We here at THE GLOBAL PHENOMENON have prided ourselves over the years as being on the cusp of hard-hitting journalism, bringing our loyal readers interviews with individuals close to the program in order to heighten the Georgetown fan experience. In 2011, we brought you an interview with the 42nd President of the United States and Georgetown alum Bill Clinton. In 2012, an interview with the legendary voice of the Hoyas Rich Chvotkin. In 2013, an interview with the Verizon Center t-shirt gatling gun guy. In 2014, an interview with "Sad Scott" McCallum, the Georgetown student whose face became the singular symbol of the 2013-14 Georgetown Hoyas basketball season. In 2015, we kicked it up a notch with Kelly Rohrbach, the 2015 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Rookie of the Year and proud member of the Georgetown University Class of 2012.
Today, if you're looking for some inspiration to get you up for the Villanova game this Saturday and for our improbable run through the Big East Tournament, look no further. Today, we are beyond honored to bring you a Q&A session with Jabril Trawick, one of the most beloved players in Georgetown's storied history.
You're playing for the Sioux Falls Skyforce in the NBA D-League right now. Having lived in Philadelphia and then being in DC, what is it like living in South Dakota?
As you could imagine it's much different than Philly and DC, in every aspect, due to it being in the Midwest of the country. The landscape is different along with the culture so there are a plethora of differences you experience in Sioux Falls compared to a fast pace city such as Philly or even DC. For example, instead of seeing a bunch of tall buildings and houses back to back, it's just a ton of open space and land. There are also multiple farms along with various industrial plants. It gets pretty cold and windy but that's not really anything new coming from Philly. With me being the type of person that I am, traveling to different places and doing different things all the time, I've learned to appreciate all places. Every place is special in its own way and to answer your question, yes I like living here very much. It's been a very humbling experience for me and it's giving me the time to reflect and educate myself to a level that I could of never imagined. The people here are really nice and we have top of the line facilities, in the Sanford Pentagon & Field house. The staff and coaches have made it easy for me to feel at home along with making a fast transition. The fans are very supportive, which makes the games much easier to prepare for. We really appreciate them. Last but not least, I'm surrounded by a great group of guys. I love my teammates, its a Brotha-Hood. Sioux Falls is a great place for me to be.
What is the biggest transition playing in the D-League, compared to college?
To be honest, it was very easy for me to transition. Especially after this summer of Portsmouth, my NBA workouts, and summer league. It was all about getting adjusted and making all the little different meticulous things about the pro game part of my natural habits. That's still something I'm working on now but I'm surely coming into my own. It's all about getting reps so that I can become more comfortable and develop my skills. Which should allow me to showcase even more of my game at an efficient and consistent level.
You're teammates with Greg Whittington again! Are you guys roommates? You guys have a bet on who will get to the league first?
Lol yeah we are roommates again. We have a nice living situation out here but haha nah we haven't bet. However, we definitely talk about how we feel we can play up there no problem.
For fans who haven't seen Greg play since he last put on a Hoya uniform, what is the biggest improvement in his game?
Man, Greg is a special player. He really has a complete game in my eyes. He can guard the one through five. He also can dribble, pass & score at a high level. For him, it's all about staying healthy and becoming more consistent with everything. If he does, the sky's the limit for him. Glad to be teammates with him because we both have a lot of passion for the game. We love to compete at the highest level but at the same time have to stay mentally stable. With that being said, Greg is one of my favorite players out here.
Speaking of improvement, your 3-point percentage steadily rose every year at Georgetown. Your freshman year you shot 24% from the perimeter and by the time you graduated, you were sizzling at 41%. That's an amazing progression. Did you work with anyone in particular on your shooting? Was it just a matter of repetition or did you change your mechanics at all?
It was all about confidence & getting the reps up. Also with any team when you start to play more and you're given the green light to do more, your confidence catches up with your skill at a faster pace during that time. There are a lot of players out there, who are traditionally confident players with a ton of skill, but depending on situations it may be harder for them to become comfortable within their role and the system that they are in. Being mentally stable is something that is probably the most important skill about the game. While you're young in college it can be hard to keep focus all the time because adversity is always there to challenge you. Some players come in and shine right away, it all depends on your game type and the type of leash that you have. It's a process.
How much have you been able to follow the Hoyas this season?
I'm always tuned in, especially when I'm not playing or something. So I'm hip to everything.
A few weeks ago, you tweeted that being the coach of Georgetown was a future goal of yours. Put your coach hat on for a second - why do you think the team is struggling this season?
