Fogg keeps clear head concerning his professional basketball futureby Javier Morales on Jul. 16, 2012, under Sports
LAS VEGAS — His last name is Fogg, but his head is not in a fog when it comes to his future, even under what some would consider trying circumstances.
Houston has played three games in the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas since Friday, and the Rockets only have two left. Kyle Fogg’s playing time: Zero minutes. Monday afternoon, with the same fervor he showed at Arizona, Fogg went through the daily routine of a shootaround and a pregame warmup before the Rockets played Jimmer Fredette and Sacramento at the Thomas & Mack Arena.
Fogg, an undrafted guard trying to embark on a professional career either in the NBA, the NBA’s Developmental League or overseas, faces the daily grind and playing uncertainty with a positive outlook. He joked with teammates during the warmup drills. He remained in good spirits on the Houston bench throughout the Rockets’ 113-91 win over the Kings.
Not even in a rout did Fogg get time on the court. A lesser person, thinking playing time is owed to him since he is on the roster, would start to sulk or become frustrated.
“They’ve had an opportunity to see me play (in practice),” Fogg reasoned. “They like me as a player. It’s just about getting better in practice every day.
“I want to show them that I can be an even better player down the road … I just have to be ready for when my time comes and show people that I can play.”
A consolation: Five other players on the roster have yet to play and four others have played in only one of the three games.
Houston’s coach in the summer league J.B. Bickerstaff — the former Oregon State player and son of ex-NBA coach Bernie Bickerstaff — is utilizing the personnel to the command of head coach Kevin McHale (who sits courtside here).
“You look at our roster, and we’ve got a lot of youth and there’s a lot of opportunity for them,” J.B. Bickerstaff said in terms of drafted players, returners and acquisitions under contract.
The Rockets’ strategy is sticking mostly to playing seven players they want to see perform in game conditions, including a trio of first-round draft picks this year — shooting guard Jeremy Lamb, wing player Terrence Jones and power forward Royce White.
The others are one-year NBA players, power forward Marcus Morris and point guard Courtney Fortson; undrafted rookie point guard Scott Machado; and rookie Lithuanian center Donatas Motiejunas (obtained in a trade from Minnesota, which drafted him in the first round in 2011). Machado is getting significant playing time because point guard is a position of need for Houston.
Fogg admitted the lack of playing time is “definitely kind of discouraging”, but that’s because he was unable to perform in front of family and friends who made the trip to Las Vegas from his hometown of Brea, Calif., over the weekend. They have returned home.
“I want to get out there and play for my fans, friends and family,” he said. “I am going to be ready for the opportunity. Hopefully I can get on the floor in these next couple of games.”
Fogg, 6-foot-3 and 188 pounds, keeps a clear head about his situation because of encouraging words by others, including former UA teammates Chase Budinger and Derrick Williams, both with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
“I have talked to Chase a lot and also Derrick,” said Fogg, who averaged 9.6 points in his UA career, spanning 139 games (119 starts). “Those guys just tell me to stay with it and keep working and eventually my time will come.
“I saw Derrick here (Sunday night). He thinks I am good enough to play at that level (NBA) and it’s just up to me to show my stuff.”
Fogg will continue to work on his game and play as much as possible after the NBA Summer League ends this week. No summer vacation for him. No time off.
He plans to work out near his home in Brea and also in Tucson later this month leading up to when NBA training camp opens in October.
“Everything is just kind of going by too fast,” Fogg said about his experiences after earning his degree after the spring semester. “It’s been kind of tough after the season ended. I am working every day and getting better.
“I am following my dream of playing in the NBA. It feels great just to be able to hoop every day and not really have to worry about anything else.”
Fogg’s work ethic and team-first mentality has made a good impression on Houston’s brass. Scouts from other teams might not be able to see him play here but the Rockets know much about him. Word also travels in the NBA.
“They know I am a great guy off the court,” he said when asked what he has to offer at the NBA level. “I am also a great defender and a guy who can really spread the floor when he gets out there.”
SUMMER LEAGUE NOTES: Williams started Monday night for Minnesota in the Timberwolves’ 73-64 win over the Los Angeles Clippers. He had 15 points and nine rebounds. He also had a highlight-reel alley-oop dunk. … Former Santa Rita High School player Terrell Stoglin went scoreless in three minutes in Toronto’s 85-75 loss to Dallas on Monday. Stoglin has scored five points with no assists in a total of 10 minutes through three games. … Darryl Eto, a former head assistant strength and conditioning coach at the UA from 1991-97, is Houston’s director of strength and conditioning. … Fredette, who set a McKale Center record with 49 points in BYU’s 99-69 win over Arizona on Dec. 28, 2009, is an obvious crowd favorite here in Las Vegas. He received the loudest cheers en route to his team-high 30 points in Sacramento’s loss to Houston.