THE SCOOP ON SPORTS

THE SCOOP ON SPORTS

by

comment
On draft night 2002 the Memphis Grizzlies played let’s make a deal NBA-style. Memphis traded Nick Anderson and the draft rights to Matt Barnes (UCLA), a 2nd round 46th selection, to Cleveland and acquired Wesley Person, a 6’6” eight year veteran guard. Many NBA experts consider Person as one of the premiere three-point specialists in the league. During the 2001-2002 season with the Cavs, Person’s sharp shooting from behind the three-point arc ranked ninth in the NBA (143-322). Person joins the rebuilding Grizzlies after a career season with the Cavaliers. During the 2001-2002 campaign with Cleveland Person averaged 15.1 ppg, 3.8 rpg, and 2.2 apg. Wesley Person was recently in the Bluff City for a press conference and sat down with the Flyer to discuss why he’s happy to be part of the new-look Memphis Grizzlies. Flyer: Tell me how you feel to be playing in Memphis close to your home state of Alabama where you were reared, and stared at Auburn University? Wesley Person: It makes me feel good because this is a situation I have been looking forward to for a long time. A place where people appreciate what I do and for my ability to shoot the basketball and spread the defense. And also playing at home with fans of the SEC. Flyer: What will you bring to this club? How will you bring your leadership style to the Grizzlies? Wesley Person: I try to lead by example, diving on the floor getting loose balls, coming to practice early and staying late because you have to show the younger guys that you have to put in extra work in order to stay in this league for a long time. And being vocal in the locker room by letting them know how to win, because I’ve been with a winning franchise (Phoenix Suns) and losing (Cleveland cavaliers), and I’ve been in the league a long time, and I’ve learned a lot from a lot of good leaders. I can bring some of that leadership that I got from other players in the league because I have listened, and now I can bring leadership to a young franchise. Flyer: What’s it like to be playing for the so-called ”new- look” Grizzlies? Wesley Person: The name might be Grizzlies, but it’s not what it used to be. You’re talking Jason Williams, Pau Gasol, Shane Battier, Brevin Knight, and a whole different look. That’s not the same Grizzlies that you used to see. I’m excited about how fans are excited. They brought Jerry West in who is well respected around the league and he’s going to do what ever it takes to win because he’s a winner. And, so it makes it exciting, and I’m looking forward to being a part of it. Flyer: What do you tell fans about Wesley Person coming to Memphis to be a part of the Grizzlies’ new look and future? Wesley Person: I’m a guy that’s going to go out and play hard, and be a team player. A player that wants to go out and help a team win. I’m a guy that wants to win, I’m willing to win, and stay in the gym trying to get better and help my teammates get better. And I’m looking for that big prize to make the playoffs. Flyer: How important is it to have Chuck Person as your older brother, who is a former NBA all-star and SEC standout while attending Auburn University? Wesley Person: That’s important because it helps you, because he’s been where I'm trying to go. And, he can help you continue to get better, because he knows how to communicate with you. Last year it helped me because he was coaching in Cleveland and instead of a long distance phone call he was right there on the court. Also, just by having him as a brother who has been through it only helps. Flyer: How important is this trade for your family, wife, and kids being closer to your home state of Alabama? Wesley Person: We’ve been in Cleveland in the cold weather; now winter is not as cold. The kids get an opportunity to go outside and play and develop their skills, and that’s important to me. It’s important to me to make sure my family is happy. If they’re happy that brings a smile on my face. I can enjoy my job and go out and play to my ability. Flyer: What do you tell basketball fans in Memphis who have witnessed Memphis State success and the ABA in the 1970’s, and who are now excited about the Grizzlies in 2002-2003? Wesley Person: With a new franchise, big time players in here, and fans who love basketball, Memphis will be fun. When you know people are behind you and they want you to do well you want to go out there and play hard for them. I’ve heard a lot about the fans who get behind the team and that makes you get pumped up. Flyer: Dajuan Wagner (Memphis) is now with the Cleveland Cavalier;s what will it be like for him playing for your former team? Wesley Person: It’s an adjustment for all young players coming into the NBA out of college. He’s got the ability to create his own shot; so I think he will do just fine. Flyer: Do you have any other thoughts on being in Memphis? Wesley Person: I just look at this trade as a positive thing. I look at it as a situation where someone wants me for what I do and that’s what makes me feel good. I really appreciate the opportunity and Jerry West and the Grizzlies organization for giving me a chance to come in and be a part of the excitement. This is a growing process and I’m looking forward to the season.

Add a comment