Larry Drew says Collin Sexton has boxer’s mentality
Speaking to Bleacher Report‘s Greg Swartz, Cleveland Cavaliers head coach Larry Drew — who Cleveland hired to replace former head coach Tyronn Lue after the Cleveland’s relatively disturbing 0-6 start — had a lot to say about the youngest member of his team, rookie point guard Collin Sexton. Sexton, a 19-year-old Georgia native selected with the eighth overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, is a player who has risen up the rookie ladder to become of the most respected players in his draft class.
His climb, like his play on the court, illuminates an interesting trait that has allowed Sexton to separate himself from — not just rookies — but plenty of players in the league. His refusal to back down from a challenge or, worse, to quit.
“You may beat him off the dribble, you may do some things, but he’s going to stay in that competitive mode. It’s like in boxing, they always talk about how some guys can take a punch, take a punch, take a punch, take a punch and you still can’t get them off their feet. That’s how he is as a basketball player,” said Drew.
Drew continued to explain the comparison, saying “you can keep coming at him, you can keep attacking him, you’ll score on him, but he is going to keep competing”:
“You can keep coming at him, you can keep attacking him, you’ll score on him, but he is going to keep competing. He’s not going to go away, and I admire that in any young player that comes into the league, especially at his position. Night in and night out, he’s going to be facing some really terrific guards at that point guard spot. He still has a lot to learn, and he is a willing learner. I really admire that about him.”
When Sexton was drafted, the team and draft analysts raved about the young point guard’s mentality. Buzzwords describing his tenacity and work ethic were used to set up punchlines about his inability to fit in the NBA’s modern game, since he didn’t come into the league as a great three-point threat.
However, now it’s those doubters who are the punchlines, as Sexton’s mental fortitude and drive to succeed are the very things that’s allowed him to thrive in the face of adversity.