by Christian Mordi / @mordi_thecomeup
Treaven Duffy was born into any young basketball player’s dream situation. It was cool enough that he came from good basketball genes, with his dad being a former star player at Santa Clara, but the icing on the cake is his dad’s occupation as a sports agent. His father Bill Duffy has represented stars like Brandon Jennings, Rajon Rondo, Yao Ming and more.
What makes Treaven special is unlike some kids born into great situations that drift into interests elsewhere, Duffy has embraced the game and high expectations with open arms. SLAM recently sat down with Treaven to discuss playing against Nerlens Noel, learning from Steve Nash, the basketball culture at St. Mary’s and more.
SLAM: You come from a pretty interesting family background, with your dad being a sports agent—was your dad pretty hands on with your growth as a player?
Treaven Duffy: Growing up with my dad was a huge help for me because he helped me dissect the game on a deeper level at a young age. He helped me develop my workouts, and stressed the importance of developing my right hand. He really is a student of the game and pushed me in that direction.
SLAM: What player do you guys talk a lot about? Is there a guy he suggested you model yourself after on and off the court?
TD: Steve Nash. He is a great role model. Nash and my dad have a good relationship. He taught me how to play soccer when I was growing up and stressed the importance of good footwork. He is really smart and a very outgoing guy.
SLAM: For him to do what he does, play that up-tempo style of play with the ball in his hands that much and be effective, is amazing.
TD: Yeah, he actually really stresses having a good diet. He really balances his diet and only eats certain fruit. He is disciplined.
SLAM: People forget that your dad was a pretty good player himself playing for Santa Clara. Y’all ever hoop together in the backyard, and what’s the best playing advice he ever gave you?
TD: Yeah, we can’t hoop as much as we like ’cause his knees hurt at times, but he’s a lights-out shooter. The best piece of advice I feel he gave me was to be a good leader and stay positive at all times on the court.
SLAM: You are from Cali, but played your ball out in Massachusetts. Why did you choose to travel to the east coast for prep ball?
TD: I did some years out here and then I did some time out in Boston. The game is real different on the prep level. I felt like my prep year was equilivant to doing a year of Junior College, that’s how intense it was. A lot of the kids are older and games are very developed. Best player I played against was Nerlens Noel. He was super athletic—he was sending shots left and right, but I played my game.
SLAM: You’re also a good friend of rapper Lil B. How’d you guys meet, and do you bump his music before games to get pumped up?
TD: I actually met Lil B through my cousin, who also raps, named Austin Williams. He goes to ASU. I met B one day at the gym—he told me he was going to get a membership to play more often. So he got one and we would go out and play for like two hours each time out.
SLAM: Can he play? Have you heard about him trying out for the Golden State Warriors?
TD: I haven’t heard too much about that but he is a solid player and he really likes the game. He plays hard.
SLAM: You decided to come to St. Mary’s to play ball. Any other schools that you were interested in, and why did St. Mary’s stand out to you?
TD: I wasn’t too interested in too many other programs outside of St. Mary’s. I had a friend that went there and I was amazed as the growth of his game since high school. He is a way better shooter and has become more mentally tough. I knew that this was the place for me.
SLAM: You’re coming onto a team that won over 25 games last year. Tell us about how you expect to fit into this team and make an impact this year.
TD: Well this year I am focused on becoming a better shooter and adding that element to my game. I also plan on learning from our starting point guard—I plan to observe how he leads and model my game after him.
SLAM: Currently there have been rumors swirling of a potential NCAA Investigation for potential recruiting violations. Has this been a distraction at all to you guys, and how do you keep your mind focused off of things of this nature?
TD: We have just been focused on practice, that’s all. We don’t have all the details on that just yet, so we stay focused as a unit on playing basketball, going to class and getting better each day.
SLAM: One word to describe head coach Randy Bennett.
TD: Motivational. He recently had back surgery, but he has shown a true dedication to us and his body by even working out with us in the mornings and pushing us and himself.
SLAM: Is this the year you guys jump to the next level as a program?
TD: Yeah I think the level that we work out and practice as a unit is at an elite level and I feel that this year we will surprise a lot of people. I feel we are one of the top schools in the country.