1-on-1 with RaptorsHQ Draft Fave Paul George

Here's hoping that Paul George ends up being the Raptors' pick this Thursday...


In case you missed the audio file from Friday, and due to reader requests, here's the full transcript of Franchise's interview with Paul George after his work out on Thursday.  Enjoy the Sunday reading and Happy Father's Day!

 

RaptorsHQ:  I know you were playing with some of the UCLA cats last off-season or the one before, Malcolm Lee etc, that sort of started the exposure and the Paul George phenomenon, I know you've been shooting up draft boards, talk a little about that experience.

Paul George:  Yeah, I think getting a chance to play with those guys at that level really helped, you know, playing with Jrue Holiday, Jeremy Anderson, Reeves Nelson, I got a chance to play with some premiere athletes.  And I think that bettered my skills because I never got that exposure, coming from Palmdale, I was only used to so much talent so to be able to go around the world and compete at that level, at that time, that really helped my game.

RHQ:  Did you get recruited by UCLA at all?

PG:  (Laughs.)  I didn't.

RHQ:  What, they didn't?

PG:  I didn't ha ha.

RHQ:  That's funny because I was reading about you working out with all these UCLA guys and no recruitment!

PG:  Yeah, never got recruited by UCLA, SC...I kinda went under the radar.

RHQ:  Right now obviously above the radar, talk a little about what you bring, sort of, your game in general. What do you bring to the court?

PG:  I think I just bring a lot of versatility.  I think I can touch multiple positions and kind of bring depth to a team. You know if a team wants me to come in and start I think I can fill that role as well.

RHQ:  And I think I heard you saying that you feel more comfortable playing the 2 than the 3...

PG:  ...yeah, I kinda think those two are hand-in-hand positions, both wings so a lot of similarities.  But I think I can distinguish myself as a shooting guard because I'm able to put the ball on the floor and create for others.

RHQ:  What would you say the part of your game is that you need to do the most work on?

PG:  Aaah, still work on ball-handling, and just being a better playmaker.

RHQ:  Is that the feedback you've gotten from coaches and GM's?

PG:  Ah yeah.  You know, anybody can improve on their ball-handling skills.  So, they keep saying to work on that and everything else will fall into place.

RHQ:  I mean, you were an amazing free-throw shooter at Fresno State, think you shot like 91% or something last year, so that combination of being able to attack the rack and shoot that percentage, obviously a premium. Do you look at a team like the Raptors and think "this could be a really good fit for me" because of some of these skills that you bring?

PG:  Yeah, I definitely see that.  You know me and Demar being young talents on the wing, I think we complement and can play well off each other.

RHQ:  (Pointing to DeMar, Sonny, Joey and Amir joking around behind me)  Have you played with some of these clowns before?

PG:  (Laughing.)  I played against DeMar a couple of times so he's always a familiar face...I know him pretty well.

RHQ:  Did you lock him down or...

PG:  Naaah, he got the best of me last time.  He got the win, and put up more points by a little but it's fun playing against him.

RHQ:  What about the draft process?  When did you decided "alright, I'm ready to make the jump?"

PG:  Well it was kind of determined by my family.  I took a real good look in terms of what I had to win and what I had to lose, and, you know, there was a lot more to win if I came out this year, just to support my family.  And I felt like staying another year wouldn't help me improve that much or better myself as a player.  So, I thought it was best to come out.

RHQ:  Had you been to Toronto before?

PG:  First time.

RHQ:  First time?  What did you think?

PG:  I enjoyed the city, it's nice.  It's a lot different than what I thought.  I expected to come here and...

RHQ:  ...snow?

PG:  Yeah (laughs) - snowy, and you can't understand what people are saying (laughs) but...

RHQ:  ...small place?

PG:  ...yeah!  But it's a big city, kinda like Los Angeles.

RHQ:  Do you enjoy this process?  How many workouts have you done?

PG:  This is my tenth.  But I enjoy it!  Not everybody can say that they're doing this and going through this situation so, whatever happens, I'll be happy with it.

RHQ:  And have you worked out against a lot of these guys before?

PG:  Me and Xavier.  I've been to 10...and we've probably worked out 7 times already together.  Sometimes we're on the same flight!  

RHQ:  That must be kinda fun because as soon as you see him, you're saying "ok, guess we're going at it again!"

PG:  Yeah, that's my workout partner.

RHQ:  Do you establish a sort of bond that way?  Because you're seeing that same face and you're always pitted against each other?

PG:  Yeah, it's started becoming more competitive too because he's a friend now.  You know, that's a way to push each other, to get better.  It's a mutual respect there.

RHQ:  And what about when you're going through the workouts, I actually asked Xavier the same thing, is it hard not to sometimes fall in love with a team and say "geez I hope these guys pick me?"

PG:  Um...yeah it is hard you know.  I've worked out for a couple of teams and i would really enjoy playing there.  It'll be kinda crushing when you hear somebody else get called.  But you gotta say oh well, and on to the next team.

RHQ:  Right, I guess you've gotta keep an open mind in a sense.

PG:  Exactly.

RHQ:  And is it a combination of the city, the coaching staff...what's sort of a preeminent thing that makes you want to play there?  What's usually the main factor?

PG:  Well for me it's just knowing what the roster is.  I would like to be able to play the wing, so me coming in and playing under a wing, or beside a wing that's experienced...you know, someone I can learn and grow from. That's what I look at, as well as playing with a good point guard and a good big man.

RHQ:  Would you say the Raptors have those pieces?

PG:  Oh for sure...especially if Bosh stays!

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