Q&A with Victor Oladipo

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By Jamieson Welsh.

Right after Victor Oladipo hit the session ending three-point shot to give his squad the win in today’s scrimmage, I had a chance to have a quick chat with him. We talk all things from his experience at team USA camp, his rookie year, being on Jordan Brand and much more.

How would you evaluate your day two performance?

I think I did OK. Still room for improvement. I did a great job of competing at both ends of the floor, I just gotta keep on getting better at that.

What were some of the things you wanted to improve upon in this training camp?

Just being able to try score the ball in different ways. The biggest thing I’ve got to improve on is definitely the exposure. I’m out here playing with the best in the world, you know, All-Stars and elite players in our league and so I’m just blessed and fortunate for the opportunity.

Seems like you have that dog in you; you like going against the best, am I right?

Yeah, it’s no question. Coming from PG County… There’s was a lot of great players from our County growing up and that’s what we had to continue to do to prove ourselves.

What are some of the things going into year two that you want improve upon?

Being a leader is one big thing. Being a consistent leader and working hard. I think the biggest thing is like I said, being a leader. Being able to be lead my team when things are going good and when things are going bad. Just be consistent.

What was your most memorable rookie experience this past year?

Playing my first game in Indiana, where I went to school at and them giving me a standing ovation while I got subbed in was an experience ill never forget. I was nervous but it was a great opportunity for me. I’m looking forward to doing it all over again. But, hopefully we can get a win this time!

How much easier is it being here with a teammate (Tobias Harris) going through the same process?

It is a lot easier. I pretty much spend a lot of time with him. He lives down the hall from me in Orlando so it’s great to experience something like this with someone you’re so close to. It’s great to have him here. Someone I can hangout with, someone I can talk to about anything, pretty much.

How is it being on Jordan Brand?

Its a great experience, blessed and fortunate to be apart of an experience that is bigger than myself and I’m looking forward to the future that holds with Jordan Brand. I’m just going to continue to keep going.

Jamieson Welsh is a #BTHype US Correspondent & will be covering games across the West Coast for believethehypeNBA.com this season. He’s currently covering Team USA Camp for Castle Country Radio. Follow him on Twitter:@theejamieson

Q&A with Gordon Hayward

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By Jamieson Welsh.

Today, I caught up with newly re-signed Utah Jazz swingman Gordon Hayward for a chat. We spoke about a variety of questions including USA hoops, leadership on the Jazz, favorite cities to play in, the free agency process and much more.

Are you looking forward to showing out for the people who don’t normally get to watch you play?

Yeah I am. I’m looking forward to it. Anytime you get a chance to be here and play for USA to get that spotlight on you it good. We don’t always get that in Utah so I’m looking forward to showing everyone what I got.

Whats going to happen for the Jazz this upcoming season?

Were going to gain experience, that’s what we’re going to do. We’re young. I’m one of the older guys at 24, I know I’m one of the veteran experienced guys going into my 5th year… Which is pretty crazy to think. We’re going to learn a lot this year and I’m excited on what we are going to do with our new coach and what he’s going to help us achieve. But, we’re going to grow and learn together.

How does it feel to be the face of the franchise?

Well its good for them to believe in me. For them to match the offer was huge and now the pressure’s all off. It feels good to be back in Utah and I’m ready to go.

How do you adjust to playing with a new group of guys? It’s not like you’re playing with your NBA team where you kind of know everyone. How is it to adjust to all these guys around you in a short period of time?

To be honest, It’s not that hard because they’re so good. Everyone is such a good basketball player, out there playing the game. You know if you swing the ball [he's] going to make something good happen… You don’t have to do everything by yourself.

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Whats one of the things that bring out the competition going against these guys? Is it working on something in particular on your game?

I think you work on everything. For me its going to be a lot of shooting. I’m going to shoot the ball as well as I wanted to last year. I’m going to come out here and space the floor. That’s kinda what i’m looking to do. Spread the floor and knock down some shots… Offer the guys some penetration is how i’m going to really separate myself.

For a guy that is the face of the franchise, where do you like playing on the road?

Indianapolis is always where I can’t wait to play, because i’m from there. That’s a little bias. I love playing in L.A. Even if they’re bad, it’s still fun to play in the Staples Center. I guess the the Lakers and then of course the Clippers. Other than that i’d probably circle Boston this year because of my former coach. I see that as a rivalry, we went one and one last year.

How would you rank the Utah Jazz fans amongst the others in the league?

Utah fans are at the top man. Even though we’re bad, the Jazz is all they have in Salt Lake. They really cheer us on and we love that.

 Jamieson Welsh is a #BTHype US Correspondent & will be covering games across the West Coast for believethehypeNBA.com this season. He’s currently covering Team USA Camp for Castle Country Radio. Follow him on Twitter:@theejamieson

Q&A with Damian Lillard

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By Jamieson Welsh.

Today, I had the opportunity to catch up with Damian Lillard for a chat about Team USA hoops, the defensive side of his game, the Portland Trailblazers, Adidas and more. Check it out!

