Q&A with Gerry V

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Published: July 31, 2008

Today we've got an interview with the man, the legend, Gerry Vaillancourt. We had to go through three agents, two guard dogs and a restraining order to get our questions asked, but it was all worth it in the end. Gerry has been with the Hornets for the past 18 seasons and teams up with play-by-play broadcaster Sean Kelley to voice each game on the Hornets Radio Network. Here's what he had to tell us…

Let's get right to it: New Orleans needs you back on the radio waves in the afternoon. Any chance of that happening?

I'm currently on 99.5 WRNO FM on Saturdays and Sundays. I will eventually be back on daily. When we moved to Oklahoma City I was doing the show there and when we moved back (after having been away) management changed and resources were pooled for WRNO the upcoming newstalker. New Orleans needs another sportstalk show on a daily basis. They need an option. The fans are too solid here not to have one.

Currently I'm doing several different projects: my new Basketball Academy… TV projects… segments with out of town sportstalkers… Hornets games, plus a Hornets radio show and I will add to that. I could be doing a daily show now but moving is not in my plans. My wife and her family are from New Orleans plus I have a pretty damn good job doing the NBA (my upcoming 19th year).

What do you think of the Hornets offseason thus far?

The offseason landed James Posey. I'm sure the team is not done. As we speak they are working on the Pargo deal and will try to settle that. Also there's a need for another player that can go get it! A REBOUNDER/POST DEFENDER. Jeff Bower has a special way of doing things. When you think all is silent… BOOM! he gets something done. He is a very astute and talented man.

Let's get to some old school stuff. You've been on board with the Hornets since the early days in Charlotte. What do you consider to be the highest and lowest moments for the franchise to date?

The highest moment for the organization for me was the first jumpball I watched to open their first game as an NBA team. That was special. The lowest moment was when I got word we were moving out of Charlotte to New Orleans. I say that because the relationship between the team and the city for several years was very special. 20,000 fans per night and leading the league in attendance for those years. However the down moment became a bright tone as we have all adapted. I met my wife here in New Orleans and we have a special team plus a fan base that's wrapped their arms around us and we of them.

Also I am very thankful and will never forget the way the fans in Oklahoma City treated us. Superb! Great people! I got to know many of them with my Hornets work and my afternoon drive show at KTOK radio during our stay.

What would be your all-time Hornets starting five?

My All-Time starting five is a tough one because of the relationships you establish over the years. Chris Paul, Dell Curry, Alonzo Mourning, Rex Chapman, David West. There could easily be the entire starting five of the current team but I have to respect the friendships of the past. David Wesley was one of my favorite people. Kendall Gill, Tim Kempton, Vlade Divac… all were special people. I hope I didn't miss anyone.

What do you think was the best single play in Hornets history?

The best play or game? The current team has given us some great moments. Beating Dallas in the first round this year was special. Alonzo dropping 33 with 7 rebounds against the Celtics in the '93 Playoffs plus nailing the winner! Very special night as it was early in the team's history.

Can you give us any insight as to why Darrell Walker preferred to take an assistant coaching job with the Pistons rather than stay as Byron Scott's lead assistant in New Orleans?

I was surprised he left coming of the terrific year the team had. I heard the grapevine say he got a four-year contract which is nice security in this business. It seemed he had a very nice relationship with the staff so I'm banking that was the reason.

How do you rate the performances of Hilton Armstrong and Julian Wright at the Vegas Summer League last month?

Lets hope the summer brings us a Hilton Armstrong that is more consistent in his play. He could give you a series of good moments but then display some slippage. He needs to become a solid defender in the post and react quicker in the defensive scheme of things. You want him to be able to finish more plays.

Julian is a player that will do things "among the group." Deflections… steals… run the floor and defend. They used him at the point or point forward position in the summer league to help his confidence handling the ball and aid in his decision making. Plus it allows him to better learn and see the game. I love his length and team play. His summer play was a way to experiment and put him in different positions and situations. He'll help this team as we all saw what defense did in the NBA finals.

In the NBA it's "can you do something well… and can you do it again and again?" More consistency is needed from both players. Julian will be fine. Armstrong needs to make it happen more often.

How does Bob Licht get his hair looking so picturesque on TV all the time?

Bob gets lot of fan mail about his hair. I promised not to tell but i love "bustin' chops" so I'll tell you his hair secret… yogurt… glue and a wig.

When chicks think you're hot ya gotta do what ya gotta do.

You travel with the team to voice the road games. Any crazy stories from those trips over the years?

Road trip stories? I have some that would lay you out on the ground laughing. I'll tell one about myself…

When you travel a lot you sometimes forget your hotel room number. I remember trying to open the door to the wrong room. It was late and I had just celebrated with some old friends I hadn't seen in several years. I kept trying to open the door and a voice inside the room with a foreign accent kept yelling "Get away or I call police! … Police! Police! … I call police."

I respond "Oh yeah? I wanna see you explain how you got in my room! Open the door!"

We both call security as this poor guy is in a panic. Security shows up and we have to show ID. It turns out I was on the wrong floor. Seccurity says it happens all the time. The guy opens the door and isn't angry as he said he's tried to open the wrong room before. He travels a lot. The funny moment for me was the guy was about 5-foot 2-inches tall and lets say he's hurtin' in the looks department. However this woman is standing next to him who looks like a model! Just a knockout. She says "Honey everything will be fine… lets go back and play."

Picture security and myself with this look on our faces. This lil high voice guy and a stunning woman… simply stunning. She was his wife!!!

Byron Scott has become known as an elite coach. Is there anything in particular that you think sets him apart from other coaches in the NBA?

Byron Scott is a very good coach. I feel he has gotten better every year that I've watched him work. Plus he is great to work with. He is a straight talking coach who will be very honest with you. He has a gifted sense of humor and is a pleasure to be around. What sets him apart from others is his sense of knowing "when to work and when to play."

He takes his basketball very seriously. He knows when there is work to be done. What's special is his ability to step back and share a good story and laugh with you. I enjoy his company very much and respect his work. He simply "gets it." A good man.

Is there anything we haven't asked that you want to tell us?

This summer I enjoyed my new "Gerry V Basketball Academy." We had sessions for players that currently play on their school teams. Grades 6-8th. The kids were terrific as we really got into some serious basketball. I was most impressed with how they responded to the different aspects of the game. We treated each group as if they were a college team. I was amazed at how well they were able to grasp all we taught (and believe me it wasn't a baby sitting camp). They worked and had fun. I enjoyed being on the coaching floor again and teaching the game six hours a day. (Yes, I was tired at the end of the session.)

It proved to me that players will do what is demanded of them. If they see a coach who cares and has a passion for the game they will respond.
They want structure and teaching. I had a great feeling when we had our "Final Exams" and watched them excecute the concepts and recall the vocabulary. It will be an every year thing. We've already been asked to add an extra week or two along with a special weekend year-round session. I love teaching basketball.

Many thanks to the V-Man for taking the time to amuse and inform us. You can catch him on 99.5 WRNO FM every Saturday (8-11am) and Sunday (9-11am). Also, be sure to check out his blog over at the WRNO site.

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