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 am back in Las Vegas now after I just got back from Philly. I went back for Mother’s Day. I couldn’t even give you just one memorable moment with my mom growing up. There were a lot in my life. There wasn’t just one special moment. Every day was special.
But coming back to continue working out in Vegas, I’m being reminded it’s way too hot out here. Very hot. You gotta stay in the house until night time. You have to go out at night rather than during the day because it’s so hot. Syracuse could get warm but it never got like this. Sometimes it was a nice day… sometimes even a perfect day there.
When we go out, we just walk around, take pictures at the buildings. They have a lot of special days out here. It’s funny. People will be in costumes. We just walk around and do a lot of sightseeing.
I downloaded the new Meek Mill mixtape called “Dreamchasers 2” the first day. It’s great. He did an unbelievable job. On the first day, everybody tried to download it at the same time and it crashed the website so that speaks for itself. My favorite songs are “Use To Be,” “Ready Or Not” and “On My Way.”
I’ve also been following the playoffs closely. I’m a Heat guy, a Heat fan. They should take the championship even though they are trying to find that niche right now. But we do need some help with Bosh out. I got OKC or the Spurs coming out of the West. They are playing great right now.
My schedule is pretty much the same thing every day and every week. At 10 a.m. I have my first workout. Then we’ll take a break for an hour and a half or two hours before we come back around 2 or 3 depending on what time you go in the morning. Then sometimes, you go all night until 8 p.m.
I don’t think I’ve necessarily gotten stronger since I started working out for the draft. I’m pretty much the same but I have lost some weight. That’s what I wanted to do coming out here, and you don’t always have to lift weights to do that. I’m probably about 215, 214 pounds right now. When I play in the NBA, I’d like to probably be about 208.
One cool thing I did recently was some work with 2K Sports for NBA 2K13. That was unbelievable. I remember I just got a call from them asking if I wanted to do some video game work. I said “Of course.” You don’t really get a lot of opportunities for things like that so you have to take advantage of it. It was crazy. It was love. That’s something that you dream about growing up and I finally got a chance to do it.
They asked us to do the moves that we really do in a game so they can get them. And sometimes they let you freelance. It can actually be better when you do your own thing because it just gets that much realer. I went over there for a whole day, flew in at night and then did it the next day before flying back out that night.
Austin Rivers was down there as well. We did it together. I had the chance to talk to him a little bit. They are going to have our own signature moves in the game. If they get one part of my game right, hopefully it’s the spin move. Either that, or my dunk and then the celebration after that.
I’ve known Austin for a while. We’ve met at a lot of camps. He is of course competition for me. You are going to measure yourself against anybody that’s at your position. That’s how it is and that’s how it’s gotta be. But at that type of event with 2K, it’s just for fun. It’s not a competition thing at something like that. You’ll see him when it really counts. We were there just to have fun.
But we actually played one-on-one for real. 2K had us play a game for real against each other. We went to five. I won 5-3. At the end of the day, I’m a competitor, and I feel like at one-on-one I’m at an advantage because that’s my type of game. It was cool though. We’ll have to work out against each other for the upcoming teams so now we know what to expect.
Besides 2K though, I’m a Madden expert. I don’t want to sound cocky but I’m really good in that game so I feel as though I can do it all. I call myself the young Peyton Manning. I call audibles at the line. I do all the hot routes. I do all of that. The one thing about a lot of people is they can’t play defense. But defense is my strongest thing. I’m also great at offense. When you’re playing me, you gotta bring your best A-game and you can’t play that stupid or I’m just gonna mentally expose you. And then once I know I’ve mentally exposed you, it’s a wrap.
If I play with the Eagles, I feel as though it’s too easy because with Mike Vick it’s crazy, so I try to mix it up. If I’m playing against a certain person, somebody that’s kind of good, I’ll go with a better quarterback than Mike Vick. If I play with Mike Vick, I’m most likely going to come up with a win.
You have certain plays that you go to when you need them. If it’s like a 3rd and two or a 3rd and three, and he’s blitzing, and you know the play is going to work, that’s when you have to do it. That’s what I try to do.
I don’t know if I’d change anything about Madden. I like it all honestly. I think they changed or go rid of a lot of the glitch plays in the game and made it realer. I really wouldn’t change Madden that much except for the way that they run. I don’t like the way they run. They are too stiff now.
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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