Post-Press Conference Bits with Dante Exum, Rodney Hood and Quin Snyder
** Who are you?
I’m a chill, down-to-earth guy. Like a, you know, not much of a partier or anything like that. I like to stay at home, play video games, stuff like that. Just resting, and when I’m not resting, it’s in the gym.
** Do you prefer to play on or off the ball?
My preference is on the ball, but you, to be in a good team and have good chemistry, you need to sacrifice something, and I think both me and Trey [Burke] realize that at certain points we’re gonna have to play off the ball and it’s just gonna be a thing we’re gonna share.
And you know, one night it could be that he’s better suited to play the “one,” and the next night it might be I’m better suited, but you know, it’s just about adjusting to what the other team gives us.
** Hardest matchup of your life?
World championships against Vasilije Micic from Serbia. Just a strong point guard, and got into the paint and found his man and they were able just to knock shots [down].
** Which NBA player are you most looking forward to going up against?
Derrick Rose. He’s coming off his injuries, and I’ve been a fan for a few, for awhile. So you know, I’m excited for him to get back on the court and then get a chance to go against him.
** Which sports did you play besides basketball?
I did play [football] a bit. You know, I just realized it wasn’t the sport for me. I could run, was faster than everybody, catch the ball, but I just couldn’t kick the ball….I did track and field also.
** (From year-old interview) Will you get the customary NBA full-sleeve tat?
No way. No chance. No. My mum has already told me no.
Rapid fire with Dante Exum
** Favorite shoe of all time: Adidas Crazy 8s
** Kanye or Jay-Z: Kanye
** LeBron or Kobe: Kobe
** Favorite video game: Battlefield 4
** Favorite candy: Reese’s
** Favorite superhero: The Hulk
** If you could pick a walk-up song for when you get drafted: Drake, “Trophies”
** Pets: Dog named Cleo
** Favorite non-basketball pro sports team: Essendon football club, Australian rules football
** If you had to pick one, Instagram or Twitter: Instagram
** Favorite Instagram follow: Kevin Hart
** What don’t fans know about you?
I’m just a young southern guy, you know, low-key guy. Not really high maintenance. I’m an outdoors person. You know, I love to fish. Love to, you know, just to meet new people and things like that…I love going out and meeting fans, and being, you know, being in touch with them. So, it’ll be a good transition.
** The last game you played was a hard pill to swallow. How much are you looking forward to your next game?
That game was hard for me to swallow. I watched it, you know, before I started the pre-draft process, and, just to humble myself. And you know, it was great. It was great just to look back and reflect on that.
And you know, I wanted to go back to school after that loss, but you know, coach [Mike] K[rzyzewski] told me to calm down and just weigh my options some. But you know, I’m just itching to get to summer league and, well, just get to [summer league] training camp, actually, get familiar with the guys, get to summer league.
** Why did you decide to transfer from Mississippi State to Duke?
When I was at Mississippi State, you know, most of the people that I came in with within the program left, you know, one way or another, so I decided to start fresh myself, and you know, Duke, coach K was one of the first coaches to call, and I felt like it was a no-brainer for me to go to Duke. I felt like they would push me to be the best person and player, you know, that I could be.
** Defense has been one of the knocks on your game…
I think, you know, that’s a underrated part of my game. You know, I think, I mean, I guarded the best players in the game at Duke. And you know, it’s gonna be a adjustment for me, but it’s gonna be easier than people think…Weaknesses are kinda magnified in the draft, but you know, once coach Snyder and everybody sees me, how I’ve been working on my defensive game, you know, I think they’ll be surprised.
** You grew up playing point guard. What has been the progression of your basketball career?
I played point guard, you know, pretty much all my life. Played in city league and then junior high and high school. I hit a growth spurt around my eighth grade year. I grew to 6-5 at the end of my eighth grade year. And my ball skills, I kept working on ‘em, and I played point guard all throughout high school.
