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More Than a Game
Coach Dru Joyce II
October 23, 2009
Interview by Michael Dequina



Coach Dru Joyce II

WARNING!
...spoilers ahead...

MD = Michael Dequina; DJ = Coach Dru Joyce II



MD: Were you always a fan of the game of basketball?

DJ: Growing up I played basketball. I didn't play basketball in high school. Ninth grade was still part of junior high when I grew up years and years ago. [laughs] When I was in junior high school, I got cut from the ninth grade basketball team. I wasn't great, but I was like, "Dang, they kept some guys..." [laughs] Anyway, long story short, then the next year I go to high school, and that coach [at the junior high] moved to the high school and became junior varsity coach. I didn't have someone there [at school] to encourage me, and my parents, especially my mother, weren't really into athletics; I didn't have anyone encouraging me to try. And I was the only one in my family who was playing basketball; in my extended family, all of my cousins, everyone--we all played football; football was the sport. So because of [the junior high coach] going there and no one encouraging me to try out again, I just didn't play any more basketball other than pick-up and intermurals when I got into college, and I played on a church league team while I was in high school. That was pretty much my basketball history.

MD: So you played a lot of football, then.

DJ: Yeah. That was the sport I grew up loving. I started at ten years old and played every year all the way through high school, and I went to college to play football. And honestly, I got to college and decided I wasn't going to play because it was a small Division III school. I didn't have to play, but it was one of those kind of things why I really stress to my sons now "Chase your dream; don't give up on it" because I wish I had played in college. It's one of those where you think back, "What if...?"

MD: And you went to Ohio University?

DJ: My first year I went to Ashland College; that's where I was going to play football. I was there for a year. I had come from a small town in Ohio, and Ashland was a little school, and it was just too much like high school and too much like being in the small town I grew up in, so I wanted to go someplace different. The next year I transferred to Ohio University. I think Ashland had 1500 students, and I think Ohio University had 15-17,000 students, so it was definitely much more to my liking as far as the college environment.

MD: What did you end up studying in college?

DJ: I studied business and economics. When I got out of school, I was the first person in my family to go to [college], so I really didn't know what to do. I went out and interviewed, just trying to find a job. At first I was trying to find a job in banking, and they kind of wanted guys who had a masters. So I got a job in consumer sales, and there were some things about it that I liked: they gave you a car; you worked out of your home; you kind of made your own day, and I really enjoyed that. With sales, there's a lot of reward in that you kind of know at the end of the day you sold something or you didn't, if it was a good day or a bad day. So I kind of always just responded to those kind of things as far as who I am as a person.

MD: While you were in the thick of your career in sales, was coaching something in the back of your mind that you also wanted to pursue?

DJ: Coming from the small town I came from, there were very few African-American role models, especially as professionals. When I was in high school, I had a coach--this was a young guy, just graduated from college. He coached football and track and was a teacher, and I liked who he was and the lifestyle he led. I know he helped me; we talked a lot about things outside of just sports. So I had that desire [to coach] going into college, and once I stopped playing, that desire kind of went away with my not playing because I was under kind of the assumption that you go to school, you play the sport, then you graduate, and then you become a coach because you've had that experience in college.

MD: Was your first coaching experience for youth basketball teams in the Amateur Athletic Union?

