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Getting to Know Joe DePre E-mail

ImageJoe DePre hails from the 1970 ABA & NBA draft classes. He was selected by the ABA's New York Nets and the NBA's Phoenix Suns. We checked in with Joe to find out more about his high school and college days leading up to the pros, what he's up to nowadays, and his impression of today's generation of ballers.

Joe grew up in Long Island, New York. He was a natural athlete that excelled in basketball, football, and track & field. His early accomplishments include All-League football, two-time County Champ in track for high hurdles and long jump, and All-Metropolitan Basketball (1966). It's impressive that DePre received Division I scholarship offers in all three sports. He ultimately chose basketball over the others and worked hard on his game while attending St. John's.

Originally a History major, Joe decided on Criminal Justice after returning to complete his degree requirements (graduating with 156 credits). Although he didn't attend Law School, DePre is successfully established in a related field, managing claims and overseeing Adjusters who handle litigation cases across the country for a major insurance company.

We were all ears as we got further insight from Joe in a Q&A session:

The Draft Review
Today's draft involves a great deal of hype and fanfare. Give us your take on the eventfulness (or lack thereof) of the ABA/NBA drafts, and the game in general during your time in the 70's.
Joe Depre
The Draft was very exciting in 1970, as there were two leagues drafting ball players. To this day, I believe the class of 1970 was the best draft ever. Review the 1st and 2nd round choices that year: Pete Maravich, Geoff Petrie, Jim McMillian, Calvin Murphy, Nate Archibald, Charlie Scott, Mike Maloy, John Valley, Bob Lanier, Dan Issel, Rick Mount, John Johnson, Sam Lacey, Jim Ard, Jimmy Collins, Sam Robinson, Mike Newlin, Rudy Tomjanovich, Dave Cowens, Greg Howard, and many others. Some list! Many All-Pros!

The Draft Review
In the ABA you played 2 full seasons and 1 very short 3rd season. What were the events surrounding your exit and how would you sum up your ABA career?
Joe Depre
My ABA career was too short. As a rookie I shot over 51% and averaged 16 PPG when I became a starter in January 1971 (despite not having any plays called for me at shooting guard). Regarding my abrupt departure from pro basketball, in the year I was released, I outplayed every guard in Camp: Bill Melchionni, John Roche, Bob Lackey, Brian Taylor, and Ollie Taylor. This can be confirmed by Peter Vescey. Brian and I were the best backcourt combination in camp. Besides scoring, both of us were fast, and could play defense. There were other factors not related to my playing that caused my release, but no fault of my own.

The Draft Review
What were some memorable highlights during that time?
Joe DePre
I averaged 18 PPG in the second exhibition season, including 20 back to back point games against the Baltimore Bullets and Boston Celtics (up against Earl Monroe, Freddie Carter, Kevin Loughery, John Havlicek, and Jo Jo White). The highlight of that exhibition game was when the late Red Auerbach advised me and my high school coach, Ed Krinsky, "your boy can certainly play NBA defense and score too!" That was some compliment, coming from Red. And we won both games.

The Draft Review
What was life like after your exit from the pros?
Joe DePre
St. John's University afforded me a great education. After I returned from playing in Israel with Coach Herb Brown (Larry's brother) and winning the championship, I began working as Supervisor with Allstate Insurance, moved up the ranks, and have been in claims since 1986.

The Draft Review
What are your thoughts on how the game has changed over the years?
Joe DePre
The current players all jump higher and are athletic, but they can't shoot as well (overall) as we did, and are not as smart on the court.

The Draft Review
How closely do you follow basketball now? Who have been your favorite players throughout the years?
Joe DePre
I watch pro, but mostly college. Tim Duncan plays hard, and I love his laid back demeanor, just like Walt Frazier. I saw Phil Chenier knock Frazier down in a game. Walt never changed his expression, just got up, took his foul shots, then made 7 or 8 baskets in a row on Chenier. That's how you do it. There's so many players I like - Julius Erving, Nate Archibald (best 6 foot guard ever). Then of course there's Magic, Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, and Ron Boone (from the ABA).

The Draft Review
A handful of today's players sometimes exhibit negative off-court behavior, potentially affecting their career. Throughout your collegiate and pro days in the late 60's and early 70's, did you also hear about or witness similar situations among your peers, or have times simply changed for the worse?
Joe DePre
Please don't get me started on some of today's players. Some of the behavior off court is atrocious and downright criminal. No, it wasn't as bad as today. Basically, most players chased women, but didn't carry guns, etc.

We came away from our conversation with Joe DePre impressed with his friendly demeanor, his upbeat attitude while sharing on his exit from the ABA league, and his continued passion for the pioneering days of the pros and the players that shaped it. Let's not forget that Joe DePre was among them.



0 #1 Guest User 2007-07-22 23:33
Wasn't DePre's Nets coach Louie Carnesecca...his coach at St John's? What kind of issues could he have had? I'd like to see him expand on that.

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