JaVale McGee

By Eric Woodyard | The Flint Journal

FLINT, Michigan — In 1984, Phoenix Suns power forward Larry Nance won the first ever NBA Slam Dunk competition. He did it with an array of acrobatic dunks that brilliantly utilized his length and lanky build.

At 6-foot-10, Nance went head-to-head with legendary dunkers like Julius “Dr. J” Erving and Dominique Wilkins in Denver to become one of the tallest winners in the history of the contest. But what would Washington Wizards center, JaVale McGee know about Larry Nance though? He wasn’t even born yet.

McGee, 23, wasn’t born until four years after Nance’s feat.

This Saturday, the Flint native will look to recreate that magic and perhaps have something in common with Nance. McGee was selected to participate in this year’s Slam Dunk Contest at the NBA All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles, Calif. He will battle DeMar DeRozan (Toronto Raptors), Blake Griffin (Los Angeles Clippers), and Serge Ibaka (Oklahoma City Thunder) for the title.

McGee lists Nance’s performance in the ‘84 contest as his favorite of all-time, but vows to come with his own creative niche.

“I’m just really excited,” McGee said. “I got some things up my sleeve that people have never seen and it should be a pretty good contest.”

Just like Nance, McGee is also relatively large to be fighting for the crown as the league’s best dunker. He is 7-feet tall and weights 250 pounds. Since his name was officially confirmed as a member of arguably the most popular event of the entire weekend, McGee has earned a newfound fame that can sometimes become annoying.

“It’s definitely fun getting the attention, it’s also hectic though,” McGee added. “You can’t go places you went before without being heckled by everybody.”

Wizards Cavaliers Basketball.JPG

McGee lived in Flint until the age of four, but often moved from city to city. His mother, Pam McGee, was a star at Northern high school, and won back-to-back NCAA championships at USC. She also played professional basketball in several different places, including overseas and in the WNBA. Due to her career, JaVale lived in Detroit, Chicago, and even Los Angeles, but he did come back to his hometown to attend Flint Northwestern in the seventh and eighth grade.

In high school, McGee played at Detroit Country Day, Fremont’s Providence Christian HS and Hales Franciscan in Chicago before completing two years of college basketball at Nevada-Reno.

In 2008, McGee was selected by the Wizards with the 18th pick of the NBA draft and he is now in his third season averaging 9.2 points and 7.6 rebounds.
Although McGee is hardly home, he’s still realizes where he’s from and hopes to make his community proud. He has the ink to prove it.

“I definitely rep the city of Flint. I have the Flint tattoo and everything,” McGee said. “I’ve been there for like half my life like on and off, but I’m just trying to go out there and represent and win this dunk contest.”

*Click this link to check out Eric Woodyard’s complete interview with McGee.


JaVale McGee (34) of the Washington Wizards throws down a fastbreak jam against the Los Angeles Lakers.

By Eric Woodyard | The Flint Journal

FLINT, Michigan — The Sprite NBA Slam Dunk Contest is right around the corner.

In arguably the most popular event of the NBA All-Star Weekend, four participants will fight for the crown of being honored as the league’s best dunker.

DeMar Derozan (Toronto Raptors), Blake Griffin (Los Angeles Clippers), Serge Ibaka (Oklahoma City Thunder) and Flint’s very own JaVale McGee of the Washington Wizards were selected to take part in the action. Taking a few minutes out of his busy schedule, McGee agreed to an over-the-phone interview with the Flint Journal.

McGee talked about growing up in the city, his favorite dunk contest of all-time, and his recent popularity.

Eric Woodyard: I know you didn’t grow up your whole life here in Flint but do you still rep the city just like you’ve been here your whole life?

JaVale McGee: Yeah I definitely rep the city of Flint. I got the Flint tattoo and everything and I been there for like half my life like on and off but yeah I definitely rep it.

EW: How old were you when you moved out of Flint?

JM: I was like four then I left and came back when I was six and then I left again and came back in the seventh and eighth grade. I went to Northwestern.

EW: Where did you guys move to?

JM: We went to Chicago. We went to Detroit. We went overseas. We was everywhere.

EW: I know your mom was a star at Flint Northern (Pam McGee) and your dad was drafted into the NBA (George Montgomery). Do you feel like hooping was pretty much in your genes?

JM: Yeah definitely. My background as far as my mom is real good.

EW: So you got this big Slam Dunk contest coming up this Saturday. How excited are you?

JM: It feels good, I’m just really excited. I got some things up my sleeve that people have never seen and it should be a pretty good contest.

