Long before he joined the Houston Rockets, P.J. Tucker was developing his trash-talking game at Texas University, as J.J. Redick recently recalled.
For as long as we’ve known him on the Houston Rockets, P.J. Tucker has been a bulldog on the court. He holds his own down low against seven-footers, makes winning plays, and sacrifices his body while doing it.
We’ve seen Tucker’s fiery on-court nature as recently as Game 5 against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Houston’s opening round when he and Dennis Schroder were both ejected for an altercation. Whether it’s communicating on defense with teammates or going at opponents, P.J. has never been shy of letting his voice be heard on the hardwood.
On a recent episode of his podcast, The Old Man & the Three, J.J. Redick had former Texas Longhorn Kevin Durant as a guest. Redick and Durant began reminiscing about college days when Redick gave a funny story about facing Tucker while playing for Duke.
“P.J. is talking sh– to me the whole second half,” said Redick. “We’re up like, 25 or 30 points for most of the second half. So I get fouled, I’ve got 39, and P.J. is still yapping at me! The refs are telling us to shut up. I’m at the free throw line, I’m like, ‘yo, P.J, I’m about to have 40, and you’re down 30. Why are you talking sh–‘?”
Seeing Tucker’s tough attitude on the court, it’s a funny image to picture him still giving Redick the business despite being down 30 points. That kind of intensity is what makes P.J. such a fan favorite and is why he’s beloved in H-Town.
Duke ended up defeating Texas 97-66 in that game, with Kevin Durant in attendance to witness the slaughter. “You were on fire that night,” Durant admitted to Redick.
Tucker averaged 13.4 points and 8.2 rebounds in three years at Texas, with it recently being announced that he’d be inducted into UT’s Hall of Honor.
Stories like this one are why the city of Houston will always have a soft spot for the toughest center in the league. Never change, P.J.