How would you evaluate your day two performance?

I thought I played well. Shot the ball better today and got after it defensively as well. I think that’s one of the main things that’s going to get me a spot on this team. They know I can shoot the ball, make plays. Being able to get out there defensively is going to increase my chances.

I know if there’s a flaw that people talk about in your game, it’s on the defensive side. Is that a goal to improve upon?

Definitely! I got better from my rookie to my sophomore year and I want to make sure this season I make another leap. Everybody doesn’t come into the league as really good defenders. A lot of guys struggle for the first couple of seasons or just not the greatest. I understand the process and I just want to keep getting better at it and eventually be a great offensive player and a really good defensive player.

As the face of the franchise and one of the leaders of the team, what is the next step for the Portland Trailblazers?

The next step is not being satisfied. You look at San Antonio, OKC and Miami the past couple of years. You look at how consistent those teams have been over the last couple of years and that’s where we want to get to. Being a top team every year. All because we were a top team this past year doesn’t mean we will be on this year. We have to understand all the little things we did to make it possible.

When I say the Oakland in your game, what does that mean?

Attitude! Confidence! My approach to the game. Just the toughness.

How does it feel to be one of the faces of Adidas Basketball?

It feels great. Just because I’m beside other great players. Adidas is a great great brand. I’m just happy that I could be one of the faces to represent that.

Did you envision this coming out of Weber State?

I hadn’t even looked this far ahead to be honest. I was just focusing on being an NBA player I didn’t have time to be looking for that.

 Jamieson Welsh is a #BTHype US Correspondent & will be covering games across the West Coast for believethehypeNBA.com this season. He’s currently covering Team USA Camp for Castle Country Radio. Follow him on Twitter:@theejamieson

Q&A with DeMar DeRozan

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By Jamieson Welsh.

Today, I caught up with DeMar DeRozan in Las Vegas to chat about his time so far at Team USA camp, off-season open runs, Southern California NBA players, his favorite kicks for both on and off the court and Roscoes chicken and waffles, among other things.

DeRozan is coming off an All-Star season with the Toronto Raptors and is looking to make the USA basketball team that will compete in the FIBA World Cup in Spain later this summer.

Demar how would you evaluate your first two days of USA camp?

Getting comfortable doing all the little things. Step outside of your game a little to play with some of these great players.

Does it bring your game up playing and competing against fellow All-Stars and other great players?

For sure, without a doubt no question about it. When I’m out here competing against DeMarcus Cousins, Kevin Durant and John Wall. When you look around and gotta play at a high level and it won’t do nothing but make you better.

How do you go from playing in the Drew League and Sky West to coming to the USA camp?

This is my job. When you have a job you can’t slack wherever you at. Especially as it can be tougher at the Drew or Air West, because guys want to make a name against you and prove that they can go against you…So you have to be on your A-game on both sides of the fence.

Does California have the best ballers in the league?

For sure. No question. You can name so many players, I don’t think you can do that nowhere else.

For DeMar DeRozan what’s the main thing you’re going to be working on this summer?

My overall game honestly. Become a better player and I’m not satisfied with anything that I did last year.

RIFLA or Flight Club?

RIFLA, those are my people.

Roscoe’s or anywhere else in Cali?

Roscoe’s!

IN-N-Out or Five Guy’s

Five Guy’s

(NOTE: I disagree here but here to each is own)

What is your favorite on and off court shoe to wear?

I’m a Kobe guy. I’ve been wearing Kobe’s ever since I’ve been in high school. Off the court it’s anything Jordan honestly. I gotta go with the J’s!

Jamieson Welsh is a #BTHype US Correspondent & will be covering games across the West Coast for believethehypeNBA.com this season. He’s currently covering Team USA Camp for Castle Country Radio. Follow him on Twitter:@theejamieson

Joel Embiid in love triangle with Rihanna and the Bachelorette…..probably

As the NBA summer rolls along, some things never change and thankfully one of those is Joel Embiid’s Twitter game which remains strong as ever.

After recent attempts at wooing both Kim Kardashian and Rihanna over Twitter, the Embiid romance rollercoaster took another wild turn. Embiid ”revealed” that Andi Dorfman……the girl form the Bachelorette had in fact chosen the Philly big man over actual contestants Josh and Nick.

As far as moving on from Rihanna, Embiid’s brilliant Twitter avatar suggests otherwise.

If the creators of NBA 2K15 have any sense, the will be bringing the #Johanna cover to stores near you soon.

Embiid Avatar

Rihanna even gave Embiid a follow on Twitter a few days back so it appears we have the age-old case of the NBA/singer/reality TV star, love triangle. A subject which my sources confirm has a whole three-hour seminar dedicated to at the Rookie Transition Program, so i’m sure he will be just fine.

I will actually never get sick of this guy. Ever

#PlayOnPlaya

What’s in store for Steven Adams’ basketball camp

Let Steven guide your children today.

Let Steven guide your children today.

By Hayley Byrnes.

