Donovan Mitchell has made a lot of noise so far this summer. So much noise, in fact, that even ESPN can’t ignore the Utah Jazz rookie. They had him on for an interview with Sage Steele for several minutes Friday morning.
It isn’t everyday that a Jazz player is put on a TV set in front of the entire country, so I thought I would highlight a few things he said for those that missed it.
On his decision to enter the NBA draft:
“I tell people, 2 and a half months ago I didn’t see myself even entering the NBA draft, and making that decision was incredible... I was working out in LA with Chris Paul and Paul George and those two really talked to me and said look you’re talented and they thought I should take that leap.”
On his play so far in summer league:
“I didn’t know I averaged 28 (points/game). I wasn’t really a scorer growing up, so to have all of this come out now has been incredible... Playing under Rick Pitino all you really hear is defense. You don’t really see the floor unless you play defense and I think that’s what really helped me get to this point. The thing I credit myself and I brag about in that 37 point game was the 8 steals. A lot of people can score 37, but, you know, I had 8 steals in 3 quarters and I was kinda bummed I didn’t get the last 2 in the last quarter. That’s pretty much what I pride myself on, is defense, and everything else can handle itself.”
On whether he is a point guard or a shooting guard:
A month ago I would have said shooting guard, but playing the point and becoming more comfortable with it and making plays and making reads, I think that I’m able to play the point. That’s the only thing I heard, that I couldn't play point guard, and now that I’m trying to do as much as possible I think that’s really helped me... Seeing the floor and seeing the game in a different way has definitely really helped me.
On his relationship with his family:
(referring to his game on December 31st against Indiana) I wasn’t playing well and it was New Years Eve and she (his sister Jordan) texted me and said, ‘Look I don’t know who my brother is on the court. He’s there off the court, but I don’t see him on the court. I need to see him bring that fire back inside of him.” And I didn’t start that game, the only game in the season I didn’t start... I went out there and just played carefree and had my career high and I think that game that day, the last day of 2016, really changed my life because from there I never looked back.
Growing up I saw myself as a baseball player. People don’t know that I wanted to be in this spot for baseball. Being around the Mets organization and those guys, you get a sense of knowing how to be a pro, how to get a routine, and how to do certain things. He (his father) taught me that growing up. My mother is seeing things off the court. She’s, ‘brush your teeth, brush your hair’, it’s every little thing. I told her I was coming on here and she was like, ‘oh my God, your hair, it looks horrible.’ And that’s the first thing she said.
We’ve had a lot of Donovan Mitchell content recently, but he’s been so good we have no choice. He’s a good interview, and an even better ball player. I think it’s safe to say we are all pretty excited to see what he can do for the Jazz next season.