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Q & A with minor league point guard Anthony Slater of the WBA's Rome Gladiators

May 18, 2007 - World Basketball Association (WBA) - Rome Rage News Release

Rome, Georgia - I had a chance to sit down and speak with minor league veteran, Anthony Slater (college: Florida Atlantic), currently a member of the Rome Gladiators pro basketball team (WBA). Anthony may be one of the most under-rated point guards in the country, and is looking to carve a name for himself in the coming year, in order to silence his critics and prove that the "pass first, score second" mentality that he possesses as a floor general produces wins on the court everywhere he goes. Slater topped the WBA leaders in assists last season, with 9.9 per game, while leading the Cartersville Warriors to a 21-5 overall record, the Eastern Conference Title and a birth in the Championship Game.

Q & A Session with Anthony Slater, PG, Rome Gladiators...

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DA: You have been a soldier of the professional minor league basketball ranks, logging time in several leagues. Tell us where all you have played?

AS: I have had the experience to play in the CBA, ABA, SEBL, WBA, USBL, and in Europe.

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DA: Would you say that many basketball scouts and executives, in today's basketball climate, have not been able to completely see the value of a traditional point guard like yourself?

AS: Well I do think Point Guards like myself are very rare in the minor leagues. I have been coached by some great coaches, such as Tim Hardaway (ABA), Nate Archibald (USBL), Sidney Green (College) and Mark Wade. Those in the basketball industry know who Mark Wade is. I am a "pass first" point guard, which I feel has helped my teams be successful during my minor league career. Through out my career, I have always been told to be a true point guard, and I may need to shoot a little bit more at times, but wins and losses means a lot to me. Getting my teammates shots has always given my teams the opportunity to win games. Coaches and Scouts compare me to a John Stockton, kind of an "Old School PG". I focus my game on defense and getting my teammates the ball so they can score baskets. Many point guards want to score 30 points, but a loss is not big deal to them. In contrast, I just want to put up 12 points, dish out 10-12 assists and win a championship. There are NBA teams that need a "true" point guard, but being at the right place at the right time, you can say, has not happened yet. So, I know I have been a good point guard, but now it's time for me to be a great PG, as I enter this WBA season. Hopefully, I get the chance to prove myself again this summer.

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DA: You have had some opportunity to work out with some NBA franchises during the off-season. Tell us of your experiences during your NBA summer work-outs and leagues...

AS: I have worked out for both Dallas and Orlando. It was a blessing to work-out with the Mavericks and Magic. They were very big workouts for me, because they are guard orientated. I had to bring my "A-game." You learn a lot and also getting the opportunity to work out for NBA teams is what you work so hard for every year. It's tough because the odds are high before you even get there, so you have to work extra hard when you get to the camp. It seems like on TV it's a 'piece of cake,' but there is more to the game than just running up and down the court. At the NBA level you have to really be a student of the game and take in everything they teach you. But it's a good feeling to be in that atmosphere and experience provides me with more knowledge each time. I have already been contacted about going back to work out with Dallas this summer. If I continue working hard, hopefully, with what I have learned previously my chances will improve.

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DA: You are beginning your second year in the World Basketball Association. How would you compare your experience in the WBA with other minor leagues around the USA?

AS: The WBA is very under-rated league, because it's in the summer and I think scouts and look at it as a league where guys play just to put up numbers. But the league has some serious ball players than can play on the 'next level' and can make NBA rosters. This season I want a chance to get back to the WBA Championship again, while also sharpening up on my skills and staying top shape. The minor leagues can be very unstable, and the WBA has had it's difficulties, but it seems to survive and you gotta respect the league for that. Granted it's not the NBDL, but I will put it up there against any of the other leagues in the country in terms of competition. The WBA has former players in every league, from the NBA to Europe. I really enjoy playing in this league.

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DA: Last year you helped to lead the Cartersville Warriors to the WBA Eastern Conference Title and the WBA Tournament Championship, eventually falling in an exciting double-OT game to the Rome Gladiators. What was your experience like with the Warriors, who were a first year team in WBA?

