I’m gonna give you all the reason then, first was Coach Penny, he called me every day. I was in the portal within 30 seconds, and he was the first call. Ja reached out to me, and my best friend Desmond Bane.It just felt right, Desmond has been my best friend since my freshman year of college and just seeing him going to the Grizzlies and I have a chance to play for Penny and the city. Just being familiar with playing Memphis three years and I know Penny knew my game more than anybody cuz he had to play against me.He just made it feel like home, Ja made me feel like we gonna turn it into a point guard city. It was so much that I could go right with, I knew this was the fit.
It’s good, it is different. Texas is way bigger, but I meanI like Memphis, it is a laid-back basketball city. When I first got here I didn’t know how big basketball was but went to a couple places and couldn’t get any food. So I am learning it is a big basketball city but I love it. I love the expectations, the expectations for playing for Memphis is high. Coach tells me all the time the city has not been this excited by a point guard since Tyreke Evans and Derrick Rose. I mean those are big shoes to fill, so I’m just working every day and trying to make the city proud and bringing a championship here.
It went good, it was actually more confusing. I got invited to the G league combine but turned it down. Most NBA teams told meI could have gotten drafted in the second round, late second round. Undrafted guaranteed two way, but I felt like coming here with the schedule we have and the stage. No offense to SMU but that’s what kept us out tournament was that stage. I just thought coming here with the stage, my draft stock can only increase. Just winning big can only help playing in the FedEx Forum and leaning from one of the best players to ever come out of Memphis, there was just so much right.
Oh wow, favorite vacation. Basketball has taken me to a lot of places. I would have to say Honolulu, Hawaii, it is beautiful.Went there Desmond my freshman year. Oh man, I had so much fun.
The biggest impact, I have about four or five but the main one is my mom. The sacrifices she made, it’s huge. You don’t really know until you get older and see. Me having a son on my own, just seeing what women go through every day, it’s a lot. Then you factor in traveling, having to pay for hotels, plane tickets. She was a single parent too, so I can only imagine. I see what my son’s mother goes through and it’s both of us so I can only imagine a single parent. She supported me at every game. Everybody knew she was there and was the loudest. She bought me a goal outside to play on, took me to practice getting off work. So, I mean, just seeing her, that makes me want togo hard, while I am sacrificing you want to make sure your mom is appreciated.So that’s me first, but my grandma just because she had my mom. It starts from the top to the bottom. So I am a big granny and mama’s baby, they are my world.All of my women in my family I am big on. My baby sister I spoil her. I got a bunch of people, my uncle Corey Barker, who was on the staff at TCU, him and my mom together kept my head on right. It’s a lot outside of basketball, school, family, dealing with the world, my son. Having a child changes things drastically.
Ja, Desmond Bain, but if I had to pick I’m goingDesmond, DB my favorite. He blew up, but it’s no surprise to me. I told everybody from the day he got drafted he was going to be one of the best two guards in the league. Matter of fact I just talked to him this morning; I tell him all the time you’re my favorite.
Get Rich or Die Tryin’ , Shottas, and I love the Lebron James documentary.
It’s a high blood pressure city I see. Some companies reached out through social media and I have been so busy getting moved in, working out summer grind. We go on break in a couple of days so I will be able to see what’s out here.
Yeah I do. I wake up, there’s three things I need. I need Pedialyte in the morning, me and my son go to the park early. I also need my nap right before game time. I go to the gym and get ready, put in my headphones, lift weights right before the game. I don’t really touch a ball on game day, I try to spend more time relaxing and getting my mind off what’s going to happen.
You know what’s crazy, I have yet to eat anyMemphis BBQ and did never really eat Texas BBQ. I like BBQ, that’s weird. So like certain stuff everybody eat, I’m jealous. My cousin Demontran who stays out here with me, he loves fried food and he loves fried food and he'll go somewhere to go get some food and I'll be like, you can go. Everything has to be baked for me right now. When the season is over I will be twenty pounds heavier.
Me and Coach P was talking about this today, Coach P isCoach Penny. The work I put in, you go ask anybody from SMU they'll tell youI'm the first one in the gym and the last one to leave. The janitors know me by default, they see me in there so much we become friends. Even here like Ms.Ruby, I am friends with the janitor there, she said to me “I’m seeing you all night” . I work my butt off and I am very detailed about how I work. I take care of my body, most athletes wait till they get to the NBA to start seeing what they eat, I do it now. I work hard and I'm willing to listen. You know, a lot of people with my success are feeling like they know it all. I feel like I don’t know nothing at all, I’m still learning. Obviously, my work ethic, and just appreciate the gift God gave me and not taking it for granted. At any moment in can be snatched from you. Just making the most of it, you knowing that they paying billions of dollars to play a game you love and not taking it for granted. Coach Penny said “I just got a sauce and swagger about me that he hasn’t seen but I think it’s hard work. Most people say it’s the swagger.
I’m all about winning, so whatever takes to win I’m going to do it. I know Memphis loves basketball, whatever we gotta do to raise the building. Whatever I need to do to make the fans happy, I’m gonna doit. Whether it’s 30, 40 points, or 20 assist, 5 points, 2 assist, whatever it takes to get the win and make my teammates, coach and the city happy, I’m willing to do. Whether it’s crossing up people, hitting logo threes, whateverI’m willing to do is take a charge. Sacrifice whatever, I am a team first guy,I am all about winning.
My favorite court to play on, I would have to say Houston, I am a Houston kid. So going to SMU felt weird. Like Dallas versusHouston is a rivalry, kind of like Memphis and Nashville. Being a kid inHouston, you go play UofH and you know the success they have, you ready for that one. When I was at SMU I would say playing here was one of the ones I loved not just because it’s Memphis. I get to play against Penny Hardaway, who doesn’t wake up like I am going to make him remember my name. Now one of the places I look forward to is Houston, me and Kevin Samson have a love-hate relationship. Loves that I am from the city but hate it too. That’s one on my checklist this year.
It’s been great, it’s been great. We all jamming off the courts, which is most important.We starting this things off as a family, we win together and we lose together.There’s going to be some highs and lows but we all trying to have the city stick together through it all. We gotta the wins with the losses, that’s part of life. I’m gonna bring a different swagger to the city. That swagger job bringing, I am right along with it, it’s going to be interesting. They are gonna love that we got great guys, some of the returns, Malcolm, Deandre, Jayden, Jonathan, the Lawson brothers. Y'all know them obviously but Keonte, dudes that have played at the a high level, Kao , the high flyer. It’s gonna be fun, I’m going to bring a different swagger to the city for sure.