EW: When was the first time you dunked a basketball?

JM: I think in like eighth grade.

EW: What type of dunk was it? Was it a weak one? (laughs)

JM: It wasn’t that crazy. It was just a little weak dunk.

EW: What was your favorite NBA Dunk Contest of all-time?

JM: I think it was ’86 or ’84 with Larry Nance.

EW: I know you don’t want to reveal none of your dunks but are you taking some things from Larry Nance?

JM: I was thinking about it but I don’t think I am.

EW: Is there one particular dunk from one person that you can say is your favorite of all-time?

JM: Nah, I can’t even say it. It’s so many. It’s too many dunks out there.

EW: How cool is it to be playing with John Wall in Washington?

JM: It’s been cool, it’s a lot more exposure than it was the year before. I’m just trying to get some wins though.

EW: You’ve been getting a lot of attention since you were selected for the contest, how crazy has that been?

JM: It’s definitely fun getting the attention, it’s also hectic though. You can’t go places you went before without being heckled by everybody.

EW: Anything else you want to add...

JM: Just uh…I’m definitely repping Flint. I’m just trying to go out there and represent and win this dunk contest.

*Look out for Eric Woodyard’s full length story on McGee in tomorrow’s sports section of the Flint Journal.

It’s no secret that Oklahoma City Thunder guard, Russell Westbrook is quickly becoming one of the best young guards in the league.

The LBC native finished the 2009-2010 season with an average of 16.1 points and 8.0 dimes per game. He then followed this up in the playoffs against the Los Angeles Lakers where he averaged 20.5 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists over 6 games. This season he showed his performance was no fluke when he gave Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls 28 points and 6 assists in the season opener.

We’ve seen what he’s capable of on the court but have you always wondered what’s going through the mind of a young player just before stepping on the court to battle another great player at the same position? I caught up with Westbrook in the midst of eating a bag of popcorn in the visitor’s locker room at the Palace of Auburn Hills just before he prepared to battle Rodney Stuckey and the Detroit Pistons on Friday, October 29, 2010.

This is what goes through his mind…

Eric Woodyard: Can you talk about your pre-game ritual a little bit. What do you usually do before the game?

Russell Westbook: I usually take a nap, grab something to eat and listen to music, nothing too crazy and just hang out, chill and relax.

EW: What type of music do you listen too to get you in the zone?

RW: You know what? I switch it up. It all depends, sometimes I listen to some Raggae, some Cameroonian music…yeah (laughs). Lil Wayne…

EW: I’ve never heard anybody say that before…(laughs)

RW: …some jerking, I switch it up. So it all depends on how I’m feeling that day.

EW: Do you usually get hyped up to go up against another up and coming point guard? Like tonight’s it’s Rodney Stuckey, do you try to go out and try to prove that you’re better?

RW: Not really, I just try to go out and prove that my team is better. I try to go out and put my team in the best situation to try to win the game.

EW: What were some of the things you worked on this off-season?

RW: Well in the off-season I was really busy with FIBA and USA basketball so with that it helped me become more physical and a better teammate.

EW: That first game against your Olympic teammate Derrick Rose and the Bulls was great battle! So to get back on that battling your peers, can you break it down how does it feel to compete against all these up and coming guards?

RW: It feels good! It’s a good thing for the league, it’s a lot of good guards in the league and to go against somebody who’s real good and real tough, there’s really no nights off.

The date was July 10, 2010. A 25-year-old, Akron native, held the whole world in the palm of his hands.

Sporting a light purple and white checkered shirt with no jewelry, he seemed bare. His appearance wasn’t the only thing bare but so was his demeanor. All emotion was wiped off the face of LeBron James. ESPN cleared all their regularly scheduled programs just to televise this conversation between him and sportscaster, Jim Gray, which was dubbed as “The Decision.”

A little over five minutes into their conversation, LeBron changed everything with one statement.

“In this fall, this is very tough, in this fall I’m going to take my talents to South Beach and join the Miami Heat.”

I thought, “How could he do this?” The great ones don’t join forces with players on their caliber. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are both two of the top-3 players in my eyes. Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson would have never done that. “The Decision,” left a bad taste in my mouth initially. As an avid LeBron follower since his St. Vincent-St. Mary High School days, I have to admit that I wanted LeBron to stay in Cleveland and win it the hard way. This would build his own legacy as arguably one of the greatest players of all-time.

