May 20, 2009
Santa Clara freshman Troy Alexander was his own M.A.S.H. unit last season, suffering shoulder and wrist injuries and was sidelined for the year in early January. He played in 13 games, starting seven games and averaging 15.2 mpg. Alexander is working hard on his rehab and anxious to get back on the court.
Alexander, who senior Calvin Johnson describes as `cool because he's from Texas', is one of the biggest Dallas professional sports die-hards. Some would say he looks about 12 years old - below he talks about hearing about from the opposing fans on the road and a lot of other topics.
SCU: So, you are from Dallas. Are you a Cowboys fan?
TA: (as he pulls out a debit card with a Cowboys logo) I frequented the former University Chicken so I could watch the Cowboys every Sunday last fall - wearing my Romo jersey. There is always a small group of `fake' California Cowboy fans there as well - they bother me. They can't cheer for the Raiders or 49ers and so they jump on the best team in the league and say they've been fans for life.
SCU: Best Team? Cowboys? Any predictions on next year's team yet?
SCU: What's your nickname? Why?
TA: I've never had a nickname that stuck with me. Maybe T-Roy but that's about it. Maybe we could have a contest - people should email the SID email address nickname ideas and we could pick the best one for me. I'll even put it in the program next year. Email firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll look them over. Really. That would be a lot of fun. Please nothing regarding my injuries, misfortune or how I look like a 12-year-old. I will disregard any age or injury nicknames.
SCU: What sports did you play growing up?
TA: Everything: soccer, football, golf, obviously basketball. Anything but baseball.
SCU: What's your issue with baseball?
TA: (laughs) Not enough action and Texas summer days playing baseball isn't the most pleasant thing. Too hot!
SCU: What's your highest honor playing one of those sports? Have you ever scored a hat trick in soccer? A hole in one in golf?
TA: Believe it or not it's probably in baseball. I had an unassisted triple play I am ashamed to say. Technically I was playing second base (he was six or seven years old). I caught a fly ball. The kid on first base ran at me, I stood in the way and tagged him. Then all the sports-enthusiastic Dad's yelled at me to touch second base and I complied not knowing what I was doing and got the third out from a runner who didn't tag up. The parents had to explain to the umpire what had just happened.
SCU: So after that, as a six or seven year old, you just threw in the towel?
TA: I thought I would end my career on top. How many baseball players do you know that quit after an unassisted triple play!?
SCU: So you are rehabbing your hand and shoulder every week?
TA: I had been going up to San Francisco three times a week by train and taxi to rehab my wrist and shoulder. Both still need some work so I am going to see a hand specialist now in San Jose; and working on my shoulder. I am anxious to move forward because there are a lot of un-knowns and I am ready to get back on the court and work double-hard for all the time I've missed.
SCU: Because you can't go through individuals yet, what do you do with your time?
TA: First of all it's been tough not being able to go through individuals because I have been watching them. I have witnessed every player on our team make big steps in their game and improve tremendous amounts. This has made me work even harder in the weight room and in my rehab. And because of that, I've gained about 12 pounds of what I hope is muscle.
SCU: Because you are on the sidelines, who has impressed you in individuals or open gym?
TA: I have to give a shout-out to my roommate Marc Trasolini. He is expanding his game to the perimeter and has begun to step out consistently, knocking down threes and becoming a better ball-handler.
SCU: Did you pick the teams that made the Final Four?
TA: No (laughs). I picked Oklahoma, UCONN, Wake Forest and Duke. I was highly disappointed in Duke and Wake Forest's performances.
SCU: Are you watching the NBA Playoffs?
TA: Yes! I am painfully in the middle of the Mavericks-Nuggets series and it's like a bad movie that I know the ending to, but I am still watching it. Mark Cuban is at least making it entertaining for me. I am a huge Mavericks fan. I have a t-shirt I like to wear. It says `Nowitzness' and it's a play off of an old LeBron James' ad `Witness'. It's for Dirk Nowitzki.
My favorite player on the Mavs is a bit unknown. It's J.J. Barea. He went to Northeastern who we are playing in the Cable Car Classic next year. He's about 5'9 and just really fun to watch.
SCU: What's the funniest thing you heard someone yell at you during a game last year?
TA: (laughs a lot). Well, obviously I heard a lot of comments about how I look so young. As far as the funniest goes, I can remember on one occasion laughing out loud when an opposing fan yelled at me `Your babysitter is looking for you.' And the ever-so-popular `How's high school?' or some version of that.
They make me laugh. I never once took offense to it. I think it's funny as well.
SCU: Knowing what you have coming back on the team and what players the team has coming to Santa Clara next year, how excited are you for October 15 to get here?
TA: I am really excited. At that point I should be healthy again and in a position to help the team achieve our goals this next year. It's going to be an interesting situation with all the new talent we have coming in. With all them coming in addition to an already young, but talented group the sky is the limit for this group for the next couple years.
SCU: Have you thought about next year at all yet? What game are you looking most forward to?
TA: I am just looking forward to playing in any game again. Sitting out through all those games I realized how important and how great every game is no matter the opponent.
SCU: Marc's Dad follows the Broncos on Twitter and Phillip's Mom follows SCU and Phillip on Facebook. How do your parents follow the team? Are they hooked up with Facebook or Twitter?
TA: No they don't know either of them. Currently it's the old-fashioned way. By me talking to them on the phone, but hopefully when I get home this summer I can introduce them to these social media networks. That would ease the burden of my job of telling them what's going on with the team. Go Broncos.