Pacific West Hops
A Q + A with Peyton Siva.
Peyton Siva has some serious ups; the kind that leave defenders shaking their heads and bring crowds to their feet. The 5-10 Seattle dynamo put down his first flush when he was in 7th grade and hasn’t let up since. Of course, there’s more to one of the nation’s top point guards outside of the 59 YouTube videos that highlight his increasing ability to play above the rim. Still, it’s hard not to be impressed by Siva’s ability to hang for so long, you’re pretty sure he has a time share at rim level.
Siva’s explosive hops, tight handles and propensity for dropping dimes has made him a prep star and gave Louisville head coach Rick Pitino plenty of incentive to lock up a commitment from the All-American and have him run his offense next season. Pitino and Cardinal nation got a glimpse of what to expect in ’09-10 when Siva dished out a game-high 9 assists in the McDonald’s game. In addition to his appearance in the mother of all high school all-star games, Siva has been able to add Washington State Player of the Year to his resume as well; no small accomplishment given that fellow All-American Abdul Gaddy resides in the Evergreen State as well.
Ever the consummate floor general, Siva says he has taken the most pride in helping to lead Franklin High School to its second Washington 3A State Championship in his four years. With some down time ahead before he makes the trip east to begin his college career, Siva took some time to chat with SLAM.
SLAM: What’s going on Peyton?
Peyton Siva: I’ve just been working out lately, getting ready for the Big East and college ball.
SLAM: You’ve had a lot of individual and team success this year. Out of all the awards and achievements from the year, what has meant the most to you?
PS: Winning a state championship was the most important to me. It wasn’t just about me and how I played, it was about how my team played and how we all did it together. That was what mattered the most this year was going out and winning a championship with my teammates.
SLAM: You had a great showing in the McDonald’s All-American Game. What was that experience like for you?
PS: It was just a blessing from God to be able to play in that game. A lot of people didn’t expect me to be there, so I just wanted to show that I belong with all of those great players. I had a great time out there and got to play the game that I love.
SLAM: Usually in these All-Star games everyone plays selfish basketball, but you were all about the team. Why the different approach?
PS: I knew a lot of these games are all about people wanting to score all the time. I was going in already knowing that I could score, so I was just going to give the ball off to the scorers there. I came out with all of the assists and we won, so it was good.
SLAM: I’ve got to ask you about that 360 move you pulled on Avery Bradley, that shot was all over SportsCenter the next day.
PS: It was really just a basketball play. I felt Avery coming up behind me, and I just tried to get away from the defender. Lucky I was able to pull that one off and make the shot, otherwise I would have been pretty embarrassed.
SLAM: You were in the McDonald’s Dunk Contest that week as well. It’s rare to see a guy at 5-10 competing in a dunk contest really at any level.
PS: The dunk contest was a lot of fun. I mean, me being the small guy I had a lot of weight on my shoulders, but just going out and competing with them was fun. I tried to save some of my better dunks for the finals, but unfortunately I didn’t make it. I just had fun out there and tried to show that I can jump well.
SLAM: At the Derby Classic a couple of weeks ago when you were announced, you came out and kissed the Louisville logo at center court. Trying to get the crowd hyped for next year?
PS: I was just trying to show them I’m here for them. I’m trying to bring more success to Louisville.
SLAM: What was it about Louisville that made them the ultimate choice?
PS: It’s a great coaching staff and a great basketball state. I enjoyed it a lot when I was out there; it was a lot of fun. I’ve always wanted to play for Rick Pitino; he’s a great coach and a great teacher of the game.
SLAM: There were a lot of major schools out west that were recruiting you including Arizona, Gonzaga and Washington. Was there any pressure for you to stay out west?
PS: There was a lot of pressure. My family really wanted me to stay out here so they could see me play and be close by. But I always wanted to get out there and play basketball. They tried to get me to stay, but it didn’t work [laughs].
SLAM: You’re going to be joining a team that won the Big East last year and is losing two great backcourt players in Andre McGee and Terrence Williams. Are you feeling any pressure coming in?
PS: Yeah, there’s a lot of pressure. They’re coming off one of their best seasons and replacing those guys is going to be hard. There’s new guys coming in but the goals are the same, we’ve just got to step up.
SLAM: As a point guard, when you look at the Louisville roster and see Samardo Samuels, Terrence Jennings and incoming freshman Rakeem Buckels as the big guys that you get to give the ball to, what are you thinking?
PS: Man, my eyes just light up. Those guys are very talented players. All I have to do is throw them the ball and they’re going to get their points. Next year that’s going to be my job, distribute the ball to those guys and get them easy buckets. I can’t wait to play with those guys next year, I think they’re very talented and good at what they do.
SLAM: What’s the game plan until you head to Louisville in the fall?
PS: Well right now I’ve just been working on my school work and doing some extracurricular activities. I do a TV show for my school, and I’m involved in the drama program too. I’m just trying to keep myself busy and hang out with friends. I’m working out a lot too; [Louisville] wants me stronger and ready to play right away.