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’m still out here in Vegas with my whole family. Everybody is out here, all of my family members. My mother is actually cooking a lot of spaghetti. She cooked it today. I’ve tried to ask her what she does to make it so good, but she doesn’t want to give up her secret.
At Impact, it’s still the same routine, the same thing every day. We will pick it up a little bit, but it’s mostly the same thing. I was in Philly for a little bit, and I did watch the lottery. It pretty much went the way everybody expected. It really wasn’t anything spectacular, but things like that are just fun to watch to see how things will go. It was cool.
I think New Orleans and Anthony Davis would be a good fit. He could change the franchise around. That’s a good look for anybody that’s gonna take him. As far as people trying to say the lottery is rigged, I think everybody has their own opinion on things. I really can’t speak on it because this was my first time really watching the lottery so I really couldn’t tell you if it’s rigged or not.
With my predicted status in the draft, I just knew once I was able to show people what I really could do, it was going to change and I would rise up the draft boards. I really felt that in my mind. For a while, they had me at like 20 and all that. But that really doesn’t matter. It’s about what you do when the people are there. I think I’m starting to show people that I’m versatile in many ways.
Now that the entire first round is set, there’s not much difference in my preparation. It’s pretty much just working. That’s basically it, and after the combine, it’s back to working out for the draft.
I like to wear suits for special occasions, yet I’m not going to make any statements at the draft. But I am going to look real fly. Sharp. I will turn my swag all the way up.
Outside of getting dressed up, the best basketball sneakers that I’ve ever worn are probably Kobes, Jordans and LeBrons. Next year, I don’t really have any plans right now for what I’ll wear on the court. I haven’t signed with any sneaker people yet so I’m still undecided.
I wear a lot of custom-made Kobes that I make from Nike iD. I just got three or four new pairs of Kobes, and I like all of them actually. I’ve been wearing a lot of the Jordans that have been coming out lately. My favorite new Jordans that have come out recently are the all-black IIIs, but my favorite joint is the black-and-white XIIs. Those are my favorite ones. To be honest, I really don’t know how many sneakers I have. When I was at Syracuse, I just gave all of my stuff away. I haven’t even been to Syracuse to empty out my locker yet and I’ve probably got like 30 pairs of sneakers in there. They let you keep your locker up there for a little while. They’ll probably clean it out for me though. Throw it all in boxes or something.
I used to give away all my Syracuse stuff to everybody.. to friends, or if a little kid comes up to me after I’m done working out and asks for some sneakers or things like that, I will just give them away.
I would say the biggest sneakerhead that I’ve ever played with is Scoop [Jardine]. I’ve known Scoop for a while. He’s from Philly, though he didn’t really play a big part in convincing me to go to Syracuse. He did a little but it was more Coach Hop [Mike Hopkins].
I’m also big on Twitter, although I forgot when I first got mine. I think it was about two years ago. I just heard everybody talking about it, and I was saying, “Man, I ain’t getting one of those.” Then I turned around and got one. It’s actually cool. You can talk to the fans or people that you haven’t seen in years or old teammates that you played with in camps. You can keep in contact that way so it’s actually cool.
Even on a regular day, I get messages on there from fans all day. It’s non-stop. It’s crazy, especially after the Syracuse games when we’d win, I’d probably have 400 or 500 mentions. People would go crazy for the games. And I would be retweeting a lot but I really couldn’t get everyone. I’d still probably retweet like 150 times. I try to communicate with the fans and everyone on there as much as I can. That’s just the love and support that they give you at Syracuse, and I’m gifted to have that. I’m glad I chose to go to Syracuse.
I recently retweeted a video of a dunk that I had in high school against Oak Hill. It was crazy. That was probably one of the best dunks I’ve ever had. We call those plays classics that you’re always going to remember. It was all adrenaline; I was too caught up in the game. That dunk was actually an and-1 dunk. You couldn’t get a better three-point play than that.
It’s not my most memorable play ever though. I would say one of my most memorable was from this season at Syracuse. We were at the Garden in the preseason NIT. We were down to Stanford by like eight with three minutes to go. We came back and got the win, and I had a big-time and-1.
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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