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Q & A with J.J. Redick

Why is a question-and-answer post with former Duke guard J.J. Redick on Hokies Journal? Simple. His younger sister, Abby, is a freshman basketball player at Virginia Tech. I'm reporting about Abby and her life growing up behind J.J. in an upcoming article for The Washington Post. Here is the transcript of a brief telephone interview I recently had with J.J. You might find it interesting.

What are your earliest memories of Abby as a basketball player?
I can remember she grew up in a gym from the time she was a baby. I just remember her always being in the gym. And she traveled with my parents, all my AAU tournaments. She just was around basketball. The first memory I have was going into my freshman year the summer before high school; I was 14 and playing at a local camp. I played well but the talk of the camp was this girl who was playing the youngest division. She was 6 or 7 and she was shooting threes. I remember in high school, she was the halftime show. She was shooting threes and launching them. I try to catch as many games as possible back when I’m in that part of Virginia.

What was your approach in terms of mentoring her?
To be honest with you, I took a very hands-off approach. Abby showed an incredible talent from an early age. I can remember her going to an AAU tournament, the nationals, when she was 11 or 12. The scouts or whatever, the writers, were saying she had poise beyond her years. She’s always been very precocious. I was always there if she needed me, if she always wanted to talk hoops. Most of our discussions over the years haven’t had anything to do with basketball. Our conversations tend to steer away from basketball.

Is that by design?
I think so. I think for my little brother, David, and Abby, they had it tough. My sisters played Division I basketball. There was, I’m sure, a certain amount of pressure and expectation on their parts and I didn’t want to put any more pressure on them. Those two needed to find their own path and Abby has a love for the game, which I really admire. I figured that would be enough as long as she worked hard. Our conversations – we’re both very spiritual people – our conversation usually center on that kind of stuff.

She said it was terrible playing games of HORSE with you. Do you remember that? And you sort of hit on this, but how much did she feel the need to carve her own path out of your shadow?
Yeah, I do remember the HORSE games. … When I am in town we’d go to the Roanoke Athletic Club. Growing up, we’d play HORSE in the back yard. All five of our siblings are very competitive; it was a competitive household. I do think it was important for her to carve her own niche. She did some stuff in high school that I didn’t do. I think she played four state championships, won two. She’s had a great high school career. My brother and I we grew up Virginia Tech football fans so to have him there, to have Abby there, I’m very proud of her.

She said she’s charged with buying you a present for Christmas. She isn’t quite sure what to buy an NBA player, although I joked that maybe she could get you some Virginia Tech gear. So would a former Blue Devil wear Hokies colors?
When Abby signed with Virginia Tech, she got me a Nike Dry Fit, and when I went to work out in Orlando, I would wear it. Yes, I will rock Virginia Tech gear. Probably not Virginia Tech men’s basketball gear. But yeah, I’ll rock some Virginia Tech gear.

By Mark Viera  |  December 4, 2009; 10:15 AM ET
 
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