But once I got to, you know, once I got to college at Mississippi State, you know, I realized, you know, it’s, Magic Johnson is gone, you know, and I became more of a scorer and a shooter, and I still had a little ball-scree–ball skills. I was able to do really well in ball-screens this year, and I want to carry it over into the NBA.
** Hearing that if you play a game of hoops against your girlfriend, you could lose…
Oh naw. Oh naw. I let her win one time a long time ago. I never heard the last of it. So, she never wins anymore.
** What will be your living arrangement in Utah?
Starting off, I’ll probably be by myself.
** Rodney’s dad, Ricky, is a “big Jerry Sloan fan.” (DN)
Rapid fire with Rodney Hood
** If you could pick a walk-up song for when you get drafted: Big K.R.I.T., “Mt. Olympus”
** Most embarrassing song on your iTunes: Beyonce, 1+1
** Magic or Bird: Magic
** LeBron or Kobe: Kobe
** Kanye or Jay-Z: Jay-Z
** Rihanna or Beyonce: Beyonce
** Last movie that made you cry: The Notebook
** Favorite NBA team growing up: Memphis Grizzlies. It was the only team around Mississippi at the time.*
** Favorite non-basketball pro sports team: New Orleans Saints
** Most points you’ve scored in a game: 48, sophomore year of high school
** Weirdest thing a fan has ever said to you: Some fans ask you to hold their babies, their newborn babies, which is kinda weird.
** If you weren’t in the NBA, what would you be doing: Playing baseball
* Hearing the ESPN crew talking about how Glenn Robinson was drafted 20 years ago made me feel old. I think this made me feel even older. (The Grizzlies moved to Memphis in 2001.)
** What is it about Dante Exum that makes the hair on people’s arms stand up?
I think it’s a couple things. One, he’s a very charismatic player. Just the way he goes about the game, everything he does, he does with charisma. And it’s not flash. It’s just, there’s kind of a, his game kind of exudes some respect, and it’s nice to see that. It’s like a refreshing, kind of purist game. And the other, that would be all fine and good, but if he wasn’t as fast as he is, you wouldn’t get to see those glimpses. So I think his speed and his burst is unique.
** I have this vision of you as a mad scientist playing around, moving stuff. Give me the mad scientist view of Trey Burke and Dante Exum on the floor together.
Ironically, there isn’t a whole lot of madness in that science. It’s, those two guys really fit each other well. I think we have tendencies to name positions. You know, in that sense, really, they’re both point guards, but they’re both very different.
We wouldn’t, it’s a unique position, so I think people look at it and in people’s minds, it’s difficult to have two of them, whereas if you had, you know, we don’t differentiate as much between Enes [Kanter] and Derrick [Favors], for instance. They’re just, they’re both forwards; they’re both centers; it doesn’t matter.
I think the same is true of guards. And a long time ago, there was, you know, Walt Frazier and Earl Monroe. There was [Joe] Dumars and Isiah [Thomas]. Whatever those guard combinations were, they won. And they were two of the best, you know, five, sometimes two of the best three players on a team, and that’s how I see these guys potentially…Especially if we play in transition, then positions just kind of fall away.
** On coach K and Rodney Hood
I called [coach K] during the draft. He wasn’t at home, so I had to call his mobile. I try not to call his mobile…The thing he said that stands out–he said a number of things [about Hood] as a player–but he said, “He’s a kid you wanna be around every day.”
And I thought to myself, “That’s good, because we’re gonna be around each other every day.” And that’s, yeah, that says a lot for Rodney and what those people in that program think about him.
Unintentional Dirty Quote Machines (UDQM)
** Dante Exum on his post-draft party: I was planning to go in and go out, but you know, that didn’t happen, so I got back at, like, 3 [a.m.]
** David Locke to Exum on his mad interview skillz: You’re stunningly good at this. You were really good last night. I think you got tired after about the 23rd interview and I watched you go through that whole rigamarole. You really were good today. Do you know why, like, what is it, of why you’re comfortable doing this?
** Rodney Hood on the early flight his family had to catch to Salt Lake: It was tough to get up that early.