DJ: Actually, my first coaching esperience was when [son] Dru [Joyce III] was seven. In the city of Akron, the rec leagues start at eight years old. Tryouts are in November, and the season starts in December/January. Dru didn't turn eight until January 29th, but he was very skilled, and he wanted to play. We took him to a recreation center, and I was telling the coach, "Hey, he's really good, and he can play these kids who are a little bit older; trust me, I know he can." The guy said, "We've already kind of picked our teams out, but here's what we'll do: I'll let him play, but you got to coach the team, and what we're going to do is we'll take one player from each of the other teams [to form yours]." So I got my son, and then you can probably figure out who I got from all the other teams. [laughs] I got the worst player from every other team. So that was my very first experience with coaching. That rec season we played ten games; we won one and lost nine. [laughs] The next year I got a promotion at work, and Dru was eight, turning nine, and the [coach] whose team had been very good wanted him to come and play on his team. So I let Dru play with him, but whenever I could I would come to practice and do those things, but I was travelling more at that point. It was a time in my company when I was getting some recognition; we were doing a lot of focus groups; we were changing the sales force; and it seemed like I was being picked for every focus group. So that next year I was doing a lot of flying back and forth to our corporate headquarters in California or to meetings in New York or somewhere. And then going into that next year, now Dru is in fourth grade, he's nine turning ten, he's playing rec. I'm still not coaching; I'm just kind of helping out, and he goes and he gets on this rec team. A guy comes into the rec center and he's scouting the kids. He really looked out of place because the rec center we were at is in an African-American community, and there's this young white guy sitting in the stands taking notes. After Dru played his game, he came up to me and said, "Hey, I really like how your son plays; I have a fifth grade travel team that I'm putting together, and maybe he can come and try out." Dru tries out as a fourth grader, and he makes the team. Dru had played against LeBron [James] that rec season, and I knew about LeBron because I knew the coach of his team really well. That's when I went to Frankie Walker and asked him to put me in touch with LeBron and LeBron's mother. So I asked LeBron to come and be a part of that team at the end of their fourth grade year. The nature of travel basketball was that all the parents pitched in and put all of our money together to get into tournaments, and a couple of parents left, honestly, because this coach didn't want to take the team to a national championship called the YBOA, which I didn't know anything about. It was in Florida, and the coach was like, "We don't have the money to do that." And so a couple of families who wanted their sons to experience that left our team. We just didn't have enough players, so the team kind of fell apart after a few practices. Then that next fall, I get a phone call from some of the parents. Again, the majority of these kids on this team are in sixth grade, Dru and LeBron are in fifth grade, and they called me and asked me, "You were at practice most of the time, why don't you come and coach the team?" At this point, I was still traveling, but all my travel now with my work was local; I was just calling on all the major accounts in Northeast Ohio. The focus group stuff was all done; that was in the past now, so I was still traveling, but it was no overnights. Pretty much I could be back in the evenings and coach this travel team.

MD: So now you had more time to devote to this coaching "side gig."

DJ: Yeah, exactly. I was still playing pick-up basketball, and every Saturday morning, the guys from my church would get together. So I had a feel for the game; I enjoyed watching it. But when I started coaching, I just felt like, "Wow, I want Dru to learn this thing and learn it right." So I did two things. One, I started reading some books. Then there was a guy who also went to my church who was a high school basketball coach, and I remember I asked him, "Hey, Dru really likes this game, and he's doing well; what should I do?" He said, "Put him in the camps, and you'll see what I'm talking about." So any camp that came around, I would put Dru in the camp, and if I could sit through the camp, I'd sit through it and try to pick up anything I could pick up. But that's kind of how we got started---him playing and me coaching.

MD: So as far as the core group of four goes, LeBron joined Dru first?

DJ: LeBron was there in fifth grade, and at about December of their fifth grade year we started practicing [as a team]. It was LeBron, Sian [Cotton], and Dru who were fifth graders, and then the rest of the team were sixth graders. I put those three fifth graders with the sixth graders that we had from the prior year, and in January/February/March we started playing some travel tournaments around the area.

MD: And Willie [McGee] came in later, moving to Akron from Chicago?

DJ: Willie had already moved from Chicago by then; he was living with his brother. Actually--this is how small Akron is--when Willie was nine years old, Dru's team played LeBron's team in the rec league championship game, and Willie was on LeBron's team, on that championship team.

MD: When did you start getting some formal school coaching jobs? You were on staff at Buchtel High School before the four went to high school?

