Utah Jazz Draft Workout Recap, 6/12
** First workout.
** How was the workout? It was exactly what I’ve been preparing for. You know, I’ve been preparing for awhile, for someone to give me a chance, you know, waiting for that call. Someone to give me a chance, and they did, but you can’t prepare for the air. I mean, up here it’s a lot different. I haven’t been up here–obviously I went to school at Weber State, so I was used to it–but I went home back to New Mexico for about a month and a half now, and when you get back up here, the air’s a lot different.
** What is your goal on the professional level? To play at the highest level I can. You know, I just feel like I put in the work, so much work to, for someone to give me an opportunity, you know what I mean? That’s why I was so happy to come up here, ’cause they gave me a great opportunity, and so, but I see myself at the highest level. You know, I’m a hard worker. I’m a team guy. I’ll do whatever I need to do to make it to there. Everyone needs a shooter. Yeah, exactly. Everybody needs a shooter, you know what I mean, and you know, today I didn’t shoot as well as I’ve always shot it, you know what I mean, but, and as well as I’ve been shooting preparing up to this, but I mean, it happens some days, and so you just move on with it and work harder and just get better.
** What’s your best NBA skill? Shooting…I just feel like I can make shots. You know, you give me shots over and over again, I’m gonna knock ‘em down. And that’s what I’ve always been known for, so.
** What do you need to improve? I always gotta improve something, whether it’s ball-handling, defense, so, but I mean, other than that, I feel like I just, I improve every part of my game. I still work on my shooting as much as I work on everything else, ’cause you want to keep that at the highest level, so, but I have a lot of things to work on, just like everyone else, so.
** What was it like playing with Damian Lillard at Weber State? I wanted to guard him everyday. I wanted him, if he was going to score, I wanted him to score on me every time because I wanted to get better. And I think doing that helped me get better and helped me mature as a player and as a person, and you know, I know he got tired of me ’cause I would always try and guard him, do everything I could, following him, just to do everything he did so I can prepare myself to be at the highest level, but the back and forth, the competition was good.
** Altitude reference: Yes.
** What do you bring? I bring a lot of different intangibles. I’m a heady player. You know, I’m pretty mature. I’m not going to make mistakes off the court. You know, I feel like I thrive in an environment like this. It’s cause it’s more laid-back, you know, kinda like Lehigh, where you know, it’s not too much to do but at the same time it’s a very good community and it’s the only show in town. So I think that I bring a lot of scoring or different aspects in terms of, you know, being able to knock down shots off screens, being able to handle the ball and kinda run the show. So I think I bring a decent amount of intangibles and I’d say I’m one of the players that’s ready to play right now, tomorrow.
** Sixth workout. Been to Orlando, Philadelphia, Portland, Phoenix and Sacramento.
** On interviews: You’re surprised how much they know about you. They know everything. They know if you have a girlfriend. They know what color your dog is, and everything. Do you have a girlfriend and what color is your dog? I do not have a dog, but yes, I do.
** On coming out of a smaller school: What people don’t understand is that there’s guys that go to Kentucky, Ohio State, Kansas, and they struggle in the NBA. It’s a transition for everyone. It doesn’t matter where you come from. It matters how hard you work and how, you know, dedicated you are. You know, they throw out your college, your resumes are out the window. It doesn’t matter who won the championship. It doesn’t matter who was MVP. Everybody was MVP of their college and All-Conference. This is a new game.
** On playing four years in college*: I took advantage of a opportunity to get a degree. A lot of players, you know, they’re in a position where either they have to leave for their families, or they feel like they just want to explore the draft while they’re young. I graduated; I’m 21 years old. There’s sophomores in the draft that are older than me. There might be some freshmen too…I’m ready to play right now. There’s, everybody has weaknesses in their game, but I feel like my game is very rounded and I’m a chameleon. I can come in and contribute in a multitude of ways, and I feel like it’ll show when I step on the court.
* Also, he promised his mom he would graduate on time.
** Can you play point guard in the NBA? Absolutely. I feel like I’m going to.
** On David Locke: I’ve been following him [on Twitter]. I follow a lot of different media outlets, and I seen he broke down my game a little bit. You know, he was very critical of my game, as he’s supposed to be. And last night, he tweeted that I could play the point guard whereas before he said that I was gonna be a bust. And I let him know about it. You know, I pointed out, you know, oh how the tides change, you know, ’cause he broke down my game a little bit and picked the three worst games and just showed all my misses. And I was like, well, where are the makes at, you know? But I was just, all, it was all fun and games.
** Who do you compare yourself to? I watch a lot of Steph Curry. I’d say that’s a pretty solid comparison, just in terms of, you know, being in college a little bit longer, kinda being made by the tournament. A lot of people didn’t know who I was until we beat Duke. So I’d say, just his ability to knock down shots. You know, off the ball and on the ball, I have a lot of similarities to that. And I’d say he shoots better than me and I’m more athletic.
** On playing point guard A lot of people want to know what position I’m gonna be, and I look forward to showing you that…I’m a pretty good decision-maker although my assist-to-turnover ratio didn’t show that. I think it was a variety of things. You know, having to, you know, be more of a scorer. Having to take some bad shots, and it was a credit to my coaching staff and my teammates for trusting in me and putting the ball in my hands a lot and allowing me to do those type of things. So your assist numbers will go up with more talent around you? Absolutely… For instance, look at the Jazz. You got Gordon Hayward. You got Al [Jefferson]. You got Paul [Millsap]. You got a variety of different guys that are just, you know, good. Good players who can create their shot. You got a guy in the post that can score every time he touches the ball. You know, I didn’t have that. I had solid players, but I also had some doctors, lawyers, and guys that are gonna be working on Wall Street.
** People calling Enes Kanter “Ernis/Ernest”: CJ McCollum
** Was able to get info on Utah from high school teammate Kosta Koufos and also Keith McLeod (all three are from Canton, Ohio)
** What is your greatest strength? My ability to shoot and score the basketball.
** Where do you need to improve? Lateral quickness is definitely one of the things I have to work on…In terms of the next level you can never be in good enough shape, so conditioning is a big thing that I work on.
** Said his first purchases would be hiring a personal chef and an “energy-efficient car” and later clarified that meant an “energy-efficient luxury vehicle.” Currently drives a truck his mom bought his brother, who is playing overseas.
** Which player did you emulate growing up? On the court, I emulated, you know, Allen Iverson, the way he approached the game. Swagger. He was just very ruthless in terms of driving to the basket and you know, a small guy that played big. That’s kinda the guy I looked up to on the court.
** What do you do during your free time? I take a lot of naps. Watch a little bit of “Gossip Girl” and “Pretty Little Liars” every now and then.* And just breaking down film.
* I can’t tell if he was being facetious but it didn’t seem like it.
** Walt Perrin: We value more, probably more off the court than maybe on the court because of the maturity factor. (KALL, 1280, 1320, Utah Jazz)