Catching up with TJ Ford

Soobum Im-US PRESSWIRE

TJ is still handing out dimes.

I was catching up with TJ recently about what he's working on and the most immediate thing is this:

We're going to do more cool stuff with TJ in the future but we (Bean, Tjarks, Scip and I) wanted to quickly get a few questions his way and get caught up on this event and get his thoughts on a few other things. We'll do be doing more in depth things later but here's a quick hitter for you.


On TJ Ford Basketball:
It's a player development training program that teaches kids and pro athletes to become a better players and better people. We try to cover all aspects of the game, from the mental to the physical. Our approach is actually teaching life skills through basketball, instilling in our athletes the values of hard-work and self-discipline. We feel like these things carry over. Teaching the proper approach to improving both individual skills as well as team concepts ultimately builds self-esteem and prepares them for college and beyond.

On TJ Ford Elite (AAU):
I wanted to give back to the community that provided a way for me. These kids are the future so it's important to me to be involved every step of the way. I've got a great staff around me including guys like my high school coach Ronnie Courtney and NBA veteran James Posey. I've always felt a need to give the kids help and honest advice about their basketball ability. This is why we go back to self-discipline and work ethic. We want these kids to go further in life on whatever path they end up on because the NBA is huge long-shot for most.

Our mentality for our teams is to prepare them for college - getting in, staying in, competing, etc. We are committed to putting our kids in a more professional mindset early. We feel like we can give them an advantage by using our experience from both college and the NBA.

On the Texas Top 60 Camp:

This was a concept that I wish I'd had in my high school years - a camp with all the top players in the state. The players were selected by my staff and Alan Branch (txboysbasketball). They are all kids considered as the top players at each position. We're going to provide these young athletes with a fantastic experience featuring hand-ons interaction at a variety of stations working on different aspects of the game and different positions. The teaching will be done by NBA guys like Royal Ivey , James Posey, Mo Taylor, Moochie Norris, Terrence Morris, Mario Elie, Daniel Ewing, Reggie Butler, Stephen Jackson, Fred Jones, Mo Peterson, Chuck Hayes, Andre Barrett, and Bobby Simmons.

On playing in the NBA:
There is a huge difference between college and the NBA. In the NBA you play against the very best every single night. The pace and the tempo and players' athleticism just sets it apart. The combination of size with power and strength and quickness is a real jump. These are the best athletes in the world - there's no easy night. In college the atmosphere is different, the audience is younger so there is often more excitement and passion and that makes college so fun and free. In college the pressure is more on the coaches than the players.

On playing point guard, coaching:
Point guard is the most important position on the court because he controls the game. I think you can help guys become solid PGs but you can't make anybody great. Greatness is special because it's born.

I do enjoy watching ex NBA players transition into coaching because we have a lot of knowledge and experience to share and I think point guards by nature and experience are often well suited to leading teams. If you go into coaching after an NBA career, it's a true love of the game.

On in coming PG Isaiah Taylor, Rick Barnes:

My advice to Isaiah Taylor is to build a strong bond with Coach Barnes. Learn to understand him both on and off the court. The relationship is the key thing with him. He's a coach's coach and a tough-love guy but when he loves you, he's all in.

Rick Barnes was a huge part of my success. He saw something in me that was bigger than basketball. He told me at age 18 if I came to Texas, I would make history and change the culture in Texas and make it COOL to come to the University of Texas to play. I believed every word he said and my dream came true. Now it's my turn to go to work to positively effect lives.


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