AS: You never know what to expect playing for a minor league expansion team. Because with my experience playing for a couple of minor teams that have folded, that fear of playing for a new team is always there. But last year was not the case. It was great. We competed night in and night, proving to the WBA that we were one of the best teams in the league, and also around the country. I was playing with a good group guys, we were well-coached and all gelled together well. Something unique about our team was we competed very hard in practice, but that's because we were very talented - 12-deep - so all were determined to get to the championship game. We were every bit as good as Rome last year and had our chance to pull the Championship Game out, but you cant win them all. Rome was a great team, with the veteran players to win a campionship, so I gave them credit. But can't complain we were an "expansion team" who weren't even expected to be as good as we were.

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DA: And, this season, with the Warriors not returning to the WBA, you have moved over to the two-time defending champs, the Rome Gladiators. How did that transaction come about and what to you expect to accomplish as a Gladiator?

AS: Well of course it is a honor to play for the Rome Gladiators, but also challenge for myself to see if I can lead another team back to the championship. Of course I am playing for a former coach [Gerald Oliver], so I am very aware of his system. I just have to be able to play along side new faces, which shouldn't be a problem for me, because I have played on too many teams, and under too many coaches, not to adjust properly. The staff likes me, so I hope the city of Rome likes me as well.

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DA: You opened your 2007 WBA season on Saturday night with a typical Anthony Slater performance of 12 points, 15 assists and two steals however the Gladiators lost to an old nemesis in the Hardhats, 119-102. Tell us how the game progressed, and what the Gladiators team will need to get things on the right track in the early-going of the season...

AS: First off, I'm not being boastful but 12 points and 15 assists is a typical night for me. If given the time on the court, I can produce those kind of numbers every night. I wish we could of gotten the win on opening night, but you win some and lose some. But, we were down early in the game and the Hardhats took control of the game and really killed us inside. No excuses, we just got beat and couldn't bounce back from a 16 point deficit. Without inside presence it's really hard to win games. It's the first game of the season, so I can't really tell how the season is going to go. But once we get all our players in from overseas, we will be a dominant team in the WBA. Right now the other teams have been practicing and playing a couple of games together, so they already have their kinks out

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DA: You are playing for a master at player development in Coach Gerald Oliver in Rome this season. Having played for Coach Oliver in the ABA (Knoxville), how do you hope to benefit from the opportunity to continue playing for a coach who really puts a lot of effort in the development of pro basketball players?

AS: Well it's always good to play for a great coach, such as Oliver. He knows the game front to back, and inside and out. He has coached some of the best NBA players, so it's a blessing and honor to play for a coach like Oliver. As a player you figure you know everything about the game, but once you have met Oliver, you realize you don't, because he teaches you everything - and I mean everything. Working with Oliver is going to help me get better and help me take my game to another level. It's not rocket science, but as a player, you just have to be willing to listen to him.

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DA: What do you hope to accomplish as a member of the Rome Gladiators this season? And, where to you ultimately hope to advance to next in your basketball career?

AS: Of course my goal is to lead the Gladiators back to the Championship game. I feel if I can get there again, it will open more eyes across the country to show I am a winner and a good ball player, one that has been overlooked over the years. I will continue working hard and just put everything in God's hands. Where he leads me is up to him. Other than that, I will let my "game" speak for itself.

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DA: Has life after playing professional basketball crept into your mind? If so, what are your plans once your playing career is completed?

AS: Life after basketball is always on every player's mind, because you dream of playing forever, but I know it will end at some point. I will know when it's time to hang up the sneakers and give back my knowledge of the game and become a coach or a scout for some team or organization...

Notes: Slater will try to lead the Gladiators to its third consecutive WBA Title this season - a tall order for the new-look Glads as they came into this season with a 44-6 record over the past two seasons, including an undefeated playoff mark (6-0) the last two years. Slater and his teammates, 0-1 on the young season, will be back in action this Saturday night when they take on the Gwinnett Ravia-Rebels in Rome at 7:00pm.

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World Basketball Association Stories from May 18, 2007


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