His Father's Son, Westfield's Hubbard Shows His Versatility

By B.J. Koubaroulis
Special to The Washington Post
Thursday, December 6, 2007

As he squeezed his 6-foot-6 frame into a desk in his Westfield High School classroom, senior forward Maurice Hubbard was surprisingly comfortable.

It's all part of his "roll with the punches" attitude.

The approach has helped the 17-year-old, who averaged 16 points and 10 rebounds last season, adjust to his environment after moving three times before he was in the seventh grade.

It's also helped Maurice, known as 'Mo,' shrug off his critics.

"They say I'm selfish and I'm living off my dad's name," said Hubbard, the son of Washington Wizards assistant coach Phil Hubbard.

Maurice talked about the opportunities his dad has created for him, and explained how his father helped him improved his game during offseason Wizards pick-up games at Verizon Center. He talked about how he and his father will break down game tape together.

Then he leaned forward, unfolded his hands and said: "I know he's there helping me, but he can't do everything on the court for me."

Phil Hubbard is one of four players who has had his number (35) retired at the University of Michigan, where he led the Wolverines to the 1976 NCAA championship and helped the U.S. Olympic team win a gold medal that summer in Montreal. He spent 10 seasons in the NBA with Cleveland and Detroit and was an assistant coach at Golden State and Atlanta before coming to Washington.

"There's always going to be comparisons," Phil Hubbard said. "I'm in basketball. He's in basketball, so that's just a natural thing. I think it's very tough, but I think he's handled it well, knowing that there is always going to be some comparison. That's why he's picked the places that he's picked, so that he can get his own identity."

Maurice recently signed a letter-of-intent with Ball State -- a program recently rocked by allegations of racism. Following last season's 9-22 finish, coach Ronny Thompson resigned, citing a racially hostile work environment.

Before choosing Ball State over Minnesota, Virginia Commonwealth, Akron, George Mason, and Penn State, Hubbard welcomed his dad's help as the two launched their own independent investigation.

They wanted to see if the school was right fit for Maurice, "whether he is black or white," his father said.

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