June 26th, 2012
By Joe Kotoch and Lia Crawford
If basketball players weren’t blessed with their over six foot frames and talent on the court, where would they be instead after college graduation? Robert Sacre’s answer to this question is not what one would expect.
He said, “I would love to be in PBR, Professional Bull Riding. Or bull wrestling, something in the rodeo scene most definitely. I don’t see myself in a cubicle.”
Though Sacre is a true country boy, fans won’t see him on a mechanical bull anytime soon. He said, “The temptation has always been there, but I have basketball. After basketball is said and done, I can dislocate a shoulder on it, why not?”
His unique answers portray just a small part of a big personality. Sacre wows interviewers, easily turning a simple Q and A into an hour-long conversation filled with many laughs. He has a charm about him that makes people want to hear more, and we sure did.
Pertaining to his interviews with teams and the media, Sacre's personality and attitude can seal the deal. He said, “I think I’ve handled my interviews really well. Some teams will throw some questions that will try to knock you off your horse. But it’s nothing you haven’t seen before or you haven’t answered before, so you just come through with the best answer that you can give and just go with the flow. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, you’ve got to just embrace it and have fun with it.”
At Gonzaga, Sacre was among the all-time leaders in blocked shots and his coach Mark Few said "Until you feel Robert, you can't prepare for him. He really brings the contact." Few went on to add that Sacre was among the most physical players he ever coached Gonzaga, which is impressive considering Ronny Turiaf played under Few.
Having coached Sacre for four years, Few saw an immature and raw kid turn into a had working leader. "He improved through sheer will and hard work."
The draft process has gone well for Sacre thus far. He said, “It was exciting at first and it’s been great, it’s been a great experience. Like I said before, it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity and not a lot of people have the chance to have this experience. I’m glad I went through it but I’m also glad it’s only one time that I have to go through it.”
The basketball aspect of Sacre’s journey through the draft hasn’t been the reason that he is glad that this is a one-time experience. Instead, it’s the journey through the airport lines that makes him weary.
He said, “The toughest part (of the process), no question, is probably having to check your bags in and go through airport security. The basketball is the easiest part!”
Though he says he manages, all the seven footer can do is just hope for an exit row without the tight squeeze. His 15 workouts and the constant traveling is a whirlwind for Sacre, making it hard to recall the last time that he was back with his family in his hometown of North Vancouver.
On all of the long trips traveling without his family, including his 8-month year old son, Sacre has his iPod to keep him company. As a genuine country boy, Kenny Chesney and Toby Keith grace his earphones on the long plane rides while a variety of magazines and movies keep him entertained.
Sacre isn’t just all fun and games, however. When it comes to basketball and the upcoming draft, he knows that he has a goal to accomplish. Even on the road where he sees many fellow draft hopefuls that he has built friendships with, Sacre still keeps his head in the game.
He said that he doesn’t hang out with other players outside of workouts often because “you’ve got to take this as a job, no offense to them, they’re great guys but we’re still going after the same job. You can’t take offense to it but were all trying to compete for 60 spots so you’ve got to be realistic. It is friendship but its war at the end of the day when it comes to basketball.”
Sacre’s determination is attributed to the fact that his basketball skills are as strong as his personality. His physicality through contact in games and both his offensive and defensive post skills make opponents want to stay out of his way. His biggest strength however is the energy that he brings day in and day out, even while sitting on the bench.
He said, “I have a motor. Not a lot of people my size have a motor like I do. I’m always going and always positive. I can’t be knocked down; I have to keep moving especially when it’s a game. Even if I’m on the bench I want to be rooting my team on, always giving them a lot of energy.”
His support from the sidelines for his teammates at Gonzaga is bound to also easily carry over to his future team. Not only does Sacre build friendships with fellow players, but with his agent, Keith Kreiter, as well. On Sacre, Kreiter said, “He’s one of the best people I’ve ever been around in my 20 years in the industry.”
Their relationship extends far beyond basketball, they communicate everyday and don’t even talk about basketball half of the time. Kreiter’s straightforward attitude and ability to make Sacre feel instantly comfortable made for an effortless search for an agent.
So with the NBA draft just a couple of days away, Sacre already knows where he will be. He plans to be with his family, including his son, in New Orleans after his workout with the Hornets. Sacre, however, will not be watching the draft. Instead, he’ll be enjoying spending time with his family barbequing outside and waiting for his phone to inform him of the impending draft news.
Sacre’s journey through the pre-draft process has been a once in a lifetime experience that he hasn’t been taking for granted. He’s been inspiring himself everyday to work hard toward his goal of being called on draft night.
He said, “I’ve been pushing myself, I recently got another tattoo—damn tattoos—it’s based off a book called Waters of Bamboo. I’ve been using that inspiration, it’s a metaphor saying just keep working and working and eventually everything will work out.”
With a strong physical game and a personality like Sacre’s, there is no doubt that everything will indeed work out for this draft hopeful. If not, Robert Sacre can still find a place in PBR as a 7-foot bull rider.