|Greg Newton (15) in Olympic competition
Tuesday November 30, 2004
GREG NEWTON MAKING SACRIFICES FOR THE GAME
Graduating from Duke University in 1997 with a major in history Canadian Greg Newton has had a chance to live history with
his globetrotting basketball ways. The Canadian national team member is now suited up for KK Siroki Hercegtisak in Bosnia.
Frozen Hoops: We are ranking the Top 100 Canadian basketball
players of all time (presently at 330+). You are on the overall list. How does it feel to be nominated?
Greg Newton: Being recognized, is
an honor in itself. To be nominated is motivation to keep going and to one day pass along valuable information to other aspiring
young basketball talents. Of course, my knowledge of the game has come from many impressive coaches, such as Coach K (Mike
Krzyzewski of the Duke Blue Devils) and Coach Triano (former Canadian national men's team coach Jay Triano), from which I
have taken bits and pieces from each. I have been blessed with many opportunities on and off the court, that have made me
a better person and player and I am forever grateful for that.
Frozen Hoops: Where did you play high school basketball what
were some of the highlights?
Greg Newton: I attended A.N. Myer Secondary School in Niagara
Falls, Ontario. My high school career was filled with highlights that allowed our team to travel to various tournaments outside
of Canada. We were invited to South Carolina, for the Beach Ball Classic, which boasted talents such as Rasheed Wallace, Darnell
Robinson, and many more. Our team was also able to practice at Duke University, which was only two hours away, and I think
that was an incredible memory, not only for me, but also for my teammates. I loved my high school teammates. They were fun,
and an important aspect of life I took from them is that basketball was just a game, and not your whole life.
Frozen Hoops: After high school you attended the prestigious
Duke University Blue Devils program. What were your highlights from 1994-97?
Greg Newton: Duke was a learning experience
for me, especially my first two years. My freshman year, we went to the final four and eventually lost to Arkansas in the
final. I met many interesting people throughout my career at Duke (Rick Flair, Kevin Costner, Bill Cosby, Bill Clinton, Don
King), but the most influential person I met at Duke University was Mike Brey. He was the assistant coach that had recruited
me while I was in high school and my coach for two years at Duke. He is currently the head coach at Notre Dame. I appreciated
his honesty, and straightforward answers. He was one of the few that told it to you straight. (Newton led the Blue Devils
in rebounding and blocked shots in his Junior and Senior years. In 107 games he averaged 7.6 points per game while shooting
56.9 field goal percentage. He is also No. 11 on the Blue Devils all-time block shot list with 97 rejections)
Frozen Hoops: Playing on the Canadian National Team since 1997
what have been the highlights?
Greg Newton: First, I had the opportunity to play with some of
the most talented players in Canada that I had grown up with. There is no other feeling than finally being able to play in
competitions with those players that you had been playing against for most of your years. Second was the (2000 Sydney) Olympics.
There are no words that can describe the feeling of participating, and showing the world that we were a contender. Basketball
Canada created a lot of fans because of the 2000 Olympics, and I am proud to be a part of that.
Frozen Hoops: Aside from your present team where have you played
professionally and what has been the difference in calibre of hoops in each stop?
Greg Newton: (Chronological order '97-'98 Belgium, Seimens Nixdorf;
'98-'99 Israel, Hapoel Eilat ; '99-'00 Brazil, Flamengo; '00-'01 Slovenia, Savinski Hopsi (3 months); Italy, Scafati A2 '01-'02
Italy, Scafati A2; '02-'03 Bulgaria, Tcherno More '03-'04 Serbia; Lavovi 063(3 months), Russia, Dinamo Moscow Region and '04-'05
Bosnia Herzogonia, Seroki) "Really, it only depends on the region. Wherever you go, everyone knows how to play basketball.
When you start going into the Balkan countries, then it gets a little more physical and less athletic. Fundamentally, I think
Europeans are ahead of North America, simply because of what they lack athletically. This is why you are going to see more
and more Europeans in the NBA.
Frozen Hoops: Why do you think a pro basketball league in Canada
has not made a go of it?
Greg Newton: This, unfortunately, is the political side of sports,
which I really try to stay away from. Politics has no place in sports. I think that Canada has its "national" sport, and economically,
whether it be scholarships in Universities, or paying a player at the professional level, the attention is not there, and
this is why Canada loses its quality players to the US.
Frozen Hoops: What are your goals in basketball?
Greg Newton: My goal is to get as much out of basketball that
I have put into it. I think that I have sacrificed allot. I have missed out on a lot of normal things in life, such as my
own brothers wedding, and watching my own children grow. Playing European basketball cost me my marriage, and friends. I love
playing this sport, but at what cost should a sport take over your life?
Frozen Hoops: Describe what kind of player Greg Newton is?
Greg Newton: I am an athlete, always have been, always will be.
There are many coaches out there that have tried to turn me into a centre and make me a meathead (Newton is 6-foot-11 and
tips the scales at 250 pounds), but that has never worked for me. It took me coming to Europe to develop my outside game,
with most clubs letting me shoot threes, and playing some on the perimeter. However, when it boils down to what I do best,
I put my back to the basket and jump over people to score. I will get you 10 boards a game. That is the thing that most players
don't understand. If you happen to be "off" one night scoring, you can always play defense, rebounds, steal balls......
Frozen Hoops: Do you know of an any other Canadians in the your
league? How did you get on to the present roster?
Greg Newton: I haven't run into many Canadians in Europe. I was
trying out with a team in France for a couple of weeks earlier in the season, and the first day I arrived we had an exhibition
game and Rowan Barrett was on the other team. It was nice to see him again. Unfortunately I didn't stay in France. I ended
up on this team?well, that is my agent?s job. As I said before, I love to play this game. The money is nice, but I have learned
over time, it isn't everything. The situation is more important. This was a good situation for me because they are in the
Goodyear League, and after I have a good season, then the possibilities are much better for me the following year.