Third-year Knicks defender and 2019 lottery prime RJ Barrett takes a changeable astatine immoderate Q&A with Post columnist Steve Serby.
Q: What would you alternatively be, a relation exemplary oregon a star?
A: I don’t spot wherefore you can’t beryllium both.
Q: What is it astir RJ Barrett that makes him deliberation that 1 time helium mightiness go a star?
A: I deliberation that’s conscionable what I was calved to be. There’s thing wrong maine that I cognize that I’m destined for greatness, I cognize that I’m destined for more. I deliberation the work ethic that my household has instilled successful me, it’s ever gonna springiness maine a accidental to get better, it’s ever gonna springiness maine a accidental to beryllium and amusement who I am. I’m precise competitive, truthful I deliberation each those things together, somehow, immoderate mode I conscionable cognize that I’m gonna marque it.
Q: Why bash you emotion playing connected the large New York signifier truthful much?
A: I emotion the agleam lights, I emotion the fans. This is the Mecca of basketball, there’s nary amended spot to be, and I decidedly clasp that.
Q: Why is New York City truthful successful emotion with the Knicks?
A: It’s New York’s team. Been determination forever. There’s a batch of New Yorkers, and I cognize that it runs heavy to like, erstwhile Clyde [Frazier] and them were winning championships, erstwhile Patrick Ewing and them were playing well. People’s fathers and grandfathers and conscionable generations of radical that person been successful emotion with the Knicks. I cognize my grandfather, helium would marque maine ticker aged Knick games each the time.
Q: Which guys did you like?
A: I watched a batch of John Starks and Patrick Ewing with my grandfather.
Q: Who was his favorite?
A: He loved John Starks, conscionable ’cause helium was conscionable a tough, scrappy defender that was capable to truly enactment hard, and that’s benignant of what New York is, benignant of New York’s personality.
Q: Why should Knicks fans emotion this existent Knicks team?
A: I deliberation Knick fans should emotion this squad ’cause each clip we spell retired determination connected the court, we’re gonna springiness you guys a show. And we’re gonna springiness everything we got.
Q: Do you retrieve Kemba Walker’s 2011 Final Four tally astatine UConn?
A: Man! Who doesn’t retrieve that? I deliberation adjacent earlier the tourney run, conscionable him being successful the Garden [in the Big East Tournament], having that crossover, that step-back for the crippled [against Pittsburgh], that’s a changeable that everybody remembered for a agelong time.
Q: What person you learned astir Kemba arsenic a teammate?
A:. He’s a large person, he’s a large quality being overall. We each truly get on with him. He’s truly not astir himself, helium truly wants the full squad succeeding, nary substance who it is, nary substance who scores oregon whatever, he’s cheering the loudest. That’s large to know.
Q: What specifically does helium adhd to the team?
A: Leadership … acquisition … affirmative dependable that a squad could truly get behind. He’s the level general. Whenever we person him retired determination connected the court, we’re precise assured successful him.
Q: How does Julius Randle lead?
A: He dominates. He dominates virtually each country of the game, whether you request him to get a triple-double, request him to get 10 assists, request him to get 16 rebounds, 30 points, he’ll bash that. He’ll bash immoderate it is. He has specified a centrifugal and a large enactment ethic that helium truly sets the modular for our team.
Q: Describe Obi Toppin’s future.
A: You tin decidedly archer he’s getting much comfy and he’s been putting successful the work, truthful we’re precise excited for him.
Q: Immanuel Quickley?
A: Quick has to beryllium the feline that’s successful the gym the astir retired of everybody. His crippled volition talk for itself.
Q: Evan Fournier?
A: I’ve watched Ev a batch increasing up. He truly knows however to play the crippled of basketball. If anyone watched the Olympic tally that helium conscionable had with France, helium tin truly hoop, and that’s thing that we request connected this team. He’s different limb that the defence has to absorption on.
Q: Derrick Rose?
A: MVP. He’s truly important. And to person Kemba and Derrick Rose arsenic the point guards connected our team is thing precise special. D-Rose has been done a batch successful his career, truthful for him to inactive beryllium present each these years aboriginal and to beryllium really, truly bully astatine the crippled of hoops still, it’s amazing.
Q: MVP, is that what you telephone him?
A: (Laugh) I ever fto him cognize that he’s the MVP from clip to time. That’s my guy, man.
Q: Taj Gibson?
A: OG! OG’s precise important to this team, everybody loves OG. He comes successful and helium conscionable works hard each day. He doesn’t attraction if helium plays, if helium doesn’t play, he’s conscionable for the team. He’s 1 of the champion teammates I ever had. He’s been taking attraction of maine since the archetypal time I got into the league, truthful decidedly admit the OG.
Q: It sounds similar a precise unneurotic team.
A: Very together. No egos, everybody gets along. That’s precise rare.
Q:. Does it punctual you of your Duke teams?
A: Something similar that, precise talented group, and we’re each precise together, truthful it’s a batch of fun.
Q: How does manager Tom Thibodeau motivate?
A: Thibs is bully due to the fact that you cognize what you’re gonna get from him each day. We’re a precise disciplined team, and I deliberation that gives america an vantage against immoderate teams.
Q: Is your mentality antithetic present than it was arsenic a rookie, oregon adjacent past year?
A: I wouldn’t accidental mindset is excessively different. I deliberation my mindset has ever been the aforesaid successful presumption of erstwhile I’m connected the level and the benignant of subordinate that I privation to be. I’ve had a mates of years to truly enactment successful the enactment and truly get utilized to the NBA game.
Q: So what is your mindset?
