In today’s media session (click here to read the log from Day 1), I was able to speak with Evan Turner amongst the media, as well as speak with Paul George, Patrick Patterson one-on-one, and Larry Sanders.
Could you talk about the rich basketball culture in Chicago, given that you’ve grown up in an area that’s produced talents like Isaiah Thomas, Quentin Richardson, and others?
Yeah, I just think basketball has always been a big thing in Chicago. It’s a competitive sport. Kids have a ball before they can walk. Everybody grows up playing it. It’s the thing to do during the summer. I used to play basketball from like 11 a.m. all the way to [midnight], so I think it’s a very competitive sport and just the way life is out here.
How did Thad Matta help prepare you for the NBA?
I think just mentally. He’s really big on the mental aspect of the game. He says everybody has talent but not too many are mentally tough and they crumble. I think he’s gotten me prepared for being positive, always have confidence in myself, and just preparing right. Working hard and not letting a day go by or an opportunity go by.
What makes your play-style so conducive to the next level?
I think I was blessed with the ability to slash. I picked up the game and learned how to find my teammates quicker … use the ball screen. I think it’s just a players’ game. I play basketball and I just work on different type of things to be ready for the NBA game and it’s a players’ game. I feel like it’s just basketball.
The NBA has become more of a league dominated by wing players. How do you think you’ll take advantage of the game in its present form?
Being in the Big Ten where they could carry you up the court pretty much and not getting any fouls called, I think I’ll adapt to it well. Definitely I have to get used to it on the defensive end because you can’t use your body or your hands. These are pros now. It’s their job to make shots. It’s their job to attack and everything, just have to be smart, really use your technique, and really use your fundamentals.
Some of the players I spoke with yesterday said that the college game is more physical, so how do you think you’ll adapt yourself to the league where it’s more spread out and what not?
The pace is going to be faster and the length of people [is different]. Somethings it’ll be tougher to finish at the rim and that’s pretty much it. The pace is going to be way quicker. Better athletes … you might face a guy your height or taller, as opposed to facing a guy who’s a little bit shorter.