It took me a while to really sit down and accept his decision. Who am I to say what LeBron “should” have done? Who is anyone to say what LeBron “should” have done? Did anyone ever think about what was best for LeBron? No one was willing to go to Cleveland, he was tired of losing, and the best opportunity presented itself. Everyone should accept his choice to join the Miami Heat and move on. There is no reason that we should still be talking about this four months later.

This country is based on jumping on the bandwagon. Whatever is hot is what people ride but once it’s not then we tend to throw it in the dirt (i.e. Michael Vick, Tiger Woods, and Allen Iverson). Mark my word, LeBron James will rise above this. He may never be in the same category as a Michael Jordan or a Kobe Bryant as far as the public is concerned but this will blow over.

Most of his doubters are in fact huge fans so their opinions really don’t count. The comments from both Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley were both unnecessary.

“There’s no way, with hindsight, I would’ve ever called up Larry, called up Magic and said, ‘Hey, look, let’s get together and play on one team,'” Six-Time NBA Champion, Michael Jordan said. “Things are different. I can’t say that’s a bad thing. It’s an opportunity these kids have today. In all honesty, I was trying to beat those guys.”

“I thought that his little one-hour special was a punk move. I thought them dancing around on the stage was a punk move, and I thought he should’ve stayed in Cleveland,” NBA Legend, Charles Barkley said. “Him joining Dwyane Wade’s team was very disappointing to me … That one-hour special, them jumping around on stage like punks, that wasn’t cool to me. From a basketball standpoint, I wish he had stayed in Cleveland, and if he takes that as criticism, so be it. He knows where I’ll be, I don’t run. I’m on TV every week, I’m easy to find.’”

Jordan never gives credit to anyone but himself. Barkley only seeks attention and has gone on record to say LeBron is the game’s best player.

Despite a lackluster performance in the season opener when the Miami Heat took a ‘L’ to the Boston Celtics in Beantown, 88-80, things will get better for the King. He did pour in 31 points connecting on 10 of his 21 shot attempts, which was the most by a Heat player in his debut. Honestly, I don’t believe the Heat will have another game that bad all season. What’s the probability of James and Wade both combining for 14 turnovers again? It wont happen!

For all the doubters, Nike just prepared a new commercial for LeBron James to promote his eighth signature sneaker titled “Rise.”  The theme of the ad is LeBron asking: “What should I do?” There’s a spot that sticks out to me where he is on the podium at his empty Hall-of-Fame speech and LeBron asks: “Should I really believe I ruined my legacy?”

My answer to that question is, “No, just go out and do what you have been doing.” LeBron James should just play basketball and let the rest speak for itself. I’m sure he wont let anyone down. We are all witnesses.

*This post can also be viewed at!

“Last year was tough. We were inconsistent. There was no chemistry. We all just have to stay healthy and the sky is the limit for us. On paper, we are the best team in the League. We are deep and athletic. All we have to do is play to our abilities. We don’t have the biggest roster, but if we share the ball, we’ll be alright.” -Rodney Stuckey says to Dime Mag.

I love Rodney Stuckey but are you kidding me? The “best team in the League!” C’mon son. The Detroit Pistons?

Let me get this straight once again, Rodney Stuckey believes that the Detroit Pistons are the best team in the League…on paper. I want to make sure I’m looking at this same paper so let’s examine the Detroit Pistons roster.

Team Roster
12 Will Bynum PG 27 6-0 185 Georgia Tech  
5 Austin Daye SF 22 6-11 200 Gonzaga  
7 Ben Gordon SG 27 6-3 200 Connecticut  
32 Richard Hamilton SG 32 6-7 193 Connecticut  
33 Jonas Jerebko F 23 6-10 231    
54 Jason Maxiell PF 27 6-7 260 Cincinnati  
1 Tracy McGrady SG 31 6-8 223    
10 Greg Monroe PF 20 6-11 250 Georgetown  
22 Tayshaun Prince SF 30 6-9 215 Kentucky  
3 Rodney Stuckey PG 24 6-5 205 Eastern Washington  
35 DaJuan Summers F 22 6-8 240 Georgetown  
31 Charlie Villanueva PF 26 6-11 232 Connecticut  
6 Ben Wallace C 36 6-9 240 Virginia Union  
23 Terrico White SG 20 6-5 213 Mississippi  
9 Chris Wilcox PF 28 6-10 235 Maryland  

I’m looking very closely and I still don’t see this team as being one of the best. In 2004, maybe but this year…nah. Last season, I made the mistake of getting caught up with what was “on paper.” I liked the additions of Charlie Villanueva, Ben Gordon, and Big Ben and  I predicted that the Pistons had the possibility to compile a 50-win season, just like in 2001. Instead they lost 55 games.

