The Humble Duck
Oregon-bound Dominic Artis is ready to make his mark on the Pac-12.
SLAM: Have you guys developed a family-type bond? Will you stay in touch going forward?
DA: Yeah, for sure. We all lived together in the same house, you know, so we have a lot of memories together and all that. Those guys are definitely my boys.
SLAM: Anthony Bennett recently committed to UNLV. With Oregon high on his list, I’m sure you would have loved to play with him…
DA: Yeah. I mean, I knew it came down to us (Oregon) and them (UNLV), so of course I was a little upset, but I was happy for him. He feels like he made the best decision for himself, so you have to respect that.
SLAM: Does being labeled ‘undersized’ place a chip on your shoulder?
DA: Absolutely. I always keep the haters in the back of my mind. They’re the ones that make me go even harder. People always focus on my height because it’s convenient to point out, but what they don’t realize is that it’s all really inside. Plus, I’m developing my floater, so if I get in the paint against big guys, I’ll be prepared.
SLAM: What are your goals for your freshman season at Oregon?
DA: I’m trying to come in and win Pac-12 Freshman of the Year. That’s kind of my goal I’m striving for; every time I’m working out, that’s on the back of my mind.
SLAM: Oregon hasn’t been to the NCAA Tournament since 2008. Is getting back to the Tourney one of your goals?
DA: Yeah, definitely. Not just getting there, but we also want to make some noise. All the guys really want to make a name for the Oregon program.
SLAM: Coming in as a freshman, you’ll most likely be the starting point guard, and will have a big responsibility to lead the team. Do you feel any pressure?
DA: Yeah I feel the pressure; I mean a lot of people, a lot of Oregon fans are already hitting me up on Twitter. It’s a lot of pressure, but I’ve been playing this game for a long time, so I’ll just take it one game at a time and I’ll be alright.
SLAM: What is your biggest strength on the court?
DA: My ability to create for others, by getting around my defender. I get the big men involved by getting into the paint and dropping it off to them. I’ve also been working on my floater and mid-range, as Coach Altman has told me to do.
SLAM: What about your biggest weakness?
DA: I’m working on getting bigger. Every article I read says I’m too small. But I actually hit a little spurt, so I’m 6-1 now, and I’m just trying to physically get bigger.
SLAM: You’ve played against some great point guards throughout your high school career. Who would you say was the best?
DA: Ah, that’s tough. I can’t give a definitive answer, but I would probably say Kasey Hill, from Montverde High School (FL), and also Kyle Anderson. Kasey’s speed is very difficult to defend, and Kyle is an absolute beast, especially since his mid-range game developed.
SLAM: Who would you say was the best all-around player you’ve played against?
DA: I’d probably say Nerlens Noel. He was like a cheat code against us; at some point in the game, it was pointless to even go in the paint, because he blocked everything.
SLAM: You were born and raised in California. Are you a Lakers fan or a Clippers fan?
DA: Neither. My team is the Golden State Warriors. We’ve been down for the past couple years, but my team is definitely the Warriors.
SLAM: I feel that. So you’re not a fair-weather fan, huh? Respect.
DA: Oh nah, that’s my squad. I’ve been a fan ever since birth.
SLAM: What’d you think of the Monta Ellis trade?
DA: I didn’t like it, I didn’t like it. But I mean, I see what they were trying to do, and what they were trying to bring to the organization and all that. But I wish Monta could have stayed.
SLAM: Who were some of the players you watched growing up? Any favorite players, or guys you model your game after?
DA: Growing up, I was a big Brandon Jennings fan. Also, Chris Paul and Deron Williams. I try to get tape on all those guys, and try to learn stuff from there.
SLAM: Who’s your NBA Finals pick?
DA: I wanna see the Heat and the Thunder, and I think the Heat will win the title.
SLAM: Outside of basketball, what music are you listening to these days?
DA: I listen to guys that get me pumped. Waka Flocka, Lil’ Boosie and Lil’ Wayne, pretty much.
SLAM: You’re a west coast guy. Are you a Kendrick Lamar fan?
DA: My boy had recently played some stuff from him, and he sounded real good, but I don’t have him on my iPod. I gotta get on that.
For more on Dominic Artis, be sure to check out SLAM 159, currently on newsstands everywhere.