Dime: What does it mean to you personally to be a part of USA Basketball and represent your country? As a youngster, did you dream of one day being an Olympian?
MT: Oh yeah. I mean, I watched Team USA growing up–LeBron, Carmelo, Kevin Garnett, and everybody, Kevin Durant, just watching them play, knowing that I could do that, that it could be me one day. I really look up to all of them, and just to be a part of the same program, wear the same jersey they’re wearing, just represent the USA, all in one, it just means the world to me.
Dime: What part of your game are you working to develop?
MT: Just being more fluid in the post. That’s definitely something I need to get more accustomed to, being able to catch it and just go to work, don’t hesitate. I like the face-up game right now, and I wanna get my back-to-the-basket game a little bit better, so that’s some of the stuff I need to work out.
Dime: There’s a little bit of sidespin on your jump shot. Are shot mechanics something you’ve been working on?
MT: Yeah, you know, it’s something that I’m trying to work on , but it’s working for me right now, so I’m not gonna change any of my mechanics yet. If I have downtime in the summer, I’ll definitely work on it, but as long as it’s falling, I’m not gonna change anything.
Dime: How important is a win tonight, considering the World Select Team has won the past two years?
MT: It’s huge. The World Team, they’re very confident coming into this that they can beat us, but I think I speak for everyone when I say we’re not gonna let that happen. We gotta come out here and get it done. We don’t wanna make it three-in-a-row for them. We need to keep the talent in the USA, and we’re looking forward to putting on a good show and show them what USA Basketball is all about.
Dime: How do you think the USA’s frontcourt matches up with the World Select Team?
MT: It’s gonna be interesting, very interesting, due to the fact that some of them are from the US, and we’ve seen them play before, and we’ve played against them. There’s a couple of foreign big men, but being… I don’t wanna say comfortable…but knowing what they can do, that kind of helps a little bit.
Dime: Who are your favorite NBA players, and who do you model your game after?
MT: Kevin Durant is my favorite player, he’s always been my favorite player since he was at Texas, and that’s where I’m from. It’s huge. I’ve always admired him, and I always wanna try to kind of be like him. I’m a couple of inches taller, but I’ve always wanted to try to do some of the things he does, on and off the court.
Dime: How do you like Portland so far?
MT: It’s nice. I mean, it’s a little bit different than Texas. There’s a lot more trees. It’s really pretty out here. I like it.
What do you think?
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