Derrick Williams, Brandon Knight Q + A
The likely top-five duo chops it up the day before the Draft.
by Kyle Stack / @KyleStack
Another day, another group of NBA prospects just a little closer to realizing their dream. Day 2 of Sean John’s 2nd Annual NBA Pre-Draft Fine Tailoring and Gifting Experience brought Derrick Williams, Brandon Knight and others through the doors.
I caught up with Williams and Knight as each got tailored for a Sean John suit. I can report there were no bow-ties in sight. (Kyrie Irving and Alec Burks also came through Sean John’s gifting suite earlier this week. Be sure to check out SLAMonline’s conversations with these Lottery-bound prospects as well.—Ed.)
Derrick Williams, Forward, University of Arizona (2009-11)
SLAM: What was that Sport Science episode like?
Derrick Williams: You know, it was pretty crazy. I asked before I left if they knew what they were gonna do on me, and they couldn’t tell me until it was finished. And soon as I saw it on the Internet, it was pretty crazy—all the mathematical things they do with it. They were showing that my release point is as quick as Kevin Durant, and I thought that was amazing. I think he’s one of the best shooters in the world. I just had my name up there with him and Kevin Martin. It’s a great feeling.
SLAM: I see you on Twitter. You’re active on there.
DW: Yeah, I like Twitter. I like getting active with all my fans. I think that’s what really makes me who I am. My fans want to interact. Why not have a Twitter feed if you’re on Twitter like that? I really take pride in that.
SLAM: I saw you respond to one quote criticizing you by saying you would use it as motivation. Those quotes from critics get you riled up and motivated?
DW: Yeah, I do, especially when people talk down on me. I just pick that as motivation and to be more determined and more focused than ever. Just to make sure that what that person says doesn’t come true. Like I said, it’s that motivation that makes me who I am today.
Brandon Knight, Guard, University of Kentucky (2010-11)
SLAM: One of your positive characteristics that’s been pointed out by experts is that you’re a great teammate. What do you consider to be a teammate’s responsibility?
Brandon Knight: Lifting your teammates up, talking to your guys and being vocal, communicating. Building your relationships with them and just dragging them with you. If you’re a hard worker, you drag those guys in the gym with you and you make them hard workers. You pass some of the positives that you have onto them.
SLAM: What was it about playing for [John] Calipari and in his system that helped you grow the most as a basketball player?
BK: You have to learn to make decisions. With Calipari, if you drive, then you kick it [out]. So, it was really a lot about decision-making, which really helped elevate my game.
BK: I talk to Wall a lot, Tyreke sometimes.
SLAM: Let’s talk basketball shoes. You have any that are your favorites?
BK: [Background, from Knight's crew "Kobe"] Uhh, I like all brands.
SLAM: How about a specific model, from when you were a kid or even now?
BK: Well, this year and college, because we were sponsored by Nike [at Kentucky], I wore Kobes the whole time. That’s definitely one of my favorite shoes right now, for sure.
SLAM: I saw you’re on Twitter quite a bit.
BK: I’m decent. I could do better.
SLAM: One of your tweets from awhile back said you had just finished a yoga workout. Is that something you’ve been incorporating in your training?
BK: Yeah, definitely, I’ve been using a lot of yoga lately, trying to become more flexible, more explosive, more balanced. Just trying to incorporate muscles I haven’t used before.
BK: Well, it takes a lot of stress off of certain joints. Like I said, when I’m more flexible I’m a better athlete. I’ll have a longer career.
SLAM: Was there a point last year, in a game or in a practice, when you thought, ‘Yeah, I can make the jump to the NBA’?
BK: Uhh, I tried to keep that as far away from my mind as possible. The main thing for me is focusing on winning the next game. That’s what Coach [Calipari] put a lot of emphasis on, too. No matter who it was, we prepared the same way. A lot of emphasis came along about how do we win the next game? Whether it’s Mississippi Valley State or it’s against UConn, it’s ‘How do we win this next game’?