DJ: The team was doing really well. They were in sixth grade, and there was a gentleman who was helping sponsor the team--that's where we got the name Shooting Stars--his name was Chris Marciniak, and he would do basketball camps around the area. At the 11-and-under [age bracket] I started coaching the travel team, and he helped us that first year. He bought us uniforms and did some things for us, so I was helping him from that point forward. Whenever he did a clinic, which was usually on Saturdays, I would go be one of the coaches in the clinic, and I would take Dru. There was a tournament when the guys were in sixth grade, and he said, "Hey, I got a couple of seventh graders I want to add to your team." And he added the grandson of a gentleman whose name was Sam Salem, who was a noteworthy person in Akron. In the '30s and '40s he was a great player at the University of Akron. This was his grandson who I was coaching on this seventh grade team for this tournament. Sam Salem knew Harvey Sims, who was the head coach at Buchtel High School, and Buchtel was the reigning city series champ. They had great players, great athletes, and he told Harvey about me as a coach. So the summer before [the guys] were going into seventh grade, Harvey invites me to come over to the school, bring my kids, and go to his basketball camp at Buchtel High School, which was walking distance from my house, no more than four or five or six blocks from where we grew up. So that sixth to seventh grade year, I keep that relationship with Harvey. The eighth grade, the plan is we're going to go to Buchtel High School [the next year]. The kids and I had all talked about it because they wanted to go to school together, and Buchtel was the obvious choice. It was kind of known that our intentions were to bring those kids to Buchtel High School, so Harvey asked me to come on and join the staff at Buchtel. All the guys were in eighth grade, so I'm on the staff while they were in eighth grade. Before the preseason in Ohio you have a lot of open gyms, so I started bringing Dru to the open gyms. Dru just never got a real good feel for [Buchtel]. He just felt like that they thought he was too little, and they wouldn't give him a fair shot. And I remember the third game into the season, he comes to me and says, "Dad, you know what, I've thought about this--I'm not going to Buchtel High School. I want to go to St. V." He said, "At St. Vincent-St. Mary, Coach [Keith] Dambrot, he's not going to look at my size; he's going to give me a chance to play." And I said, "Dru, everything's in place; what do you mean? I'm on the staff; we've got all this stuff going for us. Why would you want to do this?" He said, "Dad, I can see how they look at me." And he was right--especially the other assistant coach; he kind of looked at him like, "He's too little. He's never going to play. He's never going to be anything." I kind of saw it, but I felt like Dru was good enough, and he was going to show you. But Dru just felt like they were not even going to give him a chance to show them.

MD: How did your and Dru's relationship with Coach Keith Dambrot come about?

DJ: [Dru] had started this relationship with Coach Dambrot when he was in seventh grade. I used to take him on Sunday nights to the Jewish community center where Coach Dambrot was doing a clinic, so Keith and Dru really developed a relationship. He was out of basketball at this time, and he just wanted to stay close to the game because he just loves basketball. And then that year, Keith Dambrot was named the head coach of St. Vincent-St. Mary High School; while they were in eighth grade, he was the first year coach at St. V. I think Harvey Sims, the coach at Buchtel, made his mistake. I went to Harvey, "I'm going to get off of your [coaching] bench because I can't deliver the players that I said that I was going to bring. I can't even deliver my son." And he said, "What's the problem?" I said, "Well, Dru feels like you guys aren't giving him a chance." And Harvey just says, "Oh no, you stay on the bench; don't worry, the season's young. It'll be all right; I'll talk to him." But Harvey really never did until it was too late. Harvey decided that he was going to go after LeBron. I'm on the bench, and the guys would always come around to all of our games, and after every game Harvey would corner LeBron, and he would always be in his ear trying to convince him to come to Buchtel. But the guys were not committal at all. Then finally Harvey realized that Dru wasn't coming and he had maybe more clout [with LeBron]. It's so funny. My son was going to a church school, Arlington Christian Academy, and Harvey was a member of that church, so Harvey knew the people at the school. Sian and Dru were both going to Arlington Christian Academy, and Harvey actually pulled them both out of class, Dru first, and said, "Hey, I want you to come to Buchtel," and Dru said, "I've made up my mind; I'm not coming. I'm going to St. V." And to this day, Dru says, "Dad, I don't know where the words came from; I just blurted it out." [laughs] And that kind of ended it. The other thing in St. V.'s favor is that Sian has an older brother, L.C. L.C. was at Buchtel High School, and L.C. was playing on the J.V. team for this same coach that was looking at Dru with a lot of disdain. He wasn't a bad person, this coach; I don't want you to think that. But he just had an opinion about guys that honestly wasn't very good, and he did not like L.C. He used to holler at L.C. in the games and would just really tear him down. Sian saw that, and Sian got fed up with it. Sian said, "I'm tired of you treating my brother like this; I'm going to St. V. too." And when Dru and Sian said they were going to St. V., I knew that LeBron was coming too.

MD: And then you ended up getting a coaching staff position at St. V. under Coach Dambrot.

DJ: Yeah. Keith and I had a relationship. He was one of those guys who was very knowledgable about basketball. We were trying to be the best team that we could be, so I was bending his ear trying to find out everything he knew about basketball. So we had built this relationship, and when Keith got the job and the kids were coming [to St. V.], he asked myself and Coach Cotton to be part of his staff as volunteers. So we said yes.

MD: How was it like working under Coach Dambrot, as he has a bit of a reputation for being a bit fiery, to put it mildly.

