July 18, 2013
LAS VEGAS, Nevada – Marquez Haynes isn't holding on to any illusions of a possible NBA career. The former UT Arlington standout is chasing that dream with the Washington Wizards in the NBA Summer League, but he also understands the bigger picture.
Professional basketball is Haynes' career, and he's made a pretty good one since leaving UT Arlington in 2010 as the Southland Conference's leading scorer. The Irving native has spent the last three years overseas, including last season in Germany.
Haynes, 26, has played well for the Wizards, averaging 9.3 points and dishing out a team-leading 15 assists through four games. In addition to auditioning for Washington and other NBA teams, Haynes has also had conversations with several international teams about next season.
UTAMavs.com caught up with Haynes to discuss his basketball goals and his alma mater:
How has your Summer League experience been so far?
It's been cool. I'm trying to show I'm improving every year. It's more than just making it to the NBA. There are a lot of opportunities out here. The competition level is really high, so whatever the case, I just want to show people I'm improving.
Have you put a timetable on yourself when it comes to making an NBA team?
Not necessarily. If I was really trying to chase it down, maybe I would have done some D-League. I just don't feel like that. If I take the best opportunity I feel for me to continue to get better, I feel good opportunities will find me from there. There are a lot of guys that have played overseas, like Patrick Beverly (Houston) and Gal Mekel (Dallas) that have gotten those opportunities. If you play well, it doesn't really matter. If I keep improving, then my time will come. If it doesn't, then I'm fine playing the sport that I love.
What do you hope the Wizards see in your game?
No. 1, that I can defend. I can come in when their starting point guard needs a break, and increase the energy of the team and wear down a second-string or third-string point guard. I feel that's the biggest thing. I want to show that I can space the floor. I haven't shot it great, but people know I can shoot from my percentages over the years. Those are the two main things, and that I can run a team. I can keep it under control. When they put me in a game, they can trust me that the tempo and the pace will be what they want. We're still going to get good shots and the offense flows smoothly.
What has playing overseas taught you about being a professional?
The biggest thing is that it's a business. You're your own brand. Everyone is always looking at you. It might not even be stuff on the court. It's about conducting yourself professionally and showing people what you want them to see. You have to portray yourself in the best light possible and not give people any reason not to like you.
Talk about the support you continue to receive from your former coach, Scott Cross, and the rest of the UT Arlington program.
It's been awesome. Through social media and text messages, I feel it. It's big. Our school hasn't had anything like this before. It's a big deal. I appreciate all the support and love. It's been phenomenal.
You work out at College Park Center in the offseason. What do you think of the new facilities and the direction of the program?
I'm proud of them. They were so close the last two years to the NCAA Tournament. They're building the program they want. It's looking great. The facilities are amazing. I wish I could have played there. If you take a big-time recruit there, they're going to consider it. The whole area is becoming a real college town. Coach Cross is doing a great job.