Derrick Byars, a swingman with the Bakersfield Jam in the NBDL, recently took time to do a Q&A session with The Capital Sports Report. His interview is about his sports career and views.
TCSR: who is your biggest role model outside of sports?
DB: “I would have to say my parents. They are the one’s who gave me life.”
TCSR: superstitions before games
DB: “I have to play a list of music that I listen to before every game. I have to listen to it in order to get me ready for the game.”
TCSR: how have sports impacted your life?
DB: “It has impacted my life in a lot of ways. I have been able to meet a lot of people, and if it wasn’t for sports, I wouldn’t be able to meet them. Besides networking, I have been able to travel the world, as well.”
TCSR: what has been the best thing that competitive sports has taught you
DB: “It has taught me persistence. It has taught me to stay with it and never give up.”
TCSR: what keeps you motivated in sports?
DB: “The naysayers. Throughout my life, people have doubted me.”
TCSR: why did you choose to attend Virginia?
DB: “I chose Virginia, because at the time, they were a Top 5 program. At the time, they were going to lose their wing players to the NBA, and academically, UVA is regarded as the No. 1 public school in the country. Academics was always a high priority for me.”
TCSR: playing for former Virginia head coach Pete Gillen
DB: “It was a challenge at first. I went in there and we had some ups and downs, but Pete always had a lot of confidence in my ability. He gave me the opportunity to play early as a freshman.”
TCSR: leaving Virginia and transferring to Vanderbilt
DB: “Well, I decided to leave, because I wanted to be closer to home. My family had some things that were going on at the time. And Vanderbilt didn’t have a scholarship to offer at first, and it was a last minute thing when it did open up (after Adam Payton decided to leave Vanderbilt for William & Mary). Vanderbilt plays in my home state and they play in an excellent conference, the SEC (Southeastern Conference.)”
TCSR: playing in the SEC
DB: “I think it’s the most physical conference in the nation. The only other conference that’s potentially as physical as the SEC is the Big East. The Big East is definitely up there with the SEC. Both leagues teach you how to play physical and to grind games out. You never get a night off, as the worst team in the league can beat the No. 1 team. Top to bottom, it’s a good conference.”
TCSR: being named the SEC Player of the Year in 2006-07
DB: “It was a tremendous individual honor for me. It wasn’t something that I set out to achieve, but it was something that I worked for by the time my season was over. It was a culmination of all the hard work that I had put down.”
TCSR: being drafted by the Portland Trail Blazers in the 2007 NBA draft
DB: “It was lower than what I expected to be drafted. But at the same time, it was such a blessing to be drafted. Only 60 players got their named called that night. It was a testament to my hard work throughout my life.”
TCSR: what he needs to do to make an NBA team after being released by the Philadelphia 76ers, Oklahoma City Thunder, and the Chicago Bulls
DB: “Well, I think everything. I don’t think its so much about basketball, because everybody knows what I can do at this point. I feel like my competitiveness can get me there. I have a great work ethic, and I think that will get be there.”
TCSR: playing overseas with the Koln 99ers, Chorale Roanne Basket, ALBA Berlin, and Panellinios B.C.
DB: “Personally, it wasn’t a pleasurable experience with the 99ers. Not much good came from that situation. However, playing for those other teams was a good experience. Besides my first experience with the 99ers, I would consider it a success playing overseas.”
TCSR: playing for the Bakersfield Jam
DB: “I felt like it was a good opportunity to stay relevant for a lack of a better word within the United States. I wanted everybody to see my improvement, as I’m still a young player. I want to show the scouts and GM’s how much I’ve improved my game since my first stint with the Jam a couple of years ago.”
TCSR: what would you like to do once you have to retire?
DB: “There’s several things that I’m interested in doing. I would be interested in doing some community efforts back home in Memphis. I would also be interested in politics, horticulture, acting – but I still have plenty of time to figure it out.”
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