SLAM Q + A: Toney Douglas
‘You will be put in situations that make you feel like you hit a rookie wall.’
by Randy Zellea
Players came and went through New York this season as Toney Douglas endured his time on the bench. Douglas slowly began getting minutes and earned an opportunity to show why the Knicks drafted him with a first round selection.
By the end of the season, he was sharing time with Sergio Rodriguez and Chris Duhon at point guard position. SLAM sat down with Douglas and talked about his rookie season.
SLAM: What have you learned from your rookie year?
Toney Douglas: A lot of different things. I learned the game of the NBA and how it operates. It is not like college and it is very fast paced. There is a lot more space and any mistake you make can cost you. I also have learned that you have to play every possession and all 48 minutes. I also learned how to play on both ends of the floor and learned about my teammates and coaches. I feel that I have been very coachable during my rookie season, as well as patient. I anxiously awaited my turn and I am glad I had a chance to show my skills this late in the season.
SLAM: What was the best advice given to you this season?
TD: I was taught how to stay humble and always be ready to play. I also was told never loose my work ethic. My brother, who is in the NFL right now, couldn’t really contribute at first but he still kept on working. When he had his opportunity, he took advantage of it.
SLAM: What kind of advice can you give rookies from your experiences this past season?
TD: Always have good character, and stay mentally focused. You can easily be the best player in college, but sometimes you will be put in situations that make you feel like you hit a rookie wall. In those situations, you have to be positive and ask the coach what I can do better. Be assertive and find out what you have to do play and be on the court. The key is to be motivated and become a better basketball player.
SLAM: What do you want to work on going into your sophomore season?
TD: I have to work on everything. Even some of my stronger attributes need improvements. I know I have to work on my shooting and my passing, but my dribbling skills need just as much work. I feel like I need to work on every aspect of my game and take it up a few more notches to the next level for next season.
SLAM: The difference between college and the pros in your mind?
TD: Eighty-two games. You really have to take care of your body. We also have a lot of traveling and it takes a toll on you. That requires you to be mentally ready, as travel can be exhausting to a person. You have to be ready to seize the moment and that means you have to be mentally tough.
SLAM: What do you usually do on your spare time?
TD: I am really a laid back type of person. I go out into the city a little bit, but not often. I usually like to go to the movies and to the bowling alley, but that’s it. I am not really a crazy party guy.