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New Mexico Fan Talks JR Giddens

Hat tip for Master PO for pointing out this article to me.

You can read scouting reports till you are blue in the face, but sometimes you just don't know what to make of a guy out of college till you talk to someone who followed that player's team through his tenure on the squad.  In particular when the guy comes with character question marks.  Here's a New Mexico fan summing up the career of JR Giddens on

JR came to New Mexico via Kansas under former Lobo coach Ritchie Mckay. The first thing you noticed about JR was that he is a great talent with a basketball; however, JR was still a young kid and had some maturing to do. The first time I spoke with JR was memorable, as with a smile on his face JR showed that he was brash, cocky, and a very exciting basketball player. Like I said there was that maturing thing.

JR’s first year playing at UNM he showed flashes of basketball brilliance on the court. However, most people remember that year as one that UNM [didn't] win many games, and with JR spending as much time in McKay’s doghouse as he did on the court. Toss in a few suspensions, things shown on the Lobo Coaches show at the time that bordered on reality TV, and the losing many people didn’t care for the brashness and cockiness that was displayed by JR Giddens.

Exit McKay… Enter current Lobo Coach Steve Alford and his assistant Craig Neal. Exit the coddling of the superstar and enter expectations and consequences, and as thing turned out… exit JR the kid, enter Mr. JR Giddens.

At the time JR was hesitant, he like most Lobo fans didn’t know what to expect and more importantly how he stood. Here is a guy that was being told he was a lottery pick by his former coach, and enter a pair of guys that played in the NBA, and know what it takes to get there… Also enter a pair of guys that heard all the stories about JR’s previous seasons at both Kansas and New Mexico…

To JR’s credit he grew up and quickly, he became a better teammate, a better person, and an even better basketball player. Coach Alford and Coach Neal took JR under their wing so to speak and JR became "coachable" he started listening instead of just talking, and the whole time the Lobos were winning games and JR kept getting better.

Personally I'm happy that thousands of people were not watching me grow up as a 19 year old in college.  I don't think I would have come across quite so polished as I would have liked.  So I'm willing to give a kid a little slack.  Shoot, it took half of Paul Pierce's career to truely mature to the point of being the "best player in the world." 

There will always be that shaddow of doubt around JR's character, and the first time anything happens to him, his college days will be brought up, but he's a Boston Celtic now and I'm pulling for him all the way.

For an even more detailed review of JR's past, including getting stabbed in a bar fight while at Kansas, see this article on Draft Express.  It seems like the kid has grown up quite a bit.

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