Saturday, October 13, 2018

Interview with Earl Ramsey, Devearl Ramsey's Older Brother

Gaucho Hoops ("GH"):  Thanks Earl for taking this interview.  Let's talk about Devearl's childhood.  Where did you all grow up and what's your relationship with Devearl?  When did he get a basketball in his hands?
Earl Ramsey ("ER"):   We grew up in south central LA on Gage Avenue. That's my little brother [Devearl].  I helped raise him and my youngest brother Jerearl from birth.  Everything I did he had to do.  I played ball so it was automatic for him.  I started playing at 5 yrs old.  He literally started at 2 or 3.

GH:  Did he play other sports?
ER:  [Devearl] didn't play other sports, but whenever he'd play football, he'd dominate because of how athletic he is and how big his hands are.
GH:  When did you know he would be special in basketball?
ER:  I knew Devearl was special when he was 4 or 5.  He would want to play with us (my friends were all 6+ years older than him).  And when we didn't let him, he would cry or tell on us.   lol  
We started letting him play but we would intentionally play him really rough.   lol   [We would] make him fall, even cry...but he'd get up and finish every single time.  And he'd always WOW us with some shot he'd make, crazy stuff like fall out of bounds fade aways.  So when he was about to play at the YMCA at 4, he was so advanced we had to keep playing him 2 divisions above his age group.

GH:  Did you coach him, to what extent, and who were his other big influencers?
ER:  I've always taught Devearl what I learned.  I'd learn a move from watching basketball, go in the backyard and practice it until I got it.  Then he'd come and I'd make him do it until he got it (he was 6 years younger than me).  lol  When I was in high school, my dad got sick and I had to do alot more around the house so I didn't play for my school, but I made sure Devearl continued.  I focused on him maximizing his ability.  And it paid off.  He ended up going from the YMCA, to his first AAU team Hoop Masters, then a national travel team Cali Style, and eventually California Supreme EYBL and the USA basketball team U16 and U17.

GH:  Can you talk us thru his high school and AAU playing days?
ER:  For high school, we took a leap a faith.  I convinced my dad to let him go to Sierra Canyon High School.  Even though it was an hour away, it was a much better option academically, and it was a much better environment than where I went to school.  Crenshaw High School was fun, but I didn't focus like I should've.  I didn't want Devearl to do what I did and waste his opportunity.  It ended up being the best thing we could've done.  The people we've met, and the opportunity he's gotten being at Sierra Canyon, playing a national schedule against the very best teams in the country...we couldn't ask for more.  It sharpened his game and proved to us he was really one of the best players in the country.  Academically, Sierra Canyon prepared him for any college of his choice. Best of the best.
GH:  What about his international play?  How did that impact his growth as a player and as a person?
ER:   He was one of the last picked to be invited to USA basketball.  They were actually coming to see his teammate.  Devearl was still under the radar nationally; locally everyone knew [of him].  So when he went to the try out/camp he had a huge chip on his shoulder.  He was one of the very few not ranked, etc.  Devearl killed it at USA camp.  I went and the talent in there was second to none.  Jayson Tatum, De'Aaron Fox, Harry Giles, just to name a few.  He stood out because he picked up [defensively] 94 feet, he was one of the most vocal players there, which his coaches told him to be. He was a leader, his teams won alot.  He played with extreme confidence, and he DUNKED on Horace Spencer (7 footer) right in from of me, with everyone watching off of a steal at half court.  [That was the] craziest moment I can remember actually in his basketball career.  Cuts were the next morning.  If you didn't make the team, you had your plane ticket waiting for you.  He texted me "happy birthday.. I made the team".  That was the best text ever.  Him actually playing in Uruguay and Dubai was awesome but making that team was the real accomplishment, if you ask me.  Devearl wore his entire uniform and sweatsuit from the moment they won gold until the summer was over.  lol  I took a sweater and a shirt immediately after picking him up from LAX.

GH:  What was his recruitment process like?  Why did he choose Nevada over other schools?  Who else offered him?  
ER:   Devearl had over 13 offers and alot of interest.  [He had] offers from USC as an 8th grader, shortly [there]after Washington, Cal, Colorado and most of the PAC12, Memphis, Pitt, Michigan, interest from Louisville, UConn, etc.  Nevada was a late one going into his senior year ..our dad passed away on Father's Day 2015.  He wanted Devearl yo go to USC all along.  Once we made that decision, that scholarship was already given to another player.  Then we made the decision to go to who wanted him the most.  Nevada--no one recruited him harder, and their assistant at the time was Jay Morris, from LA.  We felt comfortable with that decision.

GH:  Why did he choose to leave Nevada? What made him choose UCSB?
ER:   Musselman told us he'd turn that program around--which he did, and they'd play Devearl's style.  Things changed, and he moved on.  UCSB happened because Pasternak recruited Devearl as an 8th grader when he was at Arizona.  He knew us.  Once he found out we got a release, he called immediately and told us how he'd change UCSB around and he'd need players like Devearl to do it.  I trust him he knows Devearl's game.  He's going to let Devearl be Devearl.

GH:  How did he take his redshirt year?
ER:   Devearl's job was to become really comfortable with his shot and to study the game for the first time ever from the sideline.  I think he's much better because of it.

GH:  Where do you believe he will contribute at the point guard position?  What does he bring in terms of leadership?
ER:   Devearl is a natural leader.  People want to play with him.  He's especially someone who can get his own shot and fill up the scoreboard in a hurry.

GH:  What are his strengths?
ER:   His strengths are scoring and on ball defense. [And] speed.

GH:  What is he working on to improve his game?
ER:   [He's] constantly working on shooting off the catch from deep.

GH:  Tell us one thing about Devearl that most people don't know about him?
ER:  One thing not everyone knows is Devearl eats his tacos with just meat and cheese.  lol  Haha... sometimes ketchup.

GH:  Anything else you want to add, Earl?
ER:   Every teammate he's had loves him.  [He's the] funniest kid to be around .. and he's going to go to war with his guys.

GH:  Thanks Earl!
Editor's note:  Earl Ramsey is a basketball trainer who runs Gage Training.

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