Q&A with Al Horford

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Here’s an excerpt from an interview I did with former Florida forward Al Horford prior to the Atlanta Hawks game against the Orlando Magic at Amway Arena in Orlando. The complete story on Horford will appear in Wednesday’s Gainesville Sun.

KB ” What’s been the biggest adjustment from college life to NBA life?

AH ” “Just probably the traveling, even though we did traveling in college, in the NBA it’s always something to do basketball-wise every day, practice every day.
“I’ve bumped into Gator people wherever I go. That’s been fun. They are always Gator chomping and stuff like that. Just a lot of support.”

KB ” What’s been the biggest adjustment on the court?

AH ” “Just getting used to the three-second lane, I was watching in college and I was like, wow, me and Joakim would just sit in the lane. You can’t do that here. Also, going from the 35 second shot clock to the 24 second clock. It’s a big difference. You don’t realize. You have to be able to execute the offense quick to get a good shot. Timing has to get picked up.”

KB ” You were just named the NBA Eastern Conference rookie of the month for November. What did that mean to?

AH ” “It meant a lot. I wanted to get started the right way. Being awarded NBA rookie of the month, it was pretty special to me and it just shows my hard work is paying off. So I have to keep working and do what I do best.”

KB ” What did you do with your first NBA paycheck?

AH ” “Put it in the bank. All of it. Didn’t really go out or anything. When I did get to the Hawks after I got drafted I bought my car. I saved my big purchase and I got a Range Rover, so that was a big deal to me.”

KB ” Do you still keep in touch with your former Florida teammates?

AH ” “Oh yeah, I talk with the guys regularly. We played Minnesota (in Atlanta) on Tuesday, Corey and Chris came to my mom’s house for dinner we just hung out, and talked to Taurean. So everybody is doing well.”

KB ” Are you surprised you are getting a little more playing time than your former teammates?

AH ” “My situation is different. The other guys, given the opportunity, they are going to show up, they are going to do good things for their teams.”

KB ” You had the Horford Hotties at the O’Connell Center. Any fan groups forming in Atlanta yet?

AH ” “In Atlanta, they were trying to be funny and they brought out a Horford Hotties sign. And it was like, two dudes. It was really random. What I have is a section named after me called Al’s Amigos. We have different charities bring different kids. Every game we have elementary and middle school kids come out.”

KB ” Are you living in downtown Atlanta or in the suburbs?

AH ” “I’m like 10 minutes outside the city. I’m close enough to the city but I’m not really in the city.”

KB ” Your mom was with you last season in Gainesville. Did she move to Atlanta?

AH ” “She did. It’s been nice, just having family around, having her support.”

KB ” And your dad (former NBA center Tito Horford), does he get to many games?

AH ” “He’s been to a lot of them. We played in Detroit already, he lives up there and came there. He came down to see me play in Miami. He’s excited, every game he’s as excited as I am.”

KB ” Do you plan to get back to Gainesville in the future?

AH ” “Definitely, I definitely make sure I’ll come back. I’d like to make it to one or two games this year. Probably an SEC game. That’s when my schedule gets a little more flexible. So I’d like to go up there and support them.”

KB ” Some of the coaches have talked about how players can hit a rookie wall after 35-40 games. What do you expect for the future and what do you look to accomplish?

AH ” “We’ll see. So far I feel really fresh. I’m just looking to stay healthy and keep working, keep getting better.”