Being a guard in streetball is very different than being a guard in a regular basketball game. Not only are guards expected to handle, distribute, and score the ball, but they are also expected to entertain keeping the crowd on the edge of their seats. Unlike regular basketball, streetball guards aren’t distinguished by point guard or shooting guard. They are usually differentiated as ball handlers and entertainers.
Ball handlers do what their title says: handle the rock. They get the crowd going with their spectacular moves making the defenders look foolish. From breaking opponents’ ankles with a couple of vicious crossovers or just toying with them showing off their yo-yo like abilities with the basketball, ball handlers keep the crowd in anticipation to see what they’ll do next. The Ball Up squad’s three main ball handlers-- Bone Collector, Professor and Pat The Roc-- have been doing their thing for a while now and still looking as strong as they first started. With the handle that Bone Collector has, it’s tough to stay in front of him without looking dumb. It doesn’t help when he’s known for having one of the dirtiest hesitation crossovers that it makes it almost impossible to stop him. Professor also has an array of moves that not only keeps the defender but the crowd guessing what’s going to happen next. From his explosive spin moves to the quickest stepbacks, he never lets the defender rest. Pat The Roc brings a unique set of handles doing moves that many have never seen before, and he makes it look so easy. It’s hard to even describe on paper what he does from the kick pass lobs to the off the elbow fakes. With these three and their skill sets, the crowd stays excited throughout the game.
Here’s what Bone Collector, Pat the Roc, and Professor had to say when we interviewed them.
Ball is Life: Describe your skill set. Do you have a go-to move to break someone down?
Bone Collector: My go-to move to break down a defender is my hesitation move.
Pat The Roc: Well rounded player. Pass, score, and handle with the best. Go-to move to get the crowd on their feet is the crazy legs.
Professor: My skill set is diverse, I do everything very good, what's exceptional is my mid range game and my handles. I don't have one go-to move; I have about 3 or 4...my spin move, hesitation, look away and baseline behind the back.
BIL: How did you develop your ball handling skills? Did you watch others or learn the moves by yourself?
BC: I developed my ball handling skills as a young child from my father. He taught me at the age of 7 how to dribble the ball. In the beginning I watched my father dribble the ball, and I tried to imitate the moves that he did.
PTR: Practice, practice, practice. It's about looking at those who did it before you, and molding it into your own flavor.
Professor: Practice, practice, practice for hours on end. It has to be a lifestyle to be great. Repetition is always key. You have to make your moves second nature. Absolutely, a lot of my moves came from my teammates and I put my own flavor in to them or remix them. I look at it like it's ok to take someone's move and incorporate it into your game as long as you do it just as good or better than them.
BIL: Do you feel like there are still moves out there to learn? Any new ones we haven’t seen yet?
BC: There are always moves to learn and ways to improve my ball handling and overall game. Yes, there are new moves that I have that haven't been seen yet; I am always working on new ways to improve as a player.
PTR: Oh yeah! It's 2012; by 2013 I'll have another 100 moves never seen before.
Professor: Absolutely...there’s always more moves to learn. And yes (to new moves)...but it can't be spoken upon.
BIL: What’s your favorite part of breaking someone down?
BC: The best part of breaking someone off (pause) is the crowd's reaction to the move and seeing the defender's face once they have become another victim to the Collector.
PTR: Knowing the defender is helpless. Knowing I can score at will and in the process hurt their feelings!
Professor: The crowd reaction, no question.
BIL: How different is it being a guard in streetball compared to regular games?
BC: In a regular game you are running the show and your team; in streetball you are trying to break down your defender one-on-one and entertain the crowd.
PTR: Either situation, you have to dominate. Run your team and be a problem no one has the answer to!
Professor: The game is played very different but the same principles apply. A lot of times it's easier with Ball Up because there are 2 and sometimes 3 point guards on the floor at once.
BIL: Do you have to change your game when playing in streetball games where entertainment is emphasized?
BC: In streetball games where entertainment is emphasized you have to please the crowd, but at the same time you have to still be a well rounded basketball player and be able to adjust to your defender and competition.
PTR: Nope. Either way I'm going to be flashy but legal. 99.9% of my moves you can do in a real game. It's just the point of having enough guts to do it in any situation.
Professor: Well, I always keep it entertaining regardless, but when it's a Streetball game it becomes a duty and not just something you do. You have to give the crowd their money's worth.
Streetball fans across the world know what Bone Collector, Pat the Roc, and Professor are capable of, but no one ever knows what’s going to happen next when they have the ball in their hands. When those three are on the court at the same time, you can’t help but feel bad for the defense.
The Ball Up Team will be in Houston this weekend on Saturday at Delmar Fieldhouse. On Saturday at 12 pm, they'll be having open runs at Delmar Fieldhouse for the public giving anyone the chance to win an exclusive contract with Ball Up. Go check it out if you're in Houston! Here's the Ball Up Facebook page and their schedule, and you can get tickets by clicking on the schedule. For all the latest Ball Up highlights and news, you can check it out here at Ballislife.