At the Pistons Media Day earlier this week, Stuckey did attempt to clean up his statements to Dime.

“That was inaccurate, he kind of wrote it down wrong. I told him that we were one of the best, not the best team and we are,” Stuckey said Monday at the Pistons Media Day. “I believe in my team, I believe that we are very athletic, we have a lot of great players on the team and I think if we could put it together and work as one then we will be pretty good. I know the Eastern Conference is tough now but I think that if we all stay healthy the sky is the limit for this team.”

To the Pistons credit, the injury bug did hit hard. In the 2009-2010 season, Ben Gordon played 62 games, Tayshaun Prince (49), Rip Hamilton (46), and Will Bynum (63). Who knows what the results could have been if they had only stayed healthy . The true starting lineup competed in under 20 games together. How could any camaraderie be established with such miniscule amount of games played with integral pieces to the overall puzzle?

Adding to their injury woes, the Pistons will be taking a chance with Tracy McGrady. Last season, T-Mac only played a total of 30 games but the teams hopes he can be that spark for the franchise by being a key role player.

“I think (McGrady’s) a great addition to our team. He’s definitely gonna help us out but the biggest thing is that we’ve all gotta stay healthy,” Richard Hamilton said. “We went so many years without anybody getting injured to going one year and having four of your top guys injured was a huge blow for us so I think guys really came in this year and prepared their bodies to hopefully having a good year.”

Other than McGrady, the roster has no real noticeable changes. They have two rookies, Terrico White and Greg Monroe, who probably won’t make a huge impact, a head coach who is a year smarter, and a new leader.

“I’m gonna be a lot more vocal this year, it’s just in my nature and it’s just my time to take over this team and just to be that vocal person and also just to lead on the court,” Stuckey added. “It starts in practice though and each and every day I gotta come out and work and show that I’m here to get better each and every day and once I do that in practice than it’s gonna lead into games.”

This year’s Pistons team is hard to predict. They may be good or bad, mediocre or solid. The injuries could have given the veterans a new zest for the game and ignite a fire inside of them that we haven’t seen in years. All in all, I predict a .500 team. I think they will go 41-41 and be a sixth or seventh seed in the Playoffs.

*This post can also be viewed on!

Only three words can describe Chauncey Billups entering his 14th season as a professional basketball player. “Grown Ass Man.”

Coming off a great individual season in which Billups averaged a career high in points (19.5 per game) there shouldn’t be a question in anyone’s mind that this season will be any different. He’s older, smarter, tougher, and better. Turning 34-years-old on September 25th, he’s like fine wine proving to be getting better with time. Think of  him as the Bernard Hopkins of the hoop game! Hopkins was also that late bloomer who lost 2 of his first 24 pro fights including his very first match but later reigned as the middleweight champion for ten years and successfully defended his title a record 20 times. Billups is the same on the hardwood. His first five years were mediocre but since then he’s consistently shown the young guys that he’s still one of the best no matter what ending numbers on his D.O.B may say. His list of accomplishments already make a case for him as a future Hall of Famer.

  • NBA Champion
  • NBA Finals MVP
  • 5-Time NBA All-Star
  • All-NBA Second Team
  • 2-Time All-NBA Third Team
  • 2-Time All-Defensive Second Team

Adding to his already sparkling resume, Billups did something else spectacular this summer…

The USA basketball team needed leadership for the 2010 FIBA World Championship Tournament. Who do you think they called? They tracked down Chauncey. The word “LEADER” should be embedded into this man’s DNA, tattooed onto his skin, etched over his grave stone. He’s damn near mastered this aspect of life.

With the younger players on the USA team knowing his leadership role before they even laced up their sneakers for game 1 of the tournament, he was easily able impose his will on the team and help lead them to the promised land. The USA didn’t lose a game as Kevin Durant left the competition non-existent and Billups played his part as the second leading player in points (9.8) and assists (3.1 per game).

Since 2002, Billups has been doing this. Leading a franchise. He’s always been in the discussion as one of the best at his position whether fans have liked it or not. We know what we’re going to get from him each season. He’s going to play hard, smart, and show up in crunch time. I can’t state it any more clearer, this season will be no different. He’s in that upper echelon of guards in the lead position. He’s top-5 in my book.

1. Chris Paul

2. Deron Williams

3. Steve Nash

4. Derrick Rose

5. Chauncey Billups

It’s unclear at this point which team Billups will be competing for this upcoming season. Portland Trailblazers maybe?

