Humble & Hungry: Dime’s 2012 NBA Rookie Journal With Dion Waiters

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 last season, and after his stock steadily rose during the draft process, Cleveland took him higher than anyone expected. He kept a diary with us throughout the weeks leading up to the NBA Draft, and plans to check in with us often throughout this upcoming season to talk about life as a rookie, the NBA grind, and his favorite things to do off the court…

*** *** ***

I’m just working right now. That’s the biggest thing. I’m now back in shape. I’m back in shape a lot. I’ve lost a lot of weight. I’m more active. Before the draft, I really didn’t have to do anything. That hurt me a little bit, but I have no excuses. Like I said, what happened is what happened. But I’m back in shape, and I can’t wait to get back out there and show everyone the real me. I ain’t worried about it.

I got a diet, too. I’m trying to eat better and healthier. It’s about eating healthy, and actually eating more.

As far as on the court, at Syracuse, I played with the ball a lot, and when I played off the ball, it was usually to set up the play and then I’d get it back. But I can play off the ball. Kyrie and I haven’t really talked yet about how we’re going to play together. We already know what to expect from each other. It’s about building that chemistry now, and just really knowing the spots where we like the ball.

The coaches told me I’m going to run a lot of pick-n-rolls, and be someone who can take some of the pressure off Kyrie. Being able to run pick-n-rolls is one of my strongest attributes. It’ll benefit me. They pretty much want me to play my game, and that’s what it’s all about.

But I gotta get ready to guard the bigger two guards. I haven’t played against anybody. I haven’t gone against a Kobe or a D-Wade or any player like that. But at the end of the day, it comes down to being able to tell yourself that it’s real and you needs stops. I can’t wait for the challenge. I’m ready for it.

I really haven’t picked up any defensive tricks from the veterans yet but I picked up a lot of things where they could help me and benefit me on the court from a lot of those guys. I try to talk to them if I can. I ask them questions and try to find ways to better myself.

I got a house in Cleveland, too. The city is cool, quiet and laid back. It’s not like a busy, busy city. That’s one thing I like about it. It’s just calm and laid back, but they’re very passionate about their sports. The fans are very passionate. That’s another thing I like, just the environment, the love and the support that they give you throughout your time there.

Philly is crazy, though. Philly is crazy. They are a little bit similar, but Philly is just wild, man. Philly is just Philly. Cleveland can’t really compare to Philly, at least what I’ve seen so far. Philly is just a different breed, man.

I got the new Madden. I love it. It’s probably the best one so far. But yeah, I can’t wait for 2K13 to come out. They’ll have all my moves in the game so that was cool to go down there before the draft with the 2K guys and motion cap my moves. Whatever rating they give me is cool with me, but as long as it’s like a respectable rating then I can go with it. I gotta work hard and get it up there, so it’s not a problem to me whatever they say.

I actually haven’t played Madden online at all. I just play with my friends and people that I hear about that are good. So I’m up for any challenge. I don’t think anybody on the Cavs really plays Madden like how I play it. They’re probably more of a 2K-type. With my play-calling ability and my hurry-up offense, I can mix it up a little bit.

Being from Philly, I love the Eagles, and listen, a win is a win. At the end of the day, when we wake up tomorrow you’ll see wins, you’ll see that we’re gonna get it together.

I think we match up well with the Niners and Giants. At the end of the day, they gotta worry about us too. And Mike Vick, he’s getting into his zone, into his mode, his football mode, and once we start really clicking… the defense is playing great. Once Vick gets it going, we’re good.

Dion will be checking back in with us throughout the season with everything he’s going through as an NBA rookie so stick with us…

Follow Dion on Twitter at @dionwaiters3.

Follow Dime on Twitter at @DimeMag.

Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.