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Dime Q&A: Kyle O’Quinn Is The 2012 NBA Draft’s Best Kept Secret

By 06.06.12
Kyle O'Quinn

Kyle O'Quinn (photo. Mark Sutton)

Dime: As a senior you had a big game versus Boys and Girls High in the PSAL playoff and this is how Norfolk assistant Robert Jones recruited you right?
KO: I had a big game against them and people started writing about me so he came up to New York. He actually came to see my point guard. He didn’t come to see me. He read little things about me and saw film on me. Then when he came to my school, it was in-between classes and I walked past him. He said this dude is big. All the strings tied together. That’s when he was like okay, let’s make a move on him and he came to my house that day and had dinner with my family. Next thing you know I was down at Norfolk State. It was a simple process as far as recruiting. All I needed was one and that’s what I got.

Dime: How much of an influence did Campus coach Charles Granby have on you in high school and getting you to that next level?
KO: A big influence. He’s a legend. He’s not your typical coach. He’s a coach, mentor; he’s like a lot of things. When he sees potential, he digs it out. It was a couple times I got kicked out of practice for not giving it my full effort or not playing the way he thinks I should play. I was a young basketball player then so he wanted to get that out of me quick and he got it out of me before I went to college. Believe it or not, if I would have played with him for four years, I would have been a way better player. But he did a lot in those two years.

Dime: You were given the Lou Henson award in March. You won over guys such as Isaiah Canaan, Casper Ware and Doug McDermott. How much of a confidence boost is that?
KO: It’s just a mark on your hard work. John Gilchrist (former Maryland guard) told me if you put the work in early, when those accolades come you’re not surprised because the work has already been done. This year when I got MEAC player of the year and defensive player of the year that was an accomplishment because it’s never been done before but at the same time you kind of feel like you’re the player of the year all year. Winning that accolade is big. I’m not trying to down play that. There were a lot of good names. It’s an honor but it’s a mark of hard work.

Dime: Being a late bloomer, are there some positives with this that you can market to NBA teams?
KO: Being late to the game, I didn’t know as much as everybody else so when I did learn I appreciated it. I mean you take everything more serious because you need that catch up. You’re a couple steps behind and that makes you work harder when you know you’re behind. You got other guys going to all these AAU tournaments. So when someone sits down and tells you something you appreciate it more. I think that’s where a lot of my appreciation for the game and my work ethic came in because I know if someone is taking the time out to teach you something I know I’m gonna have to listen because I know I need it.

Dime: Are these workouts good ways to show off your game?
KO: They know what you can do. Like at the Warriors workout they said we know what you can do. We’ve been watching you all year. This is just a workout to put the mark on you so it can help you, it can hurt you but at the same time they know what you can do. Going into these workouts, they’re trying to get a feel about you. How you fit into their system. How do you fit around their environment.

Dime: Not being a big name in high school and being on the verge of reaching your NBA dreams, what does being at this point mean to you?
KO: It’s very big. It’s not only big for myself but also you can tell somebody later on in life, you can share this with younger kids saying it can be done through work. So many kids get discouraged with oh this kid is this, this kid is number one in the country, this kid is number five in the country. That stuff is all good if you care about it. But if you put in the work you can catch anybody. Nobody can control your work. I’m an education major so I go out to a lot of schools. I think it will help out my message to them. With me coming from where I came from and putting a mark on how hard you work you don’t know where you can go.

Can he make it in the NBA?

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