NBL Player Profile: Gary Ervin
Steve Chalmers provides a background check on the former NBL MVP, while including what fans can expect from him with his former club for season 2014/15!
Who is Gary Ervin?
Ervin, 31, is one of the very few imports currently in the NBL that has stuck around for longer than a two year period. A crafty point guard out of Brooklyn, New York, Ervin displays quality attributes, both on and off the court, which are largely due to his upbringing.
“You know back home you can just be in the wrong place at the wrong time......Obviously that is a whole lot different to here in Australia. But that has made me who I am. It taught me to be humble because you see so many great players back home that never made it. Never had the opportunity that I have been given.” - Ervin in relation to the differences between Brooklyn, NY and Australia
His mid-range jump shot is something to be in awe of, with his transition elbow jumper a masterstroke when he's running hot. If you're on the prowl for some 'old school meets new school' combination of handles and footwork, Ervin is probably one of the best in the NBL to take notes on.
Ervin spent four years in college; two at Mississippi State and two at Arkansas. He averaged 9.7ppg at Arkansas along with, at the time, the eighth all-time leader in assists at the school with 303 (in 70 games).
After graduating he went undrafted in the 2008 NBA draft but was drafted in the fourth round in the NBA D-League draft to the Sioux Falls Skyforce. He also spent time with Tulsa and Maine in the D-League before heading north to play in the Canadian basketball league, once called the PBL, with Halifax Rainmen.
After a successful stint with the Rainmen, where he was awarded All-Star MVP honours, Ervin headed down under to the Wollongong Hawks to start his Aussie career.
His 20.1ppg and 4.5apg averages in 27 games were good enough to win him the NBL MVP in his first season. He moved to Ukraine the year after to play for BC Kyiv but couldn't resist the urges of Australia pulling him back, leading the import to head to Townsville soon after.
Recently, stints with both the Crocs and Adelaide haven't have been as successful since his breakout year with the Hawks, which may have been one of the reasons why Ervin has reunited with Gordie McLeod for the 2014/15 season.
Ervin's return to the Hawks brings relief to McLeod's system, where he will fill a massive hole left by departing guards Rhys Martin and reigning NBL MVP Rotnei Clarke. #107508936 / gettyimages.com The fact that Gary will know the system before he steps into training camp will help the team early on in the season. With the Hawks being the surprise packet of last season, coming from the grave to make it into the final four, Ervin and co. will be looking to further improve that position in 2014/15. He will be hoping his team can challenge the likes of Perth, Sydney and Melbourne, who have all improved on paper this off-season.
“I love the NBL. I just love the atmosphere, the style of play, it’s up-tempo and suits my game....But most of all I love the people in Australia. There is a bit of love-hate with the fans towards me but I love playing here. It’s a great competition. I am very thankful to be a part of it.”
If Ervin's health can be kept in check, the 31 year old's basketball wits will be a major advantage at the helm of the Hawks this season. Let's hope that his love for Australia and basketball can keep him in the NBL for a few more years so he can continue to showcase his talents.