DJ: It was different because of his fiery nature. But the bottom line is he loves basketball, and he cared about the kids. Sometimes he doesn't come across that way, and maybe in the movie he might be depicted a little less caring than he really is. We have different styles to some degree; I can get excited when I need to. [laughs] But it was great for me because I learned. I learned a whole lot those two years under Keith Dambrot because he was teaching the kids what he had taught as a Division I college coach at Central Michigan and all those years as an assistant coach in Division I. So what the kids were learning I was learning right with them; he helped them, and he helped me. Most of what we do today at St. Vincent-St. Mary we haven't changed a whole lot [from Dambrot's system]. I'm better at it, but we haven't changed a whole lot because it's just great basketball. The one thing college coaches say to me about all of our kids that go on to play in college is that our guys are prepared; they're ready to play. They have a better understanding of how the game is played.

MD: And you had your misgivings about taking over as head coach when Coach Dambrot left.

DJ: Yeah. Like I said in the movie, I didn't want to mess it up. [The team] had two state championships; they had a chance to win four in a row, and no one's ever done that in the state of Ohio. The big thing was Keith and I had put the schedule together for that junior season, and we kind of laughed about it. This was before he accepted the job at the University of Akron. We were laughing about it; he said, "We might be the first team to go 10 and 10 in the regular season and win a state championship" because we had all these high-ranked teams from all over the country coming in to the University of Akron to play us, and the schedule the first two years was nothing compared to what it was that junior year. So I recognized all that. And then the other thing is that the numbers at the school had grown, and we were going up from Division III, which is smaller schools, to Division II, which is the second largest division in the state of Ohio, so that was going to be a much tougher tournament path than we had had too. So naturally I was a little hesitant. I didn't want to mess it up. I knew at some point that I was going to become a high school head coach. I just didn't think it was then; I was thinking it would be later on. And like I said in the movie, my wife said to me, "Dru, how could you say no? This is God honoring all that you've done for those boys." And it was kind of what I needed to hear. I realized that in that moment that it was about the opportunity to be involved with my son and the guys who I had been involved with since they were 10 years old--and these other kids. One thing that the story doesn't really tell about our [youth basketball travel team] organization that we started is by the time that those guys were in ninth grade, we had five teams up under those guys. And when I was there in junior year of high school, some of those other kids from those younger teams that were part of our travel organization, now they were at St. V. also. There were like eight or nine kids on the team that we had known since they were like little kids. It was an opportunity, so I ran with it.

MD: And at this point you had only two years of official school coaching staff experience, correct?

DJ: No, I had stayed on the staff at Buchtel [during the guys' eighth grade year], but at about midseason, when those guys' coaches really recognized that Dru probably was coming to St. V., I probably shouldn't have stayed at Buchtel. I was there, but they didn't hear anything I had to say from that point forward. I was kind of a necessary evil. [laughs] Today I wish I had probably stuck to my original desire and just left the team. But I had three years of experience.

MD: It was already an unusual situation to jump into as a first-time head coach with the tough schedule, and then on top of it there was the unforeseen thing, which was LeBron's Sports Illustrated cover.

DJ: Oh my goodness, yes. [laughs] You know, I was happy for LeBron, and I'm very happy for him now because I saw the kid grow, and I know how hard he worked. It just took us to a level where I had no clue of what to do. I mean, who do you ask? That was tough, honestly, not knowing what to do, where to go, how to handle it. So I did what I thought was best and tried to manage it, but it was kind of overwhelming.

MD: That must've compounded the pressure on you more than it did on the players, especially being fairly green as a coach.

DJ: No--very green. [laughs] I tell people all the time most first-year coaches make all their mistakes in anonymity, in a small gym with a hundred people there. I made all my mistakes in front of TV cameras. I was very green, and I understand that, and I had recognized that there was a lot of pressure. But I knew we had a great team, and from the very beginning, you could see it. That same year, their junior year, LeBron, Romeo [Travis], and Sian were all playing football. They went to the final four in the state football championships. They played the final four game on a Friday night and lost, and that Sunday was our first game of their junior season. We're playing a team that we brought in from out of the area, and we had won by 25 with those guys having maybe one day of practice. Now, I didn't tell their football coach about this, but they were sneaking to open gyms; they were still playing some basketball because that's just who they were. The [football] coach at that time, he wouldn't have had a problem with it, but we just never officially declared that they could come to my open gyms. But they had missed three weeks of practice because they were at football, and to open up the season against a team that good and we win? So we had a very good team.

MD: Where did you think you fell short as a coach that season?