We don’t know if Carmelo Anthony will be in the Mile High City, New Jersey, New York, or the Chi-Town.

What we do know is that Chauncey Billups will be putting another solid NBA season under his belt this year.

The days of “Mr. Big Shot” have been long gone since he departed from Motown, now he’s just a “Grown Ass Man.” Nothing more, nothing less.

*This post can also be viewed on!


By Eric Woodyard

There were many questions for the Detroit Pistons heading into this Monday’s media day.

Could they adjust to addition of Tracy McGrady? Will they be able to stay healthy? How can they turn around a losing season? Are Rip Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince on the trading block?

None was bigger than Rodney Stuckey’s comments he made about the franchise this off-season.

“Last year was tough. We were inconsistent. There was no chemistry. We all just have to stay healthy and the sky is the limit for us. On paper, we are the best team in the League.” Rodney Stuckey said to Dime magazine earlier this month. “We are deep and athletic. All we have to do is play to our abilities. We don’t have the biggest roster, but if we share the ball, we’ll be alright.”

To most basketball fans, this had to be a joke. Everyone wondered how did Stuckey believe that a team who had won just 32 percent of their games last season, with an overall record of 27-55, could somehow be the best team this year? When put under pressure from the various media outlets at the event, Stuckey somewhat cleared up his statements.

“That was inaccurate, he kind of wrote it down wrong. I told him that we were one of the best, not the best team and we are,” Stuckey said at the Pistons’ media day. “I believe in my team, I believe that we are very athletic, we have a lot of great players on the team and I think if we could put it together and work as one then we will be pretty good. I know the Eastern Conference is tough now but I think that if we all stay healthy the sky is the limit for this team.”

The newfound confidence comes from a lighter, faster, and quicker, Rodney Stuckey who claims to have lost 10 pounds this off-season. With four years experience and the green light from his team and coaching staff, this could be the year that Stuckey emerges as one of the best young talents in the league at the lead guard position.

He gave fans a glimpse of what he was capable of last year when he averaged a career-high, 16.6 points per game, 3.8 rebounds, and 4.8 assists per game. This year he looks to take it up a notch further.

“I’m gonna be a lot more vocal this year, it’s just in my nature and it’s just my time to take over this team and just to be that vocal person and also just to lead on the court,” Stuckey added. “It starts in practice though and each and every day I gotta come out and work and show that I’m here to get better each and every day and once I do that in practice than it’s gonna lead into games.”

The Detroit Pistons may not be the best team in the league but they will have the best Rodney Stuckey that they could possibly have. He’s got the juice now.

*This post can also be viewed in the Western Herald!

Letter To Allen Iverson

March 11, 2010

Dear Allen Iverson,

You’ve been marvelized, criticized and scrutinized,

But in this toughest time, just continue to keep your head up to the sky!

You’re the realest to ever step on the hardwood,

No disrespect to MJ, Kobe, or Magic but they never represented the hood.

You’re Tupac in gym shoes, Muhammad Ali in a jersey,

I remember when you killed my Lakers in Game 1 of the finals and showed Tyronn Lue no mercy.

That hurt me! But at the end of the day it didn’t surprise me coming from league’s MVP.

As a rookie you changed the game,

Even with the fame, you never changed, and always stayed the same.

For most people, being real on the highest level is a tough task,

But with your past, you did it with ease no matter what the media asked.

The passion, swagger, and hunger you played with has always given me inspiration,

So if you dont ever play another game of basketball, you will always have my admiration.

I remember meeting you for the first time when you played the Celtics in your first home game as a Piston,

It was the first and only time that I’ve been starstruck,

But you know what?

I’m happy to say that it was when I seen the great Bubbachuck.


Eric Woodyard

He’s taken every challenge. He’s committed to defense. He’s improved at his jumper.

As of right now, LeBron James is the most effective basketball player in the world! (notice I said “effective” not the best…Kobe still has that title)

It hurts me to say this, since I am obviously one of Kobe Bryant’s biggest fans but King James is the league’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) for the first half of the season. Anyone who thinks otherwise are clearly letting their biases get in the way of reality, as well as the facts.

James continues to flirt with triple-double numbers as he is currently averaging 29.9 points per game, 7.1 assists, and 8.3 assists. His team also has the best record in the league with 43 wins and only 11 losses. Which means that “on-paper” they are the “best.” He also has the hottest sneaker in the game in the Nike Air Max LeBron 7 which keeps him fly while he continues his nightly onslaught on the entire league.

