“One of the best questions I got, a couple of times actually, was why do you like playing defense? Why is defense important? To me, that’s a really important question. I told them offense doesn’t always go every single day. Shots don’t fall all the time. But defense is something you can do every single day. It’s all about hard work and whatever you can do to help your team win.”
When did you adopt that defensive mentality?
“I’ve had it a lot. In high school, that was something I took pride in. And especially when I got to college I got in there and defense was how I got playing time. I really realized that going into it, offense wasn’t what I was brought there to do at first. So defensively I wanted to be somebody that could come and lock somebody down and rebound because that was what would get me on the floor. And once I saw how that affected the game and got me more time then I really adopted that mentality.”
Do you take more pride in scoring or shutting someone down?
“Shutting someone down. There are so many scorers in this league. The NBA’s got all the scorers they need. But there’s always room for guys to come and lock people down. And that’s somebody I want to be.”
What did the coaches tell you after summer league that they’d like to see you work on?
“I think it’s a lot of different things. Continuing to work on my offensive game, working on ball-handling and shooting. Just continuing to expand my game. I think that I’m somebody that can be really versatile for the team, and I think as long as I keep working on a variety of things it’ll help me see time.”
BY DARNELL MAYBERRY