DJ: Where I fell short was in reining in their emotions. In that championship game, it was getting kind of out of hand; there was a lot of pressure on the kids to win, but the thing was just growing so fast that I didn't understand totally how to rein it in. We would have 15 to 20 people just hanging around at practice. Media everywhere. I didn't understand in hindsight that I should've closed practices that year; had I closed practices that year, maybe the outcome would've been different. I just think my shortcoming was I didn't keep the guys focused. We did lose some games; we lost to Oak Hill with Carmelo Anthony by 6, and then we lost to Amityville, which was a nationally ranked team. We lost to them by one on a last point shot, and then we had lost to another team in Pennsylvania; they just beat us up physically. We're 23 and 3 going into the state final game, and there was just some arrogance; the guys allowed their success to go to their heads. And there was some stuff going on the night before the championship game; [I'm] not making an excuse, but the truth is I was in bed sick with the flu. They don't talk about in the movie, but we had a new athletic director, and in his wisdom put the cheerleaders and the players on the same floor in the hotel. We used to never even stay in the same hotel! This is one of those things, growing up, not understanding--I didn't go in and say, "Where are you putting the cheerleaders?' I do that all the time now; I make sure. [laughs] But they put them in the same hotel on the same floor, so it was just chaos, and I'm in bed sick; I still to this day don't know where my assistant coaches were. So we wake up in the morning, and LeBron's got back spasms. We took him to Ohio State, and they gave him those electric shocks to ease the muscles, but by game time the spasms had come back, so I had to make a decision. Do I try to let him play and hope that he can work through them, or do I sit him, and just try to stretch him and keep him warm and see if I can bring him in later in the game? I chose to play him, and early on, for about the first two quarters, he didn't play well at all, and we made some mistakes early. But they were a very good team. This is to take nothing away from Roger Bacon; they won the game. I'm not using this as an excuse; I'm just giving you some background information about that game, some of the things that were happening behind the scenes that people just don't know about. Some of them we could've controlled better, definitely. We gave them enough locker room material that they came out ready. It's so funny they have in the movie where LeBron guarantees the victory. [laughs] His youthful exuberance, and that happened the day before, after the semifinal game, and he went up there and said some things that now he probably would never say again. Those were some of the things that were going on.

MD: You guys had been fortunate to have a winning season under that pressure, but it seemed that all that had been boiling underneath finally exploded at the least convenient moment for you guys.

DJ: But, honestly, it was best that it happened the way that it did because it refocused the guys, it refocused me to an extent. Like I said in the movie, I was really caught up in the pressure of winning and losing. We had a motto years ago when we first started years ago with the basketball, and it was, "If you teach them how to play, the winning would take care of itself." Then the other thing we always had wanted to stress--we wanted to use basketball to teach life skills. And I felt like I kind of lost that in that season; I wasn't helping them grow into adulthood. That loss helped me refocus; the loss made those guys refocus, and that's why we had the success we did that senior year. I was just refocusing on why I believe God put me in the position. When you consider the team that we had, and that there were other coaches who had much more coaching experience than I did who were interviewing for that job, and I got that job, God places you there for a reason. I believed it in my heart because I knew them, because I knew they would play hard for me, but more than that, I knew I had to help them to become men. That's what we always talked about--we want you guys to use basketball to help you become productive members of society. The sport can't make you that, but we believed that you can use this sport to help get you there. We wanted to refocus on those things which were core values. I'm always reading, and there was a Christian coach somewhere in a Division II school in Oregon, and he had these seven principles that we've adopted and really stressed from that point forward: unity, discipline, thankfulness, servanthood, passion, integrity, and humility.

MD: And so in that senior year, in refocusing trying to become what you always wanted in a coach when you were playing in school and didn't necessarily get.

DJ: Exactly. And something that I did get from that one [football] coach for that short time that he coached me I did get from him--he helped me with certain life decisions that I made. I always talk about in life, sometimes more is caught than taught. Sometimes people see what you're doing and it has an impact on them much greater than you saying something to them. He had an impact on me in just how he carried himself; he's a professional, and I wanted to be all those things for the guys that I coach and have coached and continue to coach.

MD: When did Kris Belman approach you to start filming the team, and how did that arrangement come about?

