Many dreams came true last night. After all the hard work in the gym perfecting their game, 60 college players can now consider themselves pros. At the top of that list was the New Orleans Hornets, who needed a player that could turn their franchise around. With their No. 1 pick Anthony Davis (and 10th selection of Austin Rivers), the Hornets seemed poised for a turnaround season. They along with several others have reached a level that only few will ever know.
Earlier this week, we got to talk with Anthony Davis, Thomas Robinson, Dion Waiters, Bradley Beal, Harrison Barnes and Tyler Zeller at the Conversion Sports and Entertainment "NBA Pre-Draft Luxury Gifting and Style Suite" event, organized by CC Carnie to discuss everything from music to their feelings leading up to the big day to what they plan to do once they sign their first NBA contract.
Interview by Jose Martinez (@ZayMarty)
Who's currently on your playlist?
Thomas Robinson: Wale, Meek Mill, the whole MMG. [Laughs.]
Anthony Davis: Chief Keef, Drake, Jay-Z. Just a lot of hip-hop and some R&B.
Harrison Barnes: Section 80 by Kendrick Lamar. That’s my favorite album right now. Other than that, I listen to everything from John Legend to Drake. I have respect for the greats, like Jay-Z.
Bradley Beal: Music is probably the biggest thing I do. I mean, I listen to so many different genres that it’s hard to name one in particular.
Is there one artist that people would be surprised that you listen to?
Beal: I like Maroon 5, actually. I like their style of music.
Now, Bradley and Anthony, you both declared for the NBA after your freshman year. When did you come to the realization that entering this year’s draft was the right time?
Davis: Where I come from, it’s a bad neighborhood and I’m trying to get my mom out of there.
Beal: I waited until the very last day because I was deciding between school and ball. I enjoy school and what I wanted to do involved a lot of schooling down the line, so it was difficult to give that up. But at the end of the day, it’s real hard to pass up this opportunity.
Bradley, what was your major?
Beal: Sports medicine. Hopefully, I would try and become a doctor.
What’s one thing you’re going to miss about college?
Beal: The relationships I established with people. The whole student body, they’re very supportive and I’m going to miss that a lot.
Dion Waiters: I’m going to miss the love that people give you in Syracuse. And not just on the court. Off the court, in the mall, people acknowledge you. It’s heartwarming.
Harrison Barnes: Just being around my teammates. I feel like I’ve matured a lot on and off the court, so it’s kinda like I grew up with those guys.
Thomas Robinson: Yeah, like just going back after practice and chilling with my teammates.
People will always make comparisons saying who so-and-so reminds them of, what player do you feel is comparable to you?
Robinson: I don’t know. I wouldn’t want to know.
Barnes: I would say that I’m not the next anybody, man. I’m Harrison Barnes. It’s hard to say because either you’re underselling or overselling yourself.
What’s been going through your mind during this entire draft process?
Robinson: It’s a good feeling to just be here and talk to all these great people.
Barnes: I’m excited. I’ve worked so hard to get to this point in my life that I can just sit back and relax for the next couple of days.
Tyler Zeller: There are only 60 people that get drafted and it’s a surreal feeling to be a part of that.
Thomas, given all that you’ve went through in the past with losing your mother and taking care of your sister, how does it feel to be moments away being an NBA player?
Robinson: It’s overwhelming. You don’t believe it at first, but after more and more stuff happens, you see that this is real life.
What is your celebrity crush?
Davis: There’s a lot of them. Beyonce, Ashanti…Nicki Minaj.
Beal: I’d say Nicki Minaj.
Who are some of the players that you’re looking forward to facing in the NBA?
Davis: All the superstars. They say that in order to be great, you gotta face the greats. Ultimately, I want to be great.
Dion Waiters: LeBron.
What is the first thing you want to buy or put money towards after signing your contract?
Beal: Probably, a car. I’m still debating which one. A house for my mom down the line. But I also want to be conservative with my money.
Barnes: Taking care of my family and just making sure that my mom and sister are squared away.
Zeller: Helping my parents out because they’ve done a great job raising me and bringing me up, so I’d like to just give back to them.