NBA stars are few and far between; some are born with natural talent, others need nurturing. That’s why when I think of “Basketball Camp”, I think of none other than my friend* Steven Adams. I mean, where else are your kids going to learn how to source MVP’s as best mates or how to take an elbow to the head? It just makes sense. Steven begins running his camp over in New Zealand next month, so let’s take a look into what the children of tomorrow will be learning.

Learn how to get your opponents suspended while looking innocent.
Here, Steven teaches the rare skill of “provoking”. From Nate Robinson to Zach Randolph, Adams teaches your children the art of getting under the oppositions skin.  Not everyone has been so blessed to grow up playing rugby like Steven. Kicks to that head and broken bones are as common as a fan wondering why Kendrick Perkins hasn’t been amnestied. Future skills to pay the bills.

Learn to not be a dick!
If there’s one thing I can relate to Steven the most, it’s being a Kiwi in America. When you’re not dealing with another “throw another shrimp on the barbie” quote or explaining that no, you don’t know any hobbits, it’s your job as a New Zealander to make our country look great.

“For me once I go out there to America I’m pretty much representing all of New Zealand because most people haven’t met New Zealand people, so I have to take that into consideration. If I’m like a dick, then they’re like New Zealand guys are dicks. If you’ve just got a normal Kiwi attitude then they’re fine with it” said Steven in Auckland yesterday.

So go forth and be dick-free today!

Being a Kiwi is rad.

Following the lead from Flight of the Conchords, Adams is letting the world in on the Kiwi dry sense of humor. While often regarded as nonchalant, Adams has proven time and time again how important it is not caring about interviews. Be candid, never smile and always make reporters nervous. Adams reminds New Zealanders that their power is in nobody knowing where the hell you’re from. Keep it up, Steven!

Learn real estate with Steven.

Steven knows property. He knows that a clothesline is neither here nor there, he knows his wood, and he can point out the perks of a double oven. Steven Adams Property Developer? Sign me up!

Grooming with Steven.

That hair gel game doesn’t just create itself. Steven will teach your children the art of  the “Scoop and Swoop” – sticking your hand in a tub of gel and hoping for the best. See, this is what makes Steven a double-edge sword, he doesn’t only rely on his hair-gel game to get him over the line, oh no. There is also “Summertime Steven”, a special look Steven crafted throughout this year’s Summer League. Short on testosterone and lacking facial hair is a common occurrence throughout the youth of today, and Steven showcases how to pull off the wispy mustache with conviction.

“I don’t think you’re ready for this gel-ay”

“I don’t think you’re ready for this gel-ay”

Steven will extend your vocabulary

Some players will cruise through a decade of  NBA and leave us with nothing — but not our Steven. Instead he’s generously given us more than most stars in a lifetime.

On his first year in the NBA:

“Probably the biggest thing is the private planes. Wow, that thing’s amazing. Got all the food on there, a bunch of drinks. I don’t know, It’s just amazing, never seen nothing like it. Tables, tables on planes, that’s amazing.”

On Oklahoma City:

“The winter is like, I was sliding around everywhere, it’s really cold. Like thunderstorms, it’s so hot. I was like, ‘Oh, man’. I don’t want to say it sucks, but it’s borderline.”

On watching Kevin Durant play basketball:

“I was amazed like the first time, like ‘Whoa, this is cool’ in practice. But after some time, you get used to it and now it’s just like ‘Cool.’”

“Steven Adams – An elbow in time” – on bookshelves soon.

Steven teaches why New Zealanders are better than Australians.

For most, this is a daily struggle and many misguided Australians go about daily life still not understanding the basic concept – New Zealanders are way cooler than Aussies. While it’s easy to make excuses for the Australians given their low IQ and reluctance to acknowledge their superiors, Steven had been an avid Aussie basher from the start and has used his profile to get the message out there.

“I search out Aussies and make it my job to make their lives miserable” Steven said back in May.

What a guy. Hopefully Steven continues his selfless crusade to get this message out to more people.

It’s OK to be hated.

So what if you got that kid sent off throwing a punch? That’s not your problem! Steven teaches it doesn’t mater if you piss people off, as long as your team is winning.

On people not liking him?

“Kinda sad, to be honest with you. I don’t like people not liking me. I like to think I’m a likable guy. And when they elbowed me, I’m like, “Aww, that’s our friendship out the door.”

*Steven is not really my friend although he should be.
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Hayley Byrnes is a New Zealander living in the fine city of Miami. She runs game-face.net & covers the Miami Heat for SB Nation’s HotHotHoops.com. Follow her on Twitter: @HayloHaylz.

#BTHype catches up with Brock Motum

MOtu Summer LeagueToday, Tom & Benyam caught up with Brock Motum at Australia’s pre-FIBA World Cup camp for a quick chat.

The boys chat with Brock about his season playing in Italy with Bologna and his development playing with the Boomers throughout the year, leading into making the Australian team for the upcoming FIBA World Cup.

The boys also look back on Brock’s recent experiences playing for the Utah Jazz Summer League team alongside fellow Aussie Dante Exum.

The audio for this also appears in Episode 203 of the podcast.

Check it out!