1. How would you describe your overall experience so far as a rookie?
It’s mostly what I expected it to be as far as the basketball goes. It’s all about the competition, focusing on getting better every day. You have got to stay in the gym, you can’t ever settle. As far as the lifestyle, it’s a big change from what I’m used to. Getting paid to play basketball, the game that I love so much, is a big change.
2. What was it like to play in your first NBA game?
It was a dream come true. Just to get in the game, score those two points, that layup. It felt good. It felt great.
3. What was it like for you to play against your childhood idol, Kobe Bryant, for the first time?
I was sitting on the bench just watching him on the court. I was telling myself, ‘wow, he’s amazing.’ But when I got in the game it was all business, all basketball.
4. How do you think your experience with the Reno Bighorns (Development League) benefitted you?
It helped me a lot. It made me humble. It made me work harder. I think Reno was a good experience to get out and just play, get some playing time out on the court. It was really good.
5. What were your goals during your D-League assignment?
I’m just trying to be a complete player, play hard, hustle on both ends of the floor, be a team guy, and be like a glue guy for the guys down there. (Jazz GM) Dennis (Lindsey) told me he didn’t want me to go down there just to be a scorer, because they know I can score. They wanted to see what else I can do, and I think I did a good job of that.
6. What was the best part about playing with the Bighorns?
Playing. Just getting in the game and playing.
7. What was the hardest part about playing with the Bighorns?
Being away from my family.
8. What is it like for your family as you moved between the Bighorns and the Jazz?
My wife and son stayed in Salt Lake and then went back to Atlanta. That was hard. But it’s a business and we have to get used to it.
9. How do you balance the roles of being a teammate, a father, a husband, etc.?
I balance it pretty well. My wife helps me out a lot with our son which is huge. That helps things stay pretty balanced for me.
10. What has been your favorite moment so far as a new father?
Changing pampers. Yeah, that’s my favorite. (laughing)
11. What surprised you the most about life in the D-League?
Life with the Jazz and life with Reno are two different things. The Jazz kind of spoiled me. With me going down to Reno, seeing everything is not the same down there. Like I said, it humbled me.
12. How did it feel to get the call to rejoin the Jazz?
It was a blessing. It made me feel real good. I was so happy. You can ask the guys, when I walked in I had a big smile on my face. It felt real good to be back.
13. What do you think has been your biggest improvement so far this season?
Playing hard every single play. Sometimes in college you get into a mindset of taking some plays off because you were the ‘man.’ But now you have to have that junkyard dog-type mentality.
14. What do you feel you still need to work on the most?
My strength. I need to work on my strength. I need to get stronger, to be able to bang around with these guys up and down the court for long periods of time.
15. What do you hope to accomplish in your rookie season?
To keep getting better. Keep being a coachable guy, keep being a good teammate. Just getting better every day and never stop working.
16. What would be your advice to NBA hopefuls?
Keep working hard. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t make it. If you think you can make it then keep striving for it.
17. Have any teammates taken you under their wing this year?
Marvin (Williams) has. Marvin and I have a good relationship. We’ve clicked since the first time we met. We’ve been hanging out and he’s been showing me what goes on. He tells me a lot, how to be a professional and to keep working. I would definitely say Marvin, but all my teammates help me out.
18. What’s the biggest difference from college life to NBA life?
In college, you’re playing for fun. In the league, it’s still fun but it’s a business. You have to know how to separate the two.
19. What have you learned most from Coach Corbin so far this season?
To always be ready. You never know when your number is going to be called. He always tells me to stay ready.
20. Do you have a favorite restaurant in Salt Lake City?
It’s a breakfast spot, Park Café. I get the short stack pancakes. Those pancakes are huge! And I get an omelet to go with it. It fills me up.