When it comes to “Schitt’s Creek,” the breakout television comedy that swept this year’s Emmy Awards, no one needs to fill in Miami Heat forward Kyle Alexander on the premise.
He lived it.
The rundown Rosebud Motel where series stars Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara saw their characters attempt to rebuild lives after their wealth was lost? Alexander was housed there for two years while attending Canadian basketball powerhouse Orangeville Prep in Ontario.
“Lived there for about nine months of the year, twice, so about 18 months total I spent living in there,” Alexander said in an interview with the Sun Sentinel during a break in the NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers. “(Denver Nuggets guard) Jamal Murray was actually my roommate the second year. We had some good memories.”
And, yes, it very much was a last-chance motel setting, nothing like the bubble life that Alexander, a rookie forward out of Tennessee on a two-way contract, has experienced the past three months at Disney World.
“It was not too far off from what you see on the show,” he said with a robust laugh. “They picked the hotel for a reason. And I’m not trying to make it sound bad, Orangeville Prep, because they have a whole new facility now. Because of how well we did, they actually got a bunch of funding and created a whole living facility for the new guys coming in. So they have it great now.”
Back then? Not so much.
“It’s in the middle of nowhere,” he said of the motel. “The place looks a little run down. It wasn’t the best situation. It was like sulfer water coming through the taps; so it smelled like rotten eggs all the time. It was an experience.”
One Alexander didn’t initially realize would be part of a six-year phenomenon.
“Their first year filming was my senior year. We had heard they’re filming a show,” he said.
“And then they told us a couple of years ago that the show they filmed is on Netflix, it’s called ‘Schitt’s Creek.’ So one day I took the time to watch it, and it’s really cool to watch them pull up to where I lived every single day and to be in our rooms. The main room they show them is the room Jamal and I lived in.”
The interior of the room, Alexander said, was an upgrade on the reality shared with Murray, now a breakout star with the Denver Nuggets.
“I want to honestly say it was a little worse when we lived there,” he said, with another laugh. “Our room was just a room, a mini fridge, two beds and a little hanger rod for our clothes, and like a dresser.”
At one point, Alexander and his teammates had to vacate, with the show’s production company moving them for two months to an upgraded hotel.
“They brought us all down in a bus and they let us watch them film a couple of scenes,” he said. “It was awesome. It was really cool.”
But no face time with Levy, O’Hara or the show’s cast.
“I didn’t get to meet anybody,” Alexander said. “I didn’t expect them to make time for a couple of high school kids.”
For Alexander, who had breakout moments for the Heat both in 2019 summer league and then this past season in the G League, it was part of a whirlwind that had him picking up basketball at 16. He said he then had about two weeks to decide about joining the Orangeville Prep program, and, well, winding up ‘Schitt’s Creek.’
“I remember thinking, ‘I don’t know about this.’ ”
©2020 Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)