Donte Greene Interview
By Kevin Duffy
[img_assist|nid=3651|title=Donte Greene - Photo: Nike|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=250|height=328]NBADraft.net was able to catch up with highly-touted Syracuse freshman Donte Greene. At 6-foot-10 230 lbs, Greene has the size and scoring skills to be this season’s version of Kevin Durant. The Orangemen, who missed the NCAA Tournament despite a 24-10 overall record and a 10-6 mark in the Big East last year, expect Greene to help take them back to the Big Dance and further. Among other things, the freshman phenom shared his thoughts on his off-season training, what it’s like to play for Jim Boeheim, and how it feels to be compared to Carmelo Anthony.
Kevin Duffy: You really separated yourself from many players in your class with your performance at the Jordan Classic (20 pts, 7-12 field goals, 2-4 3-pointers, 4-7 free throws, 3 rebounds, 2 assists in 17 minutes, named Co-MVP.) Describe how you were able to dominate such tough competition in that game.
Donte Greene: Just hard work, I’ve always wanted to be the MVP and win an all-star game whether it’s the McDonalds game or the Jordan Classic. Just putting in lots of hours in the gym, working out, and trying to get better everyday. When I got there I made sure I was focused but I also made sure I was having fun, you know that’s the key thing. You have to be able to have fun and be relaxed.
Kevin: What do you think the biggest adjustment from high school basketball to Big East basketball will be?
Donte: Probably just being physical. In high school I was bigger than everybody. I wasn’t necessarily stronger, but I was definitely bigger so I could get away with a lot of things. Being in the Big East, which is definitely one of the toughest conferences in the country, I’ll have to play strong and be able to keep my composure.
Kevin: Carmelo Anthony came to Syracuse and pretty much dominated college basketball en route to leading the Orange to the national title. Do people up at Syracuse expect you to have the same impact, and what impact do you expect yourself to have?
Donte: Up here of course every time my name comes up Melo’s name will come up. I’m just trying to come up here and win, you know, go back to the tournament and win the Big East. Just win.
Kevin: Do you expect to see more time at small forward or power forward this season?
Donte: In our offense power forward and small forward are the same thing, but basically I’ll be doing a little bit of post work and a little bit of play on the wing, you know the whole thing.
Kevin: I know you haven’t played any games for him yet, but what does it feel like to be in the presence of a Hall of Fame coach in Jim Boeheim?
Donte: It feels real good. I’ve known Coach for two years now, I committed my junior year, and our relationship is close. Between working with the USA team and of course here, hopefully he will lead me in the right direction for the next level.
Kevin: When did you know Syracuse was the school for you?
Donte: After visiting NC State, UNC, Georgetown, Maryland, and Virginia, I sat down coaching with Coach [Rob] Murphy and talked about it. Just looking at the rosters, all of those schools had at least 3 or 4 forwards coming back. This year Syracuse has zero forwards coming back. Paul Harris is at the small forward, but other than that nobody. I wanted to step in and make a big impact my freshman year and Syracuse was the place.
Kevin: What teammates have really caught your eye during pre-season pick-up and workouts?
Donte: Definitely Johnny Flynn. I’ve been playing with him since our junior year on AAU and on the USA team this past summer. He’s always working hard, he pushes me, and I’ll push him. A guy that has really surprised me is Rick Jackson (6-foot-9 235 lb freshman forward out of Philadelphia). He’s looked very good so far.
Kevin: From what I’ve read, it seems you’ve put on some weight since last season. What kind of workouts were you doing and did you make any changes to your diet to do so?
Donte: I haven’t really changed my diet, but I’m eating more. I’m eating about 4-5 meals per day. I was on a weights program and I had a personal trainer back home in the summertime before I started playing on the USA team. But when I got up here is really when I put on the weight, with the lifting with my trainers and working out.
Kevin: Other than working out in the weight room, what aspects of your game did you focus on the most this summer?
Donte: My defense. People say that I’m not a great defensive player and that I’m lazy, but Coach Murphy and myself are always hitting the gym, doing defensive slide drills and everything, trying to get my foot speed quicker to help me play defense.
Kevin: Growing up in Baltimore I’m sure you’ve played with a lot of pros from the area. Anyone in particular?
Donte: Oh yeah, I played with Rudy Gay