During their rookie campaigns, Brandon Roy, Chris Paul, Emeka Okafor and LeBron James became household names. Each won the NBA's Rookie of the Year Award and joined the ranks of the game's elite. But fans rarely hear about is what it's like to be a typical freshman in the best basketball league in the world.
To get some answers, we hit up Orlando Magic shooting guard Morris Almond, who spent most of his rookie season lighting up scoreboards in the National Basketball Development League, where he averaged 25.6 points per game for the Utah Jazz's NBDL affiliate, the Utah Flash. He also set a new league record by scoring 53 points in a game before getting called up to the big show.
STACK: What was it like to play in the NBA as a rookie?
Morris Almond: It is just like any other year. I felt like a freshman in high school or freshman in college. Everything is just new. It's a new level. It's a new city. It's just a transition. It's a long season, and you kind of get [that] it's a learning experience.
STACK: Do you ever get nervous playing in front of thousands of people?
MA: I don't get too nervous before games, because I know I've practiced enough and rested the night before. I know I've been eating right. When you prepare, you won't get to nervous.
STACK: Do you have any superstitions or routines that you do before a game?
MA: I don't have too many superstitions, but [I like to] get a good night of sleep, try to eat right [and] stay away from the candy. I [have] a sweet tooth, so I've got to kind of curb that, but I just kind of stick to the script.
STACK: Are you more comfortable now that it's your second year?
MA: I'm used to the city. I'm used to the team, the coach [and] what the coach expects. Just the way the league is, because it's the top league in the world. It's kind of overwhelming your first year, but going into [my second season], things seem a lot easier.
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