Mental toughness is what is needed to make it to the pros; not just ability

Marcus Hubbard could be in the league if he changed his attitude just a little

Marcus Hubbard could be in the league if he changed his attitude just a little

By Gregory Moore

Last week while putting a little ching a ling into the economy by purchasing a car, I was talking to a young man who played in the NBDL last season and we got to talking about what it took to be in the NBA.

“I’m going to be in the NBA, you can believe that,” Marcus Hubbard boastfully proclaimed several times.

“I don’t doubt that but is about ability or attitude in getting in the league?” I asked. “And what makes you so special to be one of 300 players to get in and stick?”

“Because I am better than a lot of them,” Hubbard proclaimed.

Now that’s debatable because if it is one thing that I’m pretty good at it is actually sizing up whether a guy has potential in the NBA or not.

I’m not talking about scouting talent; I’m talking about mental talent and that is something very few people pay attention to these days.

What I decided to do was to find out just who Marcus Hubbard was and so I pulled up his NBDL player profile.

At 6’9″ and 230 pounds, Hubbard would be considered a big two guard or a small forward. But I wanted to check his stats line too and that is where I started seeing chinks in that armor. First off Hubbard is playing as a center; not a swing man and that is going to hurt him in trying to make into the big show.

Hubbard isn’t big enough or strong enough to play the low post in the NBA; not when you got guys like Dwight Howard, Kevin Garnett and Kenyon Martin looming around.

Secondly Hubbard’s stats shows a player who is not very dominant at his position.

A dominant player is one who is at least a double, double guy every night.

Like a Dwight Howard.

Like a Tim Duncan.

Like a Kevin Garnett.

Hubbard ain’t that type of player.

But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have talent because he does.

Anyone coming from Angelo State and playing in the D League has some talent.

But what he also has is attitude and a cockiness that knows no bounds.

“Don’t get me wrong,” Hubbard told me. “I’m hearing what you saying but I’m going to make my dream come true.”

I told Hubbard that I’ve heard that speech thousands of times but that doesn’t mean you going to make in the league.

Statements like you’re better than Devin Brown or that LeBron James was overhyped when he got in the league shows an immaturity that has probably kept general managers from calling him.

Ironically there are hundreds of players with that same attitude because they think they are owed something; which they aren’t.

And when presented with the idea of going overseas, Hubbard scoffed at the idea.

More immaturity because with a toddler now, the dream of the NBA should be on the back burner; being the primary provider should be paramount and with the NBA getting ready to face a money crunch, playing overseas could be an economic boost that Hubbard and others need.

But that’s not Hubbard’s desire and neither is it with many players who are on the outside looking in on an NBA shot.

The question that guys like Hubbard should be asking themselves is what does it take to crack that NBA egg and possibly become a pretty good player.

Ironically I’ve asked him that several times and I never got that answer and after talking with several NBA scouts and people who know him as a player; they have all said the common factor; attitude.

And that is what many players don’t understand about this league.

A right attitude will get you in and have you collecting a good paycheck.

The cockiness of being better than the talent that is already making millions won’t help you with a coach or general manager and it definitely won’t help you in a locker room.

Dissing guys who worked hard getting in won’t do it either.

That is something I’ve told him and I don’t think was listening.

So I made him a small wager as a sort of stimulus package.

If he made somebody’s opening night roster this coming season, I’d treat him, his dad and his son to dinner at a local restaurant and I’d even arrange to have the owner cook for us.

Why would I make such a bet?

Because I’m cocky enough to realize that unless Hubbard changes his attitude between now and the end of training camp, he won’t be on nobody’s roster.

Now that may sound cocky on my part but let’s face; I’m putting almost eighteen years of seeing the best in the world night in and night out against a 25 year old who has been in an off Broadway play for just a season.

Right now I’m confident in my bet.

I’d like to lose it but I don’t think that may happen.

But if it does, then that means that Hubbard got the message.

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