They're a young team and it's all about the pieces being able to be on the same page at the same time on a consistent level. If you're not confident and tough on both sides of the ball, then it's going to be very difficult to win. Especially in tough games with a team primarily made up of underclassmen. You'll see flashes here and there but it'll be a lot of ups and downs. It's all about progression and being patient though. You just have to accept it for what it is and continue to play hard regardless of the outcome. In a game where it is very easy for things to not go your way, effort is the one thing that you can control every night. You have to be able to step out of your comfort zone because it's so easy to become content with your situation, whether that's a good or bad one. Ultimately you can never know what the players and coaches are dealing with unless you are actually coaching or playing. As a spectator you can observe and come to conclusions but at the end of the day that will never compare to actually putting that jersey on or calling the shots. All you can do is stay positive and patient, while working to maximize the potential there is for the future.
P.S it's a different animal being a student athlete at Georgetown University.
And about that tweet, is that something you're serious about? If you were a coach, do you think you'd be more like Big Coach or JT3? (This is not a trap question!)
It is something I would be serious about because I truly think that I would enjoy the experience of helping young men get to where they need to be in life. I would love to take on that challenge because it is one of the hardest things to do, especially on the college level. But I would say that I would be a mix of the two to be honest. I feel like people have to put the times in consideration when talking about coaching because as the times change you have to deal with different types of characters and personalities. After all, we are products of the time and environments that we grow up in for the most part, you are not going to have the same kind of players you once had back in the day. So what that also means is that you're dealing with a new style of play. Not to mention that you have to recruit a certain kind of student when it comes to a school such as Georgetown. As obvious as it is Georgetown is found on the traditional actions of Big coach which is doing it the right way, no handouts and not taking the easy way out which most high level programs do now....... Of course winning is important but my biggest goal would be helping out young men reach their potential in many other things that matter other than basketball. If you look at Big coach & JT3 they both have helped multiple players help take care of their families and get to the next step of the journey. More importantly they gave young men the chance to network and have access to unlimited resources, while getting a free education in a world where a family can easily go into debt trying to pay for school, that's a blessing.
Did Big Coach ever expand on that?
Big coach & I actually talked about coaching in the future when I was at the St. John's game. It was kind of surreal being back as an alumni and I was just sitting there and I said that I would want to coach Georgetown one day in the future, strictly off of the feeling I was getting being in the Verizon, sitting next to the one who started it. He told me that I could do it because he knew I wasn't afraid to take on the challenge.
In the past, Big Coach said you could have played for his teams. Is that the highest compliment you can receive from him?
Publicly you could say so. But whenever I'm with Big Coach especially since the period I was done playing at Georgetown we always had special conversations. And I guess you can say that since his heart will always be in Georgetown, he appreciated the way I played because it reminded him back to when he was coaching. On my end its just a blessing to even have a relationship with somebody of this stature because he influenced so many people on a positive level, I appreciate anytime that I can be around him. The wisdom and knowledge is priceless.
Hate to bring this up... In the past decade, Georgetown has struggled in the NCAA tournament. Did that ever cross players' minds when preparing for a tournament game?
You can answer that question lol... With all the articles and blogs which surface during that time, it's impossible not to. We wouldn't be human if we didn't. Ultimately we just focused on doing the best we could despite everything that's going on.
To follow up on that, I hate to bring up this game, but one of the most confusing losses for fans was the Florida Gulf Coast game. What do you remember about that game? Is it one of those things where you've almost blocked it out of your memory or do you remember every play?
They call it March Madness for a reason. Of course as a player during that time you're going to be mad but it happens to everybody. To be honest I was over it the day we got back to campus because it's deeper than basketball and I feel like that's what most people tend to forget. Of course you want to win at the highest level but it's all about giving it all you got and then learning from it... it's about the experience and what you take from it as you move forward. It's a game, which is based on strength, skill and not the most talked about part, luck. Life is too deep for me to ever dwell on something like that or to let it bother me. It is what it is.
Now when fans talk about recruits, they talk about someone who can fill the "Jabril role" and everyone knows exactly what that means - tough, intense, fiery, emotional - how does that make you feel to basically have a role named after you, because of what you brought to the table every night?
Well since I wasn't able to go to the final 4, win super big, score a bunch of points, break some records or even get my jersey up on the wall yet .. It shows that my presence and significance didn't go unnoticed; I left a stamp and legacy, which is all I wanted to do. You would think that playing hard and bringing energy is something that every player would have but what I started to learn is that playing hard and bringing a certain energy is a skill in itself. I don't know how easy that'll be; I guess it's just different. But just the thought is a great feeling, very humbling.
You're more than just a basketball player - you graduated with an English degree. What kind of things do you want to do when your playing days are over?
