Patrick Beverley grew up just a few miles from the United Center, so playing the Bulls in Chicago is always a special occasion.
The Chicago native will do just that tonight on Comcast SportsNet as the Rockets come to town.
"The weather isn't good," he said with a smile at Wednesday's practice, "but I'm happy to be home, for sure."
Beverley attended Marshall High, a six-minute drive from the United Center, where he averaged 37.3 points, 8.0 steals and 6.0 assists as a senior. His team finished third in Class AA with a 35-3 record, earning him third place in Mr. Basketball voting (Jon Scheyer won the award) and a top-100 ranking by Rivals.com in the 2006 class.
He signed a Letter of Intent to Arkansas, where he averaged 13.0 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.8 assists in two years for the Razorbacks. Academic troubles caused him to leave the team, and he played overseas in Ukraine, Greece and Russia for three seasons after being drafted in the second round of the 2009 NBA Draft by the Lakers.
In January 2013 he signed a deal with the Rockets and made his NBA debut a week later. He found a niche at point guard behind Jeremy Lin, ultimately joining the starting lineup in the 2013 NBA Playoffs. In that postseason, he became best known for attempting to steal a ball from Russell Westbrook -- who was getting ready to call a timeout -- and injured Westbrook's knee, knocking him out of the remainder of the playoffs.
That rugged play carried over into 2013-14, where he's started 45 games after missing time with a broken hand. His hounding defensive play and tough mindset is something he's proud of, even if some consider him a dirty player.
"It's a great thing," Beverley responded when asked about his reputation. "I'm happy that I'm getting some kind of notice. Any press is good press, I think. But my focus is, anybody that knows me is I'm about winning basketball games and getting better...I just try to do what I can do, get loose balls, get extra possessions for my team and defend."
In that sense, he plays a lot like the team he'll face tonight in Chicago. The Bulls tout the NBA's second best defense, and Beverley said it's a game he always gets up for. He was able to spend time with his grandmother and childhood friends, and even toured his hometown with Dwight Howard on Wednesday.
"There's always extra juice when I play in Chicago," he said. "It's unfortunate that one my good friends, Derrick Rose, isn't going to be playing, but it's still fun."