back to top

Redick Returns To His Roots – Wiser And Wealthier These Days

J.J. Redick and his coach at Cave Spring, Billy Hicks, collaborate on a camp drill.

by Gene Marrano

J.J. Redick has come a long way from his days as a star player at Cave Spring High School where he led his team to a Group AAA state basketball championship as a senior. At Duke he set an NCAA record for three point shots and was named the two-time college player of the year.

Then it was on to the National Basketball Association, where over the past five seasons Redick has “leaned out” (just four percent body fat!) and is now considered a decent defender – something that he would have never been called five years ago. In 2010-2011, for the first time ever, playing for the Orlando Magic, Redick averaged double figures in scoring (10.1 ppg).

Before last season he also scored big financially, netting a three year, 19 million dollar contract. Not bad for a jump shoot specialist and spot starter, although Redick has become more proficient at going to the net on drives in the last few seasons.

Redick was in town last week for a fundraiser golf tournament at Ballyhack and a concert that supported his new charitable foundation that will benefit the Children’s Miracle Network and CHIP (see for more details). With life more settled these days, he figured it was time to give back to the community.

“For the first year of doing these events it couldn’t have gone any better,” said Redick, who stayed for part of the following week to run the J.J. Redick NBA skills camp for 13-17 year old boys, held at North Cross School. Redick’s coach at Cave Spring, Billy Hicks, helped organize and run the three-day camp with his former protégé. Kids from West Virginia, Ohio and North Carolina were among those in attendance.

Hicks said Redick wanted it to be a no-nonsense camp where he could focus on the skills that could help attendees become better ballplayers. Hicks noted that one of the sessions with Redick would be on playing defense; “he’s gone from being a defensive liability [early in his NBA career] to a guy now that’s considered among league coaches to being a very good wing defender. He guards Kobe [Bryant], he guards D Wade [Dwayne Wade], he guards Ray Allen …the best scorers in the league.”

Several former Cave Spring players and others that attended local high schools—Logan Singleton, Zach Barrett from Hidden Valley and now Roanoke College—also helped out. “These guys have worked really hard with the kids,” said Hicks, who was grateful that Redick was involved. It’s tough for Redick to get back to Roanoke these days with his busy schedule and life in Orlando, which now includes wife Chelsea.

The impending NBA lockout may have taken some of the pressure off Redick, at least for the time being, according to Hicks, who has won two more Group AA state championships in the post J.J. Redick era. As for the NBA skills camp, Hicks is hopeful it will piggyback on the annual golf tournament every year. “The fifty kids that are here have gotten unbelievable value out of this camp,” said Hicks, who added that Redick had been “extremely hands on.”

Before the last day of camp got started, Redick spoke about the impending NBA lockout, which came following a season where he claimed revenues were at an “all time high.” Players are getting money back from escrow and can make it through the season if they don’t get on the court at all, according to Redick.

He eats well and exercises year round; coming from a family that ate plenty of organic food, Redick also has an eye for what’s healthy and what’s not. “I stay in shape year round,” he noted.

“There’s some really good talent here,” said Redick about the campers he had worked with at North Cross. He went to plenty of camps himself growing up, including some run by Hicks, and looked at them as “a brief opportunity to improve. I always wanted to take something away from every camp.”

Redick figures he turned the corner as an NBA player two seasons ago when he shut down Boston’s Ray Allen in the playoffs and started several games. A finals appearance against Los Angeles that season was one of his career highlights.

Redick said playing in Europe as a way to stay in game shape during an extended lockout is “not an option” for 90 percent of those in the NBA and is not something he is considering at this time. But, come January, if he is not playing yet and is fully recovered from abdominal surgery this summer due to muscle tears, Redick would consider allowing a foreign team to “rent” him. “But I do enough on my own to stay in great shape.” He figures the lockout could be a long one; “there’s no incentive for the owners [who want to change the league salary structure] to negotiate in good faith. It’s going to be a while.”

Seeing Redick show up also inspired some campers; “when J.J. walks in everybody looks at him and goes ‘how does he play in the NBA? He looks just like me,’” said Hicks. “What sets him apart is the work ethic.”  Hitting a close in, running shot perfected several years ago helped earn that 19 million dollar contract – that’s what Redick told his starry-eyed campers – that it wasn’t only his long range jumper.

Hicks can only hope that the next J.J. Redick might have been among the campers, heading to Cave Spring and perhaps on his way to stardom elsewhere.

“I love working [and] talking with Billy. It’s always good to trade stories,” added Redick about his long time mentor.

Latest Articles

- Advertisement -Fox Radio CBS Sports Radio Advertisement

Latest Articles

- Advertisement -Fox Radio CBS Sports Radio Advertisement

Related Articles