Hometown: Canton, Ohio
photo by Bruce Ely/Portland Trail Blazers
Is it weird to be considered an NBA veteran at age 24?
It is a little weird since this is only my third year. I wouldn’t say I’m a veteran, but I’ve experienced a lot, and seen a lot and been on some good teams. I’d say I’m a little older than what my time in the NBA suggests.
What was your “welcome to the NBA” moment?
I’d probably say guarding people like (San Antonio’s Manu) Ginobili earlier on in my career—just getting a better understanding of how good they are with the ability to draw fouls and the ability to score. In the NBA, if you’re a young player and you come into the game, it’s like an unwritten rule the other team sees it and draws up a play for you to get scored on every time. It never fails. As a young guy, you don’t have a lot of respect and don’t get the benefit of the doubt from the referees.
With the Trail Blazers, is this a rebuild, reload or just a team figuring out its way?
I think it’s a team figuring out its way. We have a lot of new pieces here. It’s premature to call it a rebuild or anything else. It’s early in the season. There are ups and downs in a season—even great teams go on losing streaks. We just have to continue to build, continue to develop chemistry and put a good product on the floor.
Do you want to be here long-term? Does this feel like home?
Definitely. This is a place I’ve grown to love … I enjoy the city. I even enjoy the rain. And the food is so good—my favorite restaurants are Lake Oswego Grill, Departure, Tasty and Sons, Ava Gene’s, Piazza Italia and Ox. Coming from the Midwest, I didn’t know what to expect coming out to the Pacific Northwest. I really like it. I’d like to be here long term, eventually buy a house. I think it’d be a great place to raise a family.