Well I got a lot up my sleeve right now; I'm working on a lot. If I'm not hooping then I'm always working on something. I have a few projects I'm about to put out there soon. They range from mixtapes, films, books, and so much more it's crazy. I'm not going to really talk about a lot of the stuff but it'll just happen, when it all unfolds people will understand what's going on. Some stuff that I can talk about right now is that I'm part of a couple non profit foundations in which I am one of the main ambassadors for. Young Educated Athletes Inc is a (501(c)(3) start-up nonprofit organization, which gives children the ability to receive life skills while doing something fun and productive. My cousin Raushanah Deen-Hargrove is the founder, she brought a plan to me and I've been all in. It's a family thing, it's has a chance to be really special (Instagram: Young_Educated_Athletes). Besides that is The Brotha-Hood, which was a basketball team I grew up playing on, started by my uncle Leon Shamsideen-Deen, we are now planning to develop it into something so much more meaningful. This would be another outlet for young boys starting out particularly in my community to gain access to proper resources in order to truly reach their highest potential. We are looking for people who would be interested in helping & donating to the cause and for what it represents. Ultimately it would be nice to get an EYBL AAU team in the Nike Circuit or something of that sort, which represents the program, which is way more than basketball. This would help create high level recruits from the same neighborhood as me. You know Georgetown would be the school they looked at first when the time comes ;) lol. I also have a local basketball league at the court I grew up playing on called The Pit (The Pit League). This goes on every year in my community and within the next couple of summers I want to take it to the next level, really creating another positive outlet for my community especially the younger kids, boys and girls. Everything that I'm doing is all about giving back and making a difference, that's it. But yeah Space High & No White Flags, we're knocking on the door.
What is something fans don't know about Jabril Trawick?
I'm much more complex than what I give out, It's a lot to me that people will never know because they didn't grow up with me & they didn't experience what I did. Tons of people don't and won't understand me but that's perfectly fine. Besides that one of the things that I take pride in the most is being a student of life. Over the past couple of months I've been able to educate myself on so many things. The things that I learned are things that I had to personally go out and research. No knocks to any school system but these are ultimately things that you won't learn in school or college. With that being said I want to mention that I am grateful that I had the opportunity to attend schools such as Abington Friends & Georgetown University, which forced me to think critically. We need more individuals who think critically at a mass level in this world to deal with a bunch of the problems we are now facing. Social media and the systems are spreading the virus of ignorance which is training people into thinking they have to live a certain way or believe a certain thing. I can admit that I was living in a state of ignorance not too long ago and it was also a state where I wasn't really humble. To an extent it was happening subconsciously, I was brainwashed through certain circumstances and my environment unknowingly. This happens to everyone in some form. I now know why things were that way and I am trying to move as far away from that mental state everyday. The more that I learn the easier it is for me to do so. I'm human so I'm not perfect but more importantly I woke up and I'm willing to bring the darkness to light in order to grow from it. Ignorance is bliss and I can't use what I been through as an excuse to follow the ignorant agenda. This is the battle I'm dealing with daily, trying to become as righteous as possible. I got the light now so I'm just focusing on being a servant and messenger of God. It's not easy at all but the most exciting challenge to me. As I said before I am not perfect but I know my purpose, so making a difference is my main goal.
A few rapid fire questions...
Toughest Georgetown player to guard in practice?
Jason Clark & Markel Starks
Toughest player you had to guard last season (on an opposing team)?
Can't remember lol
Toughest place to play?
Wells Fargo Center in Philly
Biggest trash talker you played against?
I'm usually the one talking trash lol
Best non-Georgetown coach in the Big East?
I'm a fan of Coach Mack at Xavier because he was one coach that recruited me on the circuit.
Favorite class you took?
I really enjoyed a lot of the classes I had to be honest. But you could say that a documentary film based class, which was an elective of my English major, which taught me everything from how to shoot films in connection with angles but also creating the complex content that gives the film a deeper meaning and message. I learned so much from watching different types of films on the daily and it's something so easy to do. Especially for the people out there who don't enjoy reading so much lol. Shout out to Joy Young! Also all the classes I took with Father Kemp were classes I always enjoyed because they helped me put my life in perspective. His classes made me critically think about my life in connection to the world and what my purpose was. Much love to all of my professors over the years.
Favorite win in a Hoya uniform?
Syracuse in The Phone Booth
Origin of your trademark #YaKnow twitter hashtag?
I can't remember exactly when I started using it but I just know I used to say it a lot and after a while it was just something I said when I wanted to put the stamp on something I said or did. So after every picture and tweet I just started putting #YaKnow now when people see me they always say #YaKnow especially around Gtown it's funny.
Still sticking with Brill Clinton for your nickname, or is there a new one?
I like Brill Clinton because of the connection to Gtown but I might just start using my own name as time goes by, as for now Brill Clinton chillin lol
Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions! I'm sure we'll see your jersey up in McDonough soon enough.
I hope so & thanks for reaching out to me because I see this as an outlet for me to get some of the interesting thoughts and ideas that I have stored out there. I really appreciate the love and look forward to chatting with you in the future. This is the start of something special.
- Brill Clinton
HoyaSaxa #H4L #YaKnow