Coach pushes Roy to next level

6/8/2010 - NBA

As a young hoops-head growing up in Seattle, Brandon Roy eagerly awaited the time he could hit the court with Lou Hobson.

Hobson, a longtime AAU coach, had helped shepherd some of the area's brightest basketball talents, and Roy was ready to be the next in line.

"I always used to go up to him and say, 'You're going to coach my team when I get to eighth grade,'" Roy said. "He ended up being my coach from eighth grade to college. We ended up having a great bond."

But when he finally got his chance, Roy didn't exactly see eye to eye with Hobson.

"It started off rough because when I first started playing with him he was like, 'Nobody's bigger than the team,'" Roy said. "And that was just the first day I ever played for him.

"He was like, 'You could go home.' And I was thinking, 'This guy's tough.'"

Roy returned the next day and never stopped coming back.

Hobson was able to take Roy's game to another level, but perhaps the most important help he provided the future NBA All-Star came with Roy's classwork, not his crossover.

Although his talents on the court piqued the interest of some of the top college programs in the country, Roy's grades kept them at arm's length.

So when Roy was a sophomore at Garfield (Wash.) High School, Hobson found tutors to help him with his academics.

Eventually, Roy would improve his grades enough to become eligible for a college scholarship at Washington, where he would spend four years before taking his game to the pros.

"He pushed me," Roy said. "I think he saw more in me than I did in myself."

Justin Verrier is an NBA editor at ESPN.com. E-mail him at Justin.R.Verrier@ESPN.com or follow him on Twitter.