By Zak Keefer
By 12 years old he was the 6-8 stringbean who pitched in at the point and in the post, his game as raw as his ambition. Roy Hibbert had always fantasized about playing in the NBA, but back then, he was little more than an unpolished talent on the Washington D.C. preps scene. Few could have forecasted the transformation that was to come.
By his sophomore year in high school, the college coaches began calling as his frame inched upward and upward. He was a project, sure, but he was one dripping with potential. They didn’t stumble upon shot-blockers like that every day.
By his first workout during his freshman year at Big Man U. — a.k.a. Georgetown — he was tripping over his size-18 sneakers and miles from competing in the middle in the brutal Big East. During an early-season weight-room session, Hoyas strength coach Mike Hill ordered him to do a push-up.
But Hibbert’s frame, by then stretching seven feet, never left the ground: He couldn’t do one.
By this, his sixth year with the Indiana Pacers, the transformation has come full-circle. Hibbert went from the college freshman who couldn’t manage a push-up to a first-round pick to one of the most bruising big men in the Association.
“To me, it’s one of the greatest stories of the past over the last decade in all of sports,” said CBS college basketball analyst and Pacers’ VP of player relations Clark Kellogg. “Ten years ago, very few thought he’d be where he’s at.”
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