Five Minutes with Kenneth Faried
SLAM speaks with the Nuggets Draft pick.
by Nima Zarrabi / @NZbeFree
Following an impressive four-year career at Morehead State, Kenneth Faried was drafted 22nd overall in the 2011 NBA draft by the Denver Nuggets. A high energy player in the Rodman-mold, Faried has been spending the summer in the LA area, honing his game amid several NBA stars. We caught up with Faried this past weekend at the Elite 24 tourney in Venice Beach. The 6-7 forward stood out in the crowd of stars thanks to a big smile and friendly nature.
SLAM: What brings you to Elite 24?
Kenneth Faried: Basically, my little homie Kyle Anderson, to watch him play and support him like I always do. He’s been in my life since I joined the New Jersey Playaz, and he is a Playa so I’m here to support him. I’ve known him and his father since high school.
SLAM: What have you been doing since the NBA Draft?
KF: Working out, getting stronger every day. Trying to play 5-on-5 here with some NBA guys and get my image out there.
SLAM: Where have you been training?
KF: UCLA. I’ve been working out with Russell Westbrook, Derrick Rose, Al Horford, Shelden Williams, Xavier Henry.
SLAM: Some good competition. What’s it been like battling those guys?
KF: I’ve been learning a lot. They really take you under their wing. I respect them for that. Instead of pushing you to the side or putting you down because you’re a rookie, they teach you things that they know—how they got to the point they are at in being all stars and team USA members.
SLAM: Have you signed a shoe deal yet?
KF: I’m leaning towards one company—I can’t say. I haven’t signed yet and hopefully I will sign soon. We will see what happens with that. I’ve got my own nickname now (Manimal), so I’ve been marketing that. [Laughs]
SLAM: Are you optimistic about the lockout?
KF: No comment on that.
SLAM: Will you play overseas if the season is canceled?
KF: I’m not saying anything about it. I’m just keeping my head up and level and we’ll see what happens.
SLAM: You were a lot of fun to watch during the NCAA tourney. How big of a showcase do you think that was for you?
KF: I think it did help me. People saw me play against bigger and better schools. That was really exciting for me and my team. It helped put Morehead on the map when we beat Louisville. And it really helped my draft stock as well. Everything fell into place.
SLAM: Of all the guys you have been training with, who has really shown you the most support and encouragement?
KF: Russell Westbrook. He’s really taken me under his wing. He wants me to succeed and really likes the way I play. And I absolutely love how he plays—he’s so aggressive. He can get up and he attacks. I respect him for that.
SLAM: Why do you think there’s such a connection?
KF: It helps that we signed with the same agency. That helped working out wise. He talks to me and encourages me. And when I’m not doing good he will get on me.
SLAM: If we do have an NBA season, what will you have to do as a rookie to consider the year a success?
KF: Rookie of the Year.
SLAM: You think that’s really possible?
KF: I wouldn’t be surprised at all. I’m really a hard worker and I’m ambitious. I always have tried to reach my dreams. People told me that I wouldn’t make the NBA and now I’m a first round pick of the Denver Nuggets so they can’t say too much. I love the negativity more than the attention because it drives me to want to be better every day.