DJ: It was senior year, and we were getting ready to go into the season. I think it was early December because I think Kris was coming home for Christmas break, actually. He had contacted the school and got in touch with Patty Burdon, who was the public relations person, and Patty brought him to me. She told me "Dru, this is Kris Belman, he's from Akron. He went to a rival high school--Walsh High School, which is one our biggest rivals--but he's in school in California, and he has this class project he wants to do, and he wants to use you guys in a short documentary film for a class assignment." And basically, by this time, I was awake. [laughs] We had closed everything off to the media, so there was no one allowed at practices. No parents were allowed in practice. No one. So when Kris came, the fact that I let him in, the guys were kind of saying, "Coach Dru, I thought we had closed practices." But he was from Akron; he wanted to do something I thought was very innocent; he had no ulterior motives. So I felt like, "Hey, I'm going to give him a shot. It's only going to be a few days, a couple of practices and a game, maybe. Then he can do his documentary." That's how I presented it to the kids, but Kris just kept on coming back. [laughs] He was good about it because to this day I don't remember him ever being in the way. I don't remember ever having to say, "You know what? Get that camera out of here!" I never said that. If he didn't have the film to show that he was there, other than me knowing, there's no other telltale fact that he was there. He was that good staying out of the way, and then once the guys warmed up to him--once they let you in, those guys let you in, you're good. And they let him in.

MD: Were you there at the Toronto Film Festival premiere last fall?

DJ: Yes, I was. That was so exciting. That first time seeing it, I cried like a baby. And to see the audience's reaction--they cheered when Dru made the seven threes; they cheered; they laughed; they cried. It was very humbling in that none of this was ever meant. This wasn't a plan. We didn't come out and plan, "Hey, let's have a camera guy follow us around; let's do this documentary; let's record this"--none of that. There was no plan; we were just living our lives. And to see something that started so humbly as me just being a dad who wanted to help his son achieve a dream of playing Division I college basketball to end up in movie theatres--it was just phenomenal. That first time in Toronto is a special moment that I'll never forget.

MD: Was anything new about the players that you found out through the film in a way?

DJ: Sian being a ballerina. [laughs] I had heard he went to dance, but I never saw the pictures. [laughs] I guess some of the stuff [Kris] caught. I'm like, "Dang, you were there for that?" [laughs] I had to ask Kris, "Did you ever go to school that year? Or did you just drop out or what? How did you do this?" [laughs] There were so many insignificant moments that he caught that I'm like, "How did you catch that? I don't even remember you being around for that, for that game, or traveling to that game." That players meeting at the beginning--I'm like, "Dang, how did you get that?" So those are just things that I didn't understand that he was there for.

MD: Was it surprising that you end up becoming the unifying figure to the piece?

DJ: [laughs] It's not been put to me that way; people have said different things about my role. Those are kind words if that's what you believe.. I just know that I definitely had a role. I recognize that it's a sacred position that you're given as a coach. And every day I recognize it even more, that the impact that you can have on young lives is phenomenal. You need to honor and respect it, and to see that I've had that impact, you just have to be very thankful that you were given the opportunity because it's nothing really about me. I didn't have a great coaching résumé. I've worked with kids; I've always been in the youth ministry at our church; but there was nothing that said that this should've been for me, that opportunity. But I was given it, and I'm just thankful for it.

MD: What do you hope viewers take away from the film?

DJ: Dreams come true--not just [for] kids--in life if you're willing to take a risk. They kind of got it a little misconstrued in the film. I didn't actually leave my job until 2004 to do basketball, and I've been on a faith walk since that day. I understand I got a buyout, and I understand what those savings are for because we lived on that until we found a way to make a life. Every morning now, I get up and I'm excited about the day. When I got into the consumer sales force when I came out of college, I was excited. It was exciting times. But over the years the job had changed; it wasn't as rewarding; and my heart was no longer in it. I realized my dream at 48, 49 years old, and that doesn't happen a whole lot in life. And Kris realized his dream to make a movie. Keith Dambrot realized his dream to get back into college basketball. So [the film is] just about dreams, and if you hold onto them, and you work at them, that they can come true. It's also about friendship. When you've got friends who value you, that can mean the world in your development. I think those guys valued each other and held each other up, and it's meant great things for all of them. So those are the main things. And you've got to recognize the struggle in life too, that everything isn't going to go your way. You got to be resilient; you got to hold on to the dream because it's so easy in today's society to kind of give up on what your dream is. Your family might be telling you, "You'll never do that; don't do that; you don't make no money doing that." There's so much discouragement that you got to stay focused.


More Interviews:
Willie McGee
Sian Cotton
Dru Joyce III
Romeo Travis
Kristopher Belman & Brian Joe
Harvey Mason Jr.

St. Vincent-St. Mary High School

Special thanks to Dru Joyce II



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