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Russell Westbrook Q&A

by Darnell Mayberry Modified: April 12, 2013 at 5:54 pm •  Published: June 26, 2008

UCLA guard Russell Westbrook answered media questions soon after the Seattle Sonics selected him fourth overall. Here is a transcript of the teleconference.

RW: I’m very excited to be a Sonic and I’m looking forward to next season. I’ve been working so hard to put myself in the best position possible, and I’m very excited.

Q: Are you surprised you went this early?
RW: Not really. I worked so hard over the summer and tried my best to do as well in the workouts as possible. And it’s paid off. I’m very excited.

Q: Did you ever think about where you would go?
RW: I felt that I might go for. But you never know because of trades and things like that. But I was just sitting there waiting for my name to be called and it got called pretty early. And I was very happy to hear it.

Q: What do you think about playing with Kevin Durant and Jeff Green?
RW: (Those) are two good guys. I talked to Kevin Durant before the draft. He was real happy for me and congratulated me and things like that. Kevin Durant was the Rookie of the Year last year. I’m looking forward to getting him shots, getting him open and making him a better player as well.

Q: Do you consider yourself a point guard?
RW: I consider myself playing the point guard (position) at the next level. I’ve been working hard this summer. I’ve been playing point guard all my life pretty much. Now for the rest of my time I can show it to the whole world playing at the next level.

Q: What’s one area of your game you’d like to see improve?
RW: I see myself sometimes going to fast at some points, moving too fast. That’s one of the things I would like to improve at, seeing the game slower and slowing down sometimes.

Q: Can you talk what the past year has been like for you?
RW: It’s been real crazy. Every day I just thank God. I’m blessed. I wake up every day and I thank God. I just work my tail off every day to try to become the best player I can possible become. And now, it’s finally here now. It’s like starting all over again. So I’ve got to do the same thing again.

Q: Do you know Earl Watson? What’s your relationship like with him?
RW: I just saw Earl before I left L.A. and he was congratulating me and things like that. Earl is a real good guy. Coming to the Sonics, I know Earl would teach me some things before the year.

Q: What do you think about joining a team that could be moving?
RW: I feel great. The Sonics is a great organization regardless of where it is. The team is great as well, and I know we’ll do well as an organization and a team next season. I’m aware that the Sonics might play in either city, but I don’t think that’s a big issue. I feel a team that has good chemistry and a good organization (won’t) have a problem.”

Q: What’s it like going back-to-back with your teammate Kevin Love? Do you have bragging rights over him now?
RW: (Laughs) Nah. Not really. Kevin was my roommate all last year. He’s a great friend and a great teammate. I’m very happy for him and his family. This is what we dreamed of playing at UCLA, and it happened for us both. We went four and five. I’m real happy for Kevin.

Q: What were you emotiongs when you talked to the Sonics and found out you were going to be picked fourth?
RW: I was real excited. I was just like, ‘Wow. I’m finally here. I’ve got a chance to walk up to shake David Stern’s hand.’ I’ve been thinking that all throughout my childhood, watching the NBA Draft growing up. And now it’s finally here.

Q: What’s the atmosphere like at the draft, and who are you with?
RW: My mom, my dad and my little brother. The atmosphere’s great. It’s been great hanging with my family. I love my family to death. It’s just been a great experience overall. Every other player’s family is here and it’s just been great. It’s all been very exciting.

Q: When did the Sonics inform you that they were looking to take you with the No. 4 pick?
RW: When I went to work out there. When I went to work out there they thought I did a good job. My agent let me know that they would consider me at this pick. They got to see me a couple of times in L.A. and I just tried my best to work hard every day regardless of who’s in the gym. You never know who was watching.

Q: At what point did you decide you were an NBA prospect, and when did you decide you were going to enter the draft?
RW: Throughout the year it never came to my mind. Every night I just prayed and thanked God for every opportunity I got to play the game. I just went out and gave it my all every game, and it gave me the opportunity to become an NBA player.

Q: Was there a poing during the season when you started considering the draft?
RW: Not really. I wasn’t trying to focus on the NBA or nothing at the next level. I tried to focus on our year. And toward the end I kind of thought about it. And then at the end of the year I felt I was ready to make the next step.

Q: Can you talk about all the freshman that went in the early part of the draft?
RW: (Those) are some good guys. I respect all of them. O.J., Derrick Michael Beasley, all those guys I respect them. Some of them are the same age as me and those are good guys. I’m very happy for them and their families.

Q: Are you surprised there were so many freshman taken?
RW: Not at all. They are good players. They are good caliber players. They’re some of the top players in the country as freshmen, so I’m not surprised at all.

Q: Do you have any unusual hobbies off the court? What makes you stand out?
RW: I’m real laid back off the court, hanging out with my little brother when I go back home. Just hanging out listening to music if I’m not working out and just being myself. Just hanging out and enjoying life, every day just thanking God like I said.

Q: Are you surprised being where you are after being a guy who couldn’t dunk in his junior year?
RW: Oh yeah. Kind of sort of. I was working every day, but I never thought that I’d be able to jump. I used to run in the sand…and it paid off at the right time. I’m very happy for it.

Q: How important was it for you to stay on the West Coast?
RW: It means a lot. But my family’s going to come to the game regardless of where I’m at. My family’s always with me and I’m always behind my family as well.

-DM-

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by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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