Smith: Magloire worked to become an all-star

February 25, 2004|LARRY VAUGHT

LEXINGTON - Even when he was playing at the University of Kentucky, Jamaal Magloire believed he would eventually be an NBA all-star.

"It was always his goal to be in the league and be an all-star," said Kentucky coach Tubby Smith. "He's a guy who has had to work at it, but he made it happen. He just didn't come by it. He didn't have a great shooting touch. He has great hands, and always has, but he's also developed a nice jump shot in the lane."

Magloire is in his fourth year in the NBA. He was drafted by Charlotte after Smith had a few words of advice for then Charlotte coach Paul Silas, himself a former NBA all-star player.

"I remember telling him, 'Coach, he is a lot like you. He's a warrior on the boards, he's never going to back down. When he stakes out his turf, that's his turf,'" Smith said.


The Kentucky coach couldn't help laughing when he recently watched the all-star game. Magloire made the team for the first time and led the East team with 19 points and eight rebounds.

"When he stakes out his turf, he's going to say, 'My ball.' He was still saying the same thing in the all-star game. That's his motivation to do it," Smith said.

Magloire played on Kentucky's 1998 national championship team and even guaranteed that the Cats would win the national title before the tournament started. He also sometimes frustrated Smith with his aggressive on-court antics.

"Every year that we have had a good year, it has been because we have had someone like that as an enforcer on our team," Smith said. "That's what we lack this year."

Magloire talked to Smith about developing perimeter skills

Smith remembers having a talk with Magloire before his final season at UK. Magloire worried that Smith was not helping him develop the perimeter skills NBA scouts might want to see.

"I said, 'Jamal, if you can lead the league in rebounding and just average 10 to 12 points per game, you will be all-SEC and one of the top players picked in the draft. You defend the post like you do and be one of the best shot blockers in the league, and there will be a market for you,'" Smith said. "He is one of those guys who will do whatever you ask because he loves winning more than anything else."

Smith says players like Magloire, Tayshaun Prince and Keith Bogans deserve credit for the success they've enjoyed in the NBA. Prince recently played in the sophomore all-star game because of what he's done with Detroit, and Bogans has worked his way into the starting lineup for Orlando.

"They are the ones who did the work," Smith said. "I feel good for Kentucky. I know what it does. The visibility and the stamp that we know what we are doing and that we can develop players and have guys that come through here who have been productive.

"It's not like they just became stars. They had credentials and ability, but ability will not keep you there. That's hard for kids to understand. No one is going to make you go do something once you get to the next level. Your agent may set you up with a workout and you can get a guy that will train you because you are paying him, but Jamaal, Keith and Tayshaun learned that even when the season is over, you better still get in there and work."

Smith can tell Magloire has done that by the way he has developed a consistent outside shot even though he's still most effective when he's inside using his bulk to rebound and defend.

"He has developed a nice game facing the basket, but that's never going to be how he's going to make his living at that level," Smith said. "He might do it in an all-star game, but he won't do it often in games. He stays within the system because they've got other guys to shoot outside.

"But Jamaal is not going to quit striving and working because he believes he can do it all no matter where he is. He has that type of confidence in himself, but he also usually backs it up just like he did at the all-star game."

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