A: My mindset is conscionable each clip I spell retired connected the tribunal conscionable beryllium a killer, and bash immoderate I tin to assistance the squad win.
Q: Thibs talks astir playing with an edge. What does that mean?
A: Playing with an borderline is big-time. A batch of times the harder-playing squad wins. Everybody is simply a bully subordinate successful the NBA, truthful whoever plays harder usually wins, that’s wherefore coming successful with that borderline is truthful important.
Q: Are you much vocal arsenic a leader?
A: I’ve been trying to speech much and beryllium much vocal this year. Year 3, starting to get much comfy with worldly similar that. But we person a batch of large vets, I’m similar a sponge, I’m soaking everything up, truthful it’s been a batch of fun.
Q: Where bash you deliberation you’ve made the biggest strides from a twelvemonth ago?
A: Just successful my 3-point shooting. All the reps and everything that I’ve done, being capable to present construe that to the crippled has been huge.
Q: How beneficial tin past year’s playoff acquisition beryllium for this team?
A: Some of america cognize what it was similar being bounced retired that archetypal circular past year, and it wasn’t a bully feeling. So everything we bash each day, each our absorption is to beryllium amended than we were past year.
Q: Did it instrumentality you a small portion to get over?
A: It was decidedly a heartbreaking one, for sure. But I deliberation nary 1 adjacent thought that we were gonna beryllium successful the presumption that we were gonna beryllium successful past year, truthful present it’s conscionable astir striving to get amended and get retired of the archetypal round.
Q: How acold tin this squad go?
A: This squad tin spell arsenic acold arsenic it wants to. If we bash the things that we cognize we person to bash to win, past we’ll beryllium successful.
Q: What specifically has made Duke manager Mike Krzyzewski great?
A: I deliberation one, the mode helium could conscionable set with the times, conscionable set to the mode the crippled of hoops is being played. But also, helium cares astir his players. He wants each his players to truly prima successful their roles, and to beryllium the champion that they could perchance be, and helium puts his players successful the presumption to bash that.
Q: What was the astir memorable code helium gave?
A: Honestly, I conscionable retrieve him talking a batch to me, personally, conscionable astir being the champion subordinate that I could be. How if I travel to Duke, helium would decidedly assistance maine on that path, and however overmuch helium wanted maine to travel to the school, and that was big-time for me, having specified a large manager similar Coach K archer you that helium wants you to beryllium a portion of his program. It was special, and to conscionable spot however helium truly made me, Cam [Reddish] and Zion [Williamson] and Tre [Jones], however helium made each that work.
Q: Knowing him arsenic you do, what bash you deliberation his emotions are arsenic helium begins this past season?
A: I deliberation he’s blessed with everything that he’s been capable to bash for the game. I deliberation helium wants to spell retired connected a affirmative note.
Q: It volition beryllium a thankless task pursuing him.
A: Oh, yeah. But [Jon] Scheyer is up to the task. I speech to Scheyer each the time, actually. That’s my guy, truthful … truly blessed to spot what he’s gonna bash with the program, helium already has immoderate big-time commits. One of my young boys, Dariq Whitehead, helium played connected my precocious schoolhouse team, truthful I’m excited to spot them adjacent year, too.
Q: What is it astir Coach Scheyer that gives you truthful overmuch optimism?
A: He’s been a portion of the programme for truthful long. He’s benignant of similar an hold of Coach K now. It’s conscionable a winning culture.
Q: Who is the best-dressed Knick?
A: Julius tin decidedly dress. I’m gonna enactment Kemba successful there, too.
Q: Where bash you fall?
A: I’m decidedly apical three.
Q: Where would Clyde acceptable successful fashion-wise connected this team?
A: Clyde’s No, 1. There’s nary 1 adjacent to Clyde.
Q: Describe your erstwhile Duke teammate, Mike Buckmire.
A: I emotion Buck, man! Buck’s 1 of those guys that each time helium lit up the room. He conscionable wants to assistance anybody retired successful immoderate mode helium can. One of the smartest humans that I know, and conscionable a large person and a large guy.
Q: Describe gathering Saquon Barkley.
A: He’s a large dude. He’s truly bully astatine football. Even earlier I met him, I loved watching him. Our backmost from Duke, [Daniel] Jones, he’s implicit there, truthful I emotion watching ’em play and I’m rooting for those guys.
Q: You are a Booster Juice guy.
A: It’s ever been thing that my household and I person ever gone to since I was truly young. It’s really 1 of my dad’s favourite places helium tin instrumentality america each the time, particularly aft my games oregon thing … prime up a smoothie. … He was an athlete, truthful I conjecture it was a large portion of his routine, truthful erstwhile they approached with this partnership, I jumped astatine it for sure.
Q: What’s your favourite smoothie?
A: My favourite smoothie is the Strawberry Sunshine.
Q: Favorite New York City things?
A: I emotion nutrient (laugh), truthful I conscionable emotion going to antithetic restaurants successful the city.
Q: Have you ever been to Carbone?
A: I person been to Carbone. That spicy rigatoni’s amazing.
Q: What bash you marque of this bing bong?
A: (Laugh) It’s funny. I really bask it. Some of us, we really drawback ourselves saying it successful the locker room.
Q: To beryllium bing bonged, cipher knows what the hellhole that means, right?
A: Yeah, don’t interest astir it. You don’t need to know.
Q: You cognize what it means?
A: Of course. Like I said, don’t interest astir it (chuckle). If you’re not a portion of the enactment and you’re not a New Yorker, past you don’t truly request to know.
Q: Any connection for Knicks fans?
A: We emotion and admit ya, and we’re ever gonna marque you proud.