On Thursday, the last thing GIAC-goers might have expected was for an NBA player to show up and claim the gym for a workout. Yet, that is exactly what happened on Thursday as the Philadelphia 76ers’ P.J. Tucker took the court.
Tucker was on campus to run a private workout, something Haverford was more than willing to accommodate. ”We were happy to provide the space for him to get some work in with his trainers,” said men’s basketball head coach Patrick Doherty. He said it was “very cool to have a pro in our gym, especially one with P.J.’s resume.”
Tucker, the former Texas Longhorn, has enjoyed a successful NBA career. After being drafted in the second round by the Raptors in 2006, he bounced around in Europe before dependable stints with several teams, including the Suns and Rockets. In 2021, Tucker reached the height of the basketball world (don’t tell Noah Lyles), winning the NBA Finals with the Milwaukee Bucks. Now 38 years old, Tucker is likely winding down a career in which he became known as one of the best role-players in the league.
The men’s basketball team got a unique opportunity to see an elite player train up close. “As a basketball player, PJ has the ‘win at all costs’ mentality which is what any basketball player who wants to be successful should have…there is a lot of respect for the ‘grit and grind’ he has on the court,” said sophomore guard Jackson Juzang.
The team got an opportunity to take photos and chat with Tucker after the workout. “Anytime an NBA Player is working out in your gym, there is a certain level of excitement in the building,” said Juzang. “Getting to meet him was pretty cool. He’s a respectful guy.”
After finishing 9-16 last season, the Fords are looking to rebound this year. Rivals Swarthmore College have ranked among the best Division III teams in the country, so Haverford will have that date marked to make a statement. With the season approaching, the Fords will have an idea of how NBA players train, and can look to channel that into a positive season.
Meanwhile, Tucker and the 76ers will look to climb into championship contention once again. With James Harden trade rumors swirling around the league, the Sixers could be welcoming some new faces this season. Reigning MVP Joel Embiid will look to follow up an impressive campaign, with Tucker looking to be a key player when called upon.
Haverford will hope to welcome Tucker at another time in the future. Juzang said, “I hope he comes back before training camp starts and maybe I can pick his brain a little and get some advice as a basketball player.”