Heslip’s sneaks are as hot as his shooting hand.
You see it in gyms all the time: the guys with vintage Jordans or the latest, most expensive sneak they can pull off of store shelves, often have a game that sharply contrasts what’s on ther feet. Brady Heslip is doing what he can to buck that trend. The six-foot-two guard from Burlington, Ontario averaged 28 points per game as a high school senior this year and played on the Vegas Super 64-winning AAU Grassroots Canada squad last summer. In March, he committed to play at Guelph University, where his father set scoring records back in the day. The nephew of Toronto Raptors head coach Jay Triano, Heslip also has a sneaker collection loaded with player exclusives.
A portion of my conversation with Brady ran in SLAM 129, but there was a lot of stuff left over that’s worthy of its own ink (or in this case, pixels). Enjoy.
SLAM: Why did you choose to play at Guelph?
Heslip: I’m comfortable with the coaching there and I didn’t want to go to a powerhouse. I want to go to a school like Guelph and take a couple of years and rebuild it and then be on the top.
SLAM: Your Dad played there, did that factor into it for you?
Heslip: Of course I want to wear Guelph’s number four, but really I was more comfortable there with the coach (Chris O’Rourke) than anywhere else. And of course the situation there, I’ll start and have a major role.
SLAM: You had interest from U.S. schools too, right?
Heslip: I had one offer and a couple of schools that were really interested. UNC Greensbrough and Tennessee State, Toledo, a couple of schools like that.
SLAM: You went with a CIS school over the NCAA, which is a pretty big deal to Canadian kids. Why didn’t you go to the States?
Heslip: Just the fact that I’m going to be home in Canada and I’m going to be an impact player right away and be able to start. I’m going to be able to do what I want to do for five years as opposed to learning the ropes down there for two years and getting my two years to play. That was a major factor in me wanting to stay.
SLAM: How would you describe your game?
Heslip: I’m a combo guard, I like to bring it up, I like to come off ball-screens, I like to take it to the net. Obviously I like to shoot from anywhere on the court. I have no conscience. If I miss 10 in a row, I’m still shooting the 11th one. Other than that I think I have a high basketball IQ. I make smart plays and smart decisions.
SLAM: You’re a great natural shooter, who influenced you with that coming up?
Heslip: I liked the way J.J. Reddick played when he was at Duke. I liked the way he’d take over and score 30. He’d do it all. He’s not really doing it like that in the NBA, but how he’d do it at Duke where he’d just take over and guys would have to double-team him and teams would have defensive schemes (against him), it was sort of like that for me in high school this year. I try to do the same sort of stuff that he did, I watched his movements.
SLAM: So you’re a Duke fan?
Heslip: A bit (laughs). I don’t think I even watched a minute of the (NCAA) Final game. I’m not a hardcore Duke fan but I was when Reddick was there.
SLAM: And Jay Triano’s your uncle. Is he able to help you out, with the restrictions he has as a NBA coach and you being a high school player?
Heslip: He’s a really good guy. That’s part of the thing (of going to Guelph) too. My uncle Jay and my Dad both have a good relationship with Chris (O’Rourke). When Jay was the head coach of the national team he actually hired Chris O’Rourke to be the student national team head coach, so they have that connection and me and Chris have had that connection ever since. (Triano) helps me, just like how a Dad would but just like a basketball family, you know?
SLAM: We gotta talk sneaks, we’ve heard that your collection is ridiculous. How many do you have?
Heslip: I’d say I have about 75, 80 pairs of good ones. I’ve been collecting them for probably four years.
SLAM: Is it tough to collect as you’re growing up? Do you have lots of stuff in different sizes?
Heslip: Actually you know what I used to do was when I saw a pair of shoes I really liked and I wanted them for my collection, I’d find them in size 13 just so I’d have them waiting there for me in size 13 when I grew. But the funny thing is that I only grew to a size 12 so I’ve got about 15 pairs of shoes that are size 13. But it’s all good, they’re part of the collection. Jay gives me shoes, he gives me size 13.5 and sometimes I just put those on display.
SLAM: Do you have a favorite pair?
Heslip: Probably my Jordan VII Olympics. Those are crazy because they’re the year of the Dream Team. Also my original Jordan VIII’s, which actually came out before I was born. I picked them up at Fligth Club in New York.
SLAM: And your Dad helps you out with sneakers?
Heslip: He used to go to New York and places like that, or Italy and he’d come back with a surprise for me and it’d be this exclusive pair in a color…it’s funny, he does stuff like that.
SLAM: And you’ve got some player exclusive shoes?
Heslip: I have a couple of pairs of Jamario Moon’s shoes. My favorite player back a while ago was Rafer Alston. I’ve got a couple of pairs from him, I’ve got a pair from Mike James, a pair from Jalen Rose when he was still around.