Rex Chapman Discusses The NBA In Charlotte & NCAA Tournament

by Nick Byerly
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(Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)

(Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)

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Rex Chapman joined ” The Drive” with Marc James and discussed college basketball and his former school Kentucky.

Gave us his thoughts on the NBA and how it was play as a former Charlotte Hornet.

Rex Chapman talked about Kentucky and how they have surprised him and how they busted his bracket. ” I didn’t pickem’ I felt like Wichita State would get them…..they are playing better. I don’t know what to make of them.” John Calipari has done things in the past with a freshman team, but it is not an easy thing to accomplish. “It’s very rare with that team a couple years ago……have two kids that play the game with that much integrity. You forget you had a junior in Terrence Jones……you had a unique balance of youth and veterans, this team is all youth.” With them playing Louisville the entire state will be trapped by the game.

Basketball was left in a crazy state, Charlotte was the place to be in town. When I joined the NBA it was different.  “At that time there were no other pro franchises in the area, Charlotte was the only show in town.” The fan bases are divided in the state with all the great college basketball, but everyone was a Charlotte Hornets fan. Michael Jordan has done things to bring the brand back, but there are many things left to do in the community. “I believe they are doing everything they can do to generate interest again….but it boils down to winning.” I believe they are on the right path and it is one step at a time. “Its a traditional market, if you have good guys there who are going to play hard every night and compete…..I think you’ll bring back that magic.”

Looking at that draft I still like the decision. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is still very young and he’s not going to be a guy to score twenty points a game. He is a scrappy player and plays hard. “I’m not ready to give up on Michael….he’s a glue guy, when they have scorers he’s going to be a fourth or fifth option.” Talent evaluation is key when you are looking at guys and growing your franchise. “Players are life blood of the franchise and you have to make wise choices.”

Even is loses we would get standing ovations. The fans in Charlotte just wanted an NBA team. They supported us no matter what and the guys just played hard every night. “It was an event, the fans where just happy to have an NBA team….people knew we weren’t going to win many games and the fact we won 19 or 20 games those  first few years, people didn’t think we were going to win 10.” Miami came into the league the same time as we did, so we really watched those guys. ” We didn’t won’t to dip below those guys….it was packed every single night. The tickets were like gold.”

Rex got to talk with Marc James about the New NBA commissioner changing the rule and getting rid of the one and done in college basketball. “I think it’s a step in the right direction, I hate this rule…its awful, it really has robbed the college game of it’s best players. The product right now…’s a step down or two steps down, the quality of  the game is just not good right now.” You see teams make mistakes that just haven’t done that in the past. You have got great players still learning the game and then they are gone. “…need to keep these kids in school a little longer.”

As a former executive in the NBA with the Denver Nuggets, Rex knows Carmelo Anthony and how to structure a team. “I like Carmelo…..he’s a good guy.” He truly does have great basketball talent. “He scores the ball easier than anybody walking the planet….he’s got all the offensive tools in the world. The next time Carmelo takes a charge in a game it will be the first time.”  He can do everything, he has the skills to defend, but its choosing to defend.  As a teammate it makes it tough to trust him on the court.

Now I’m just focusing on college basketball right now and writing down my thoughts. I have fun interacting with fans and talking about basketball. “I love both of these schools, I grew up a Louisville fan…..I picked Kentucky and made a great decision, I bleed blue……I hate they are playing each other right now.” Its a bad match up for Louisville, the size Kentucky has is strong compared to Louisville. “…with all that said I sticking with Florida.”

Thanks to Rex Chapman for joining “The Drive” with Marc James. To listen to the entire interview just click on the audio file at the top.













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