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A Father’s View: Rod Ivey shares his thoughts on his all-star son

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After garnering MVP honors in the 1999 PSAL Class A championship game at Madison Square Garden and being recruited by a couple of mid-major colleges, Ivey went to Blair Academy for a year and drew the attention of Texas coach Rick Barnes.

Ivey started almost every game of his four years for the Longhorns, splitting time between point guard and shooting guard. The Hollis native is widely known as one of the top defenders in the country.

Last month, Ivey played his last on-campus game and his family made the trip from Queens. His father Rod Ivey agreed to share his thoughts and feelings with the TimesLedger.

By Rod Ivey

When the college basketball season started, I remarked to my son, “Gee, Roy, do you realize that everything you do this year will be for the last time?”

Royal’s single-mindedness did not allow him to entertain such thoughts however, I think his reply was something like, “Damn straight, Pops.”

When high school players make their college decision, one of the determining factors usually is the closeness of the institution.

Staying close to familiar surroundings, family and friends seems to help the transition to the next level. Indeed when schools like Central Florida and University of Texas-El Paso called, we didn’t take them seriously. Picking a school is a gamble, and if things get difficult, it can feel worse when you’re not home and alone.

But when the University of Texas offered, Roy visited, and there was no way he wasn’t going to take advantage. It affected the family’s visiting options, though. When this season started, we had visited the Erwin Center just once to see two games.

And one of those games was the only game of Royal’s four-year career in which he did not play. But this year I’ve visited Austin twice.

The luxury of waiting for a better opportunity had expired.

The tomorrows were fleeting.

One of those trips was for Senior Night and the whole family traveled, including grandparents, mother, brother as well as father.

I thought I would be emotional and wasn’t looking forward to it, being the last game and all. It was like a countdown to the actual last time he would wear a college uniform.

Because Royal has had such a great career, my own identity has been subjugated to his. My name is not Rod Ivey anymore. I’ve become Royal’s father.

What happens after that point is unknown and scary because I’ve had such a great time. But Roy will be all right. He always lands in the right situation.

As it turned out I wasn’t emotional, just proud. The ceremony consisted of the five seniors, their families, their jerseys framed and another set of jerseys suspended from the rafters temporarily.

The ceremony occurred before the game and the stands seemed half filled, but by the time the families strolled out one by one, the whole stadium was full.

I didn’t feel nervous, but I was swinging my arms and chewing gum so wildly that my wife Jennifer had to grab me.

There was a short introduction and then the crowd went wild after each player’s name was called as they ran onto the court. It ended quickly and we took our seats as the game began.

We prayed that they would win like we usually do. We definitely didn’t want them to lose in their last game. Surprisingly, the emotion that I didn’t feel during the ceremony cropped up when the game was over.

When Royal ran up to the crowd under the basket and high-fived his fans, it hit me that his career was indeed over, except for the details. Thank God for the tournament, but that will also end soon. God only knows how I will feel then.

Posted 7:03 pm, October 10, 2011
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