“I GOT NOW” 1-on-1 w/ DJ Robertson
There is one constant in basketball that has remained true for ages and will continue to do so, “Guards come a dime a dozen!” The reason why this saying holds true is that it’s common to see smaller to average size players versus players considered “big men.”
To stand out as a point guard, a player has to have more than size or athletism. They have to have leadership skills that translate both verbally and physically. They have to be able to handle pressure and make good decisions. They have to be able to forecast and execute several moves ahead. Lastly, they have to be an extension of the coach. These are just a handful of the responsibilities entrusted to point guards.
Recently, RAM Prospects had the opportunity to interview one of HoopState’s up-and-coming point guards, Athen’s Drive High School (Raleigh, NC), 2019 PG, DJ Robertson. Standing at approximately 6’0, he’s an embodiment of all the attributes mentioned above, plus, he’s shifty, has exceptional court vision and a high-level passer.
RAM Prospects: Ok, first, let’s start off with your name. Everyone knows you as DJ but what is your full name?
DJ Robertson: My government name is Derrick Robertson Jr., but I hate being called by that name, so I go by DJ!
RAM: Where are you from?
DJ: I was born in White Plains, NY but I grew up in Raleigh, NC.
RAM: When was the first time you started playing basketball?
DJ: I first started playing basketball when I was two years old with my mom and my cousins, been playing and getting better ever since.
RAM: When did you start taking basketball seriously? Like, you decided you wanted to be good and compete at the highest level?
DJ: I started taking basketball to heart when coaches and parents constantly told me if I keep working and continue to do well in school I could play this game in the pros. Plus, I love playing basketball anyway!
RAM: What would you say the best aspect of your game is?
DJ: I would have to say the best aspect of my game is my ability to push the ball up the floor, see everything and make plays with my passing ability.
RAM: One of the best parts of your game for us is your “pats”… How’d you get your handle that tight?
DJ: Honestly my handles are natural. I didn’t do a thousand ball handling drills or anything like that. It just came to me, but I can say when I was younger I didn’t have a left hand. My old AAU coach (Coach Rich Renfrow) helped with my mentality and understanding on how to use my left. From there it was an easy transition to make moves with both hands.
“…I feel like there’s nobody I’ve seen or played against yet who brings the energy I do to the game…”
RAM: Tell me about the part of your game that you want to continue to improve?
DJ: I want to improve my ability to play above the rim [athleticism] and work on my jump shot so I can be able to shoot from anywhere on the court.
RAM: You’ve started on varsity as a freshman, what was that like for you?
DJ: Starting varsity as a freshman was a new experience. There were some new fundamentals I had to learn, but to me, the size and agility other players had wasn’t bothersome. The only thing different was their name and age.
RAM: Do you have a trainer?
DJ: Yes, Lance (and Levi) Beckwith. We train on the occasion but not as much as we used to. They show me new ways to use my dribble, get into my shot, help me with spacing and overall, grow as a player.
RAM: How’d you link up with him?
DJ: They found me and saw that I had potential. They kept telling me I had a swag to my game [similar to John Wall] and how they could help me prepare for the next level.
RAM: Let’s get more personal, tell the readers more about who DJ is. What’s your favorite food?
DJ: My favorite food is ribs, barbecue ribs. It’s just something about them fresh and on the bone [Laughs]! It’s just the best food to me. I’d take a plate of ribs over a gourmet meal any day!
RAM: What about favorite color?
DJ: My favorite colors are red and black. I feel like they look the best together – shoes, clothes, jerseys it doesn’t matter. Red and black can make anything look good.
RAM: When you’re not playing basketball, what do you like to do in your spare
DJ: If I’m not playing basketball, I’m mostly chilling at home watching Netflix or playing music and doing homework. Plans sometimes change, so I guess it all depends on the weekend.
RAM: Name one thing that you like or find interest in that people wouldn’t typically know?
DJ: I can whistle the tune of any song. All I have to do is hear it, and I can whistle it [Laughs].
RAM: Last question for you… Where do you think you are in comparison to other guards in the state and nationally?
DJ: In my opinion, I’m the best guard in North Carolina and one of the fastest guards in the country. I feel like there’s nobody I’ve seen or played against yet who brings the energy I do to the game. As I continue to get better and showcase my talent, I’m going to make everybody see it and believe it!