With that being said, the stage is set for James to make it back to the NBA Finals this season. Anything less than a Finals appearance should be a disappointment not only to James but to the team as well as the whole state of Ohio.

Looking back on the first half of the season, here are King James’ top-5 battles, in no particular order, of the year:

1. LeBron James vs Dwyane Wade (1/25/10)

James scored 32 points, handed out 4 assists, and grabbed 9 boards as the Cavs defeated the Heat, 92-91, on the road.

2. LeBron James vs. Brandon Roy (1/10/10)

James dropped 41 points, 8 assists, and 10 rebounds on the Blazers as the Cavs cruised to a 106-94 victory.

3. Lebron James vs Kevin Durant (1/23/10)

James scored 37 points, handed out 12 assists, and grabbed 9 boards as the Cavs beat the Thunder, 100-99, due to James’ game-winning block on Durant.

4. LeBron James vs Kobe Bryant (1/21/10)

James chipped in 37 points, 9 rebounds, and dished out 5 assists as the Cavs beat the Lakers, 93-87.

5. LeBron James vs The New York Knicks (2/6/10)

James erupted for 47 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists as the Cavs defeated the Knicks, 113-106.

James and the Cavaliers will pick back up action this Thursday when they take on Carmelo Anthony and the Denver Nuggets at home at 8 p.m. on TNT.

Wilson Chandler Interview

January 19, 2010

In 2005, Benton Harbor’s own Wilson Chandler left the state of Michigan with the Mr. Basketball trophy in his hand.

In his four years of prep basketball, Chandler dominated at Benton Harbor High School and capped his senior season off with not only the Mr. Basketball trophy, but with All-State honors as well. Although his team was beaten in the Regionals by Holt High School, he still finished the season with averages of 24 points, 12 rebounds, five assists, and four blocks per game.

From there, Chandler took his skills to DePaul University where the 6-4, 225 pound forward blossomed into an all-around threat. He completed two years before entering the NBA Draft. In his sophomore season, he was even named to the Big-East all second team, and recorded eight double-doubles, while leading the team to a 20-win season.

On June 28, 2007, Chandler was selected by the New York Knicks with the 23rd overall pick. He is currently in his second season with the franchise and having an impressive year. He is chipping in 14.0 points per game and 5.1 rebounds (as of press time).

During a visit back to Michigan on December 29, 2009, to take on the Detoit Pistons, I caught up with the 22-year-old in the locker room after he contributed 23 points (10-of-20 FG), nine rebounds, three steals, and a block in the Knicks’ 104-87 win over Detroit.

Eric Woodyard: I know you’re coming back to Michigan, do you feel like you had a little extra to prove tonight?

Wilson Chandler: Nah, I just was playing calmly and we was moving the ball and it was just easy. It came to me.

EW: I seen you had your own little section, how did it feel to have your own little section out there?

WC: I mean I’m all over. When I be here in Michigan, I’ma be all over the state. Flint, Saginaw, Kalamazoo, and Detroit so I got a lot of friends everywhere so out of everybody I had like 30 people come to this.

EW: I see that you were rocking the Nike’s tonight…What happened to the Pony’s? (side note: Chandler has his own line of sneakers with the Pony sneaker brand)

WC: They making me a new shoe actually. I’m waiting for them to send them to me so I’m just waiting on them to send me the shoe.

EW: Can you talk about your run to the state championship back at Benton Harbor in high school a little bit? Coming up in high school, how was that?

WC: It was fun to be from a smaller town like that and then make a lot of noise in the states so it definitely was fun. We was going against teams from like Flint, Saginaw and Detroit so they was all good teams and it definitely helped me to be where I’m at now.

EW: Who do you feel like was your toughest opponent?

WC: In high school?

EW: Yeah in high school…

WC: Man, my tenth grade year when Olu (Famutimi) was in high school. Olu was tough in high school. Olu was tough. (Anthony) Roberson, Chris Douglas-Roberts, and the list goes on and on. It was a lot of guards. Logan from (Kalamazoo) Loy Norrix, (Eric) Devendorf and the list goes on and on.

EW: Did you used to come to a lot of Pistons games when you were younger?

WC: Nah, I was more of a Chicago Bulls fan.

EW: So is it still somewhat sort of unreal that you’re now in a locker room playing professionally, even though you’ve been in the league a couple of years now?

WC: Yeah definitely because I’m still in the same spots and in the same places all the time and it just seems crazy sometimes.

*This post can also be viewed on at It’s Just Sports!