One of the more enjoyable things I have observed from interviewing young players is watching them grow up. Two years ago, I interviewed Burton after a Vincent game and found him to be extremely polite but very quiet and shy. Two years later, he is much more at ease during interviews. I mentioned that he seems like a different guy when interviewed. He said the reason is that he is taking a different approach. “I used to struggle with interviews. Now I simply treat it as a conversation. It is not that big of a deal.”
Here is my interview with the relaxed Deonte Burton.
DoddsOnSports (DOS): "Watching you play this summer, it looks like you can drive 125 miles to the north, put on a helmet and play tight end for the Packers and talk some smack.
Deonte Burton (DB): "I have been working on my conditioning and more of my shooting and ball handling, just the intangibles..
DOS: "Did you ever play football? Did any body ask you to play football?.
DB: "I played in middle school and for the Boys and Girls Club. I played tight end and defensive end.
DOS: When was the first time you realized that you had a talent for basketball, that you knew you were good?
DB: "I still don’t think I have too much game. I still need a lot of work. People came up to me when I was younger because I was bigger than everyone. Then about two years after I started, I started to get feedback that I was pretty good.
DOS: The changeover in coaches, Buzz to Mojo, talk about the drills and what you are working on …. is there a different focus?
DB: "Yes, it is much more focused on shooting and on skill development during the summer. That is probably the biggest difference. It is more drills with a ball rather than just pure conditioning.
DOS: Just watching you and Juan, Duane and JaJuan Johnson, I think the drills have been working. It seems like you guys are better ball handlers this summer.
DB: "Yes, you couldn’t really tell about us last year because we were so sore from the conditioning. We are not as sore this summer, so you can see more of the progression.
DOS: What are your initial impressions of the new coaching staff?
DB: "They emphasize the family and closeness of the team. We have a lot of team meetings. Lots of team bonding, so we are closer to being a team earlier on.
DOS: What parts of your game are you working on specifically?
DB: "Having a consistent shot and my ball handling are the two main things I have been working on this summer.
DOS: What did you learn most last year? If Deonte Burton from Summer of 2013 were standing here, how would you be different today?
DB: The biggest thing I learned was don’t consider these as interviews, take them as simply conversations. I used to be more nervous when I was talking to you, but now it is just a conversation. It’s a different mindset for me. That’s what I would advise “Deonte Burton” from one year ago.
Part 2: Deonte gives us a preview of the players and how they have improved during the summer.