After an outstanding sophomore season at Syracuse that had many analysts talking about him as one of the best guards in the country, Dion Waiters decided the time was right to test his talents and make the jump to the NBA. The Philly native was a beast as a Sixth Man, averaging 12.6 points on nearly 48 percent shooting to help lead the Orange to the Elite 8 this season. Syracuse came up short in their bid for a National Championship, but Waiters’ stock continues to rise. Now as he gets prepared to be drafted into the NBA, Waiters will be giving us the inside scoop on his journey to the draft, how his life is changing and everything in-between…
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I’ve just been working out this week. Nothing really different this week, just the same routine. Same thing. It’s cool. I really haven’t been out to any restaurants in Las Vegas either because we always cook in the house. We have more of a family atmosphere so we do most of the cooking in the house. My number one favorite food to eat is spaghetti. Like I told you guys before, I put sugar on there too. I like it all mixed together â€“ the sauce, the noodles, the meats.
Back in Philly, before I stopped eating all the crazy foods like the cheesesteaks and everything like that, there was this one food from Ishkabibble’s Philly Cheese Steak. It’s a turkey burger chopped up on a long roll. It’s right there on 4th and South in Philadelphia. You can’t get that outside of Philly. That’s only a one-of-a-kind place right there. Nowhere else. It’s one of the best things I’ve ever had to be honest.
As for the NBA Playoffs, the Heat hasn’t been up and down the last few games. The last few games they had, I expected that. The only thing the Pacers did is make them mad and that’s the wrong thing to do to certain players and certain guys. They can definitely win it all for sure if Bosh comes back but it’ll be tough without Bosh. I think they can pull it off with just Wade and LeBron. With the way they are playing right now, I think they could do it. They do need other players around them to chip in and just do the dirty work, grab some rebounds, things like that.
Once I get drafted, I’m most looking forward to playing against LeBron, D-Wade, Kobe, all of the best players, Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Tony Parker. All of those guys. If someone were to ask me who I model my game after, I would say big guards. Chauncey Billups, Deron Williams, Baron Davis… actually the young Baron Davis, D-Wade. There are a lot of D-Wade similarities.
They used to call me Kobe Wade at Syracuse. Mookie Jones called me that. It just started at practice. Things would get real competitive and knowing me, I just try to kill anybody that steps in front of me. That’s my mindset. But those aren’t even my favorite players though. My favorite players are Allen Iverson and LeBron James.
With Iverson coming back to Philadelphia for Game 6 last week, it was epic. That’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing right there. I was very happy to see that. That actually brightened my day up, to see that and to see him. He’s one of the greats of all time. He probably won’t ever get back in the NBA because of his history and things that he kinda ruined, but if he keeps working, anything is possible.
But Philly looks at things differently when it comes to Kobe Bryant. I think with Kobe, he said something about how he’s not from Philly, or something crazy like that. I really don’t even know the story or know the half of that. I can’t even think of why they boo him. He likes it though. He loves it. He’s the type of player that thrives off that.
As for once I actually get to play against these guys… a guy like Russell Westbrook, you gotta bring your “A” game. You got to. He’s a great player. Those type of players bring the best out of me day in and day out. If I go against a guy like that, then I’m willing to take the challenge. With a guy like Steve Nash, you gotta play smart because he’s a smart point guard. He can have you looking stupid out there if you play him a certain way. You just gotta be smart. With D-Rose, aw man, you just have to hope he’s having a bad night. You just gotta hope he’s having a bad night. And with Tony Parker, that’s just another guy you gotta hope is having a bad night. You gotta hope his outside shot is not falling because he can get to the basket. You have to do a great job of not letting him get to the basket.
Honestly, it doesn’t really worry me where I get drafted because I’m the type of person that wherever I go, I’ll just try my best and try my hardest and work hard. Hopefully we all come together as a team, as a family. We’re going to win some, we’re going to lose some. As long as we do it together though, as long as nobody is worrying about individual stats and things like that, that’s when the organization is great.
Right now, I’m enjoying going up against everybody up at Impact, but especially Malik Wayans, and Ashton Gibbs. There are a lot of good people up here. Everybody is competitive.
We actually play everything up here: 3-on-3, 5-on-5, 1-on-1, 2-on-2. We play everything, but a lot of guys have been away working out for teams and stuff like that so we’ve been doing a lot of 3-on-3. Team workouts have already started. A lot of the guys have been out doing that. I haven’t done any so far. I probably won’t do any until after the combine in Chicago.
I don’t have to train in any special way for the combine. They’re just testing you, your vertical jump, how fast you can run the 40, stupid things like that. Actually, some people will be working out there too with drills, mostly seniors but some are underclassmen. I probably won’t participate in that.
I talked to Kris Joseph recently, but I haven’t really talked to anyone else from Syracuse that’s gonna be in the draft. I think Kris is in Atlanta working out. I expect to see him in the NBA next year. I think he’ll make a team. He’s a great player and a good kid. He’s his own person. He just a good kid all around.
Each week, Dion will be checking back in with everything he’s going through on his journey towards the NBA Draft (June 28) so stay tuned…
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