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Monday, November 11th, 2013 at 10:59 am  |  16 responses

Beverley Hills

There are a handful of NBAers from Chicago, but none have traveled quite the long-winding path that Patrick Beverley has.

by Aggrey Sam / @CSNBullsInsider

In the current issue of the magazine, you’ll see a piece on Rockets PG Patrick Beverley in which he tells his own story. It’s fitting because his strong preseason proved he’ll be an important piece for Houston over the course of 2013-14, especially as people who just knew him previously as “dude who ended Russell Westbrook’s season” realize that he can actually play.

But even people who were familiar with his game from the middle of last season, when the Rockets signed him from a Euroleague team in Russia—and even for those who knew of him from his days at Arkansas—may not fully comprehend his journey. I can safely say I have a better understanding of it than most, and not just because I live in Chicago now.

Back when I was living in Philly and just finding my niche writing for the PUNKS section of the magazine, one of my assignments (ironically for the last issue of the special summer issue of PUNKS, if I recall correctly) was writing a recap of a tournament sponsored by AND1, featuring HS teams from around the nation. It was a little different than most summer events because it had actual school teams, not AAU programs, and it coincided with some camps, so I can’t say that the best of the best were in attendance.

But there was some talent: a top-ranked St. Benedict’s team with fringe NBA players Lance Thomas and Samardo Samuels, a Dallas team with future NFL WR Michael Crabtree (he could hoop, too) and the eventual winner, Artesia, which had a southpaw sophomore wing named James Harden, who actually caught my eye because of his defense and wasn’t the Cali team’s top offensive option or most highly-touted player.

Another squad in the tourney, which was held at Philly’s La Salle University (AND1 was based in the city’s suburbs), was Marshall HS out of Chicago, and being that Hoop Dreams is my favorite movie of all-time, I was excited to see them play. One of the youngest teams in the event (a few of the underclassmen developed into D1 players in time), they got blown out in both of their games, but I couldn’t take my eyes off their skinny rising-senior guard who played every possession like it was his last, guarding opponents full-court and finishing with 39 and 38 points in the two defeats, one of which was to Harden’s Artesia squad.

This was the year when Wayne Ellington and Gerald Henderson were the big names in Philly’s senior class and McDonald’s All-American Game locks, so my logic was that if those guys were top-10 prospects, even upon first glance, Beverley had to be a top-25 kid, at least top-50 in the nation. The other assembled media and scouts, all of whom had more experience than me, scoffed and basically said I needed to watch more basketball and get out of Philly to see more events.

After Patrick’s last game, I introduced myself to him to grab a quick quote for my story, but also to see where his recruiting stood. He told me his biggest offer was Toledo and that he’d likely commit there, which he eventually did, but this was when I was in the mode of trying to get local kids looks from colleges, so I pledged to keep in touch and get the word out about him.

He didn’t play on the AAU circuit—instead he played on the short-lived MTV show Nike Battlegrounds,which might have been a fun experience, but didn’t help his recruiting stock—but went on to have one of the more memorable seasons in recent memory in Chicago, averaging close to 40 PPG and leading Marshall “Downstate,” just like Arthur Agee’s team. I held up my end of the bargain, but he didn’t need my help, ended up at Arkansas and the rest is history, or is now, for those who didn’t know his story.

I won’t go on and on, as you can read his own words about his journey, but since moving here and working in my current position, we’ve crossed paths at the NBA Summer League in Vegas and at pro-am games in the city, and of all the kids I saw as young players that made it to the League, there’s not one I feel more blessed to have seen than Pat Beverley, as a lot of my friends can attest to over the years, as much as I’ve said he should be ranked higher, get high-major offers, be on an NBA roster, etc. And the fact that he moved his mom, Lisa, to Houston (where she owns a nail salon) a few years ago makes it even better.

Since there was a word count for the magazine story, here’s the extended version of our Q&A. Enjoy:

ON GROWING UP IN CHICAGO:

I’m from out West, Kildare and Hirsch, born and raised. Chicago people, we call that K-Town. As you probably know, not one of the best of neighborhoods. I played at was Kedvale Park. I didn’t play AAU at all. Summers, I played with [former Westinghouse High School and University of Illinois-Chicago stars] Ced Banks, Martell Bailey and all those guys.

ON MAKING A NAME:

I didn’t play my first two years of high school. I started playing my junior and senior year, and it’s ironic that we’re talking about this because when we were playing in Philly—I don’t know if you remember this—but James Harden was at that tournament, too. Me and him, we still talk about that. But that was kind of my breakout point. We used to do summer tournaments when I was in high school. My coming-out party was Philly. I didn’t really have a household name yet because I was in the dust of Sherron Collins, Jon Scheyer, DRose, all those type of guys.

ON MARSHALL HS:

Marshall was a powerhouse for women’s basketball, Cappie Pondexter and all of them. Our coach, Lamont Bryant, came to Marshall my sophomore year, but I didn’t play. So I came in my junior and I played. We started getting on the map and a lot of people started talking about us more.

ON HIS HS COACH:

Anybody that’s close to me, anybody that’s been knowing me since high school, everybody knew that Coach Bryant was like my father and I lived with him for some time, throughout high school and he was the backbone. He was like my father.

ON MTV BATTLEGROUNDS:

That was a street thing, Chicago vs. New York. We played outside, Nike sponsored it. LeBron, that was my first time meeting ‘Bron and that was crazy. I had a great experience with that. I was the youngest kid on the team, started in that game, played well, so it was fun.

ON BLOWING UP AS A SENIOR:

After my junior year, I started lifting weights. We lost to Sherron’s team four times the year before, so I came in wanting to prove myself and it happened so fast. Started out [scoring] 30, 35 and we beat DRose in a Christmas tournament, and that was right after they beat Oak Hill, so we beat them, a nationally ranked team. That kind of put us on the radar. We started winning games. We didn’t lose games for months and we were ranked 12th in the nation, and all that stuff, so I guess that’s when we people starting look at us like, ‘Who is this team?’

ON MARSHALL’S SUCCESS:

I had never been Downstate. I just always used to watch when I was younger. Westinghouse, who won states with Chris Head. I used to watch them on TV and say, ‘Man, that must be a nice feeling,’ so us going Downstate, winning that first game, beating a team that hadn’t lost a game the whole season and then playing DRose, coming up short to them. But it was just a great overall experience.

ON CHICAGO’S PUBLIC LEAGUE:

We’d be doing the national anthem and fights would break out. It was just all kinds of stuff. It’s kind of similar to a lower version of the NBA playoffs. It was that competitive. People want to win every night and a lot of people don’t know, within that small radius in Chicago, 10 or 11 miles, Derrick Rose. Another two or three miles, there’s Sherron. That many pros coming out of a city like that, it’s kind of crazy. Then, being able to play each other all the time. Osiris [Eldridge] and Jerome Randle, some guys like that—JaVale McGee—you’re playing against those guys every night and you grow up, and those guys are pros.

ON RECRUITMENT:

You know first I committed to Toledo after my junior year because that was the biggest school that was recruiting me. I felt comfortable with that team and I visited down there a couple times. For me, it’s always been about proving myself. That’s how it is now. I always want to play against the best competition and I always want to prove myself. I de-committed from them and I went into my senior year, and big schools started calling and was really interested. It was Arkansas and Michigan, [and] UCLA was in the mix.

ON GOING TO ARKANSAS:

Going into that summer, I didn’t leave, I didn’t go back and forth between Chicago and Arkansas. I got down there early, before anybody else, hit the weights, got stronger, stayed in the gym every night. This was before classes even started. I just wanted to, again, prove myself, so I was in practice with guys who were seniors, planning that I was going to get [SEC] freshman of the year. Don’t get it mixed up—it wasn’t being cocky. I’m just a big fan of speaking things into existence. I went to sleep on it, won that Freshman of the Year. I was grinding, but I was very fortunate.

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  • Max

    Could you imagine the Heat’s defense had he gotten on their roster?

  • pposse

    that rubber rawling bball tho…i swear i had the same one growing up. Anyone remember when Nike came out with an all black basketball with night lights? it was meant for playing in the dark i think..

  • ATL dynamite

    Them calf muscles. Secrets to his crazy defense. Holy Molly!!

  • spit hot fiyah

    very good read. humble guy. one of my favorite players to watch in the league

  • ATL dynamite

    The first time when I got to know Beverley was when I watched Chris Smoove’s channel, that every time Beverley got subbed in he messed everything up. Then I stated to look up his highlights and was amazed by his passion to the game. Now he is already grinding in the league.

    Judging from the Beverley experience, many overseas players can be way more than simply serviceable in the nba. Guys like Bo McCalebb deserve some heads up and shots

  • MrSuper

    Saw Patplaying ball in Greece. He really delivered under high presure.

  • http://www.rich-imaging.com/ Dutch Rich

    I said some ish about him a week or so ago. Take it all back. What a great read. He seems like a very high character kid, nuff respect. Great article and great timing.

  • spit hot fiyah

    mccalebb should have been in the L a long time ago. he has his passport over there now though and is getting more money than a lot of 7th and 8th men in the nba. he probably went through the same process that beverly mentioned in the interview, about being done with the nba and just focusing on europe. i don’t think bo is interested in a league minimum or close to it, like beverly, who prioritized the nba and his living his dream but is making less than a million this year and next and is drastically underpaid.

  • Wall Ball

    Great read! I’m proud of Pat! He’s a warrior and understands what it means to triumph over adversity. His last two years of high school not only did he face D Rose and Sherron, he also faced Chris Singletary, Jeremy Pargo, Brandon Ewing, Julian Wright, Jerel McNeal

  • Slick Ric

    He looks like a young Dwight Howard in that third picture. lol

  • Vince Gully

    Damn. That kid bought out his own contract just for the chance to be the third string point guard? That is some serious dedication. Very inspirational. Between Beverly and J-Lin, Houston’s got the hungriest guards in the league!

  • shockexchange

    Patrick Beverley … isn’t that the guy who purposely injured Russell Westbrook?

  • http://slamonline.com/ Ben Osborne

    Great stuff Mistersam

  • jonnylove

    not purposefully. He want for a steal, and knee hit hip. It was legal play, a normal play, that just went wrong. Freak injury.

  • shockexchange

    Yeah, you know there’s a way you can hurt a guy without making it look intentional, right? You’re no longer in Kansas anymore Dorothy.

  • 3Chainz

    Chicago is ALWAYS producing talent. Can go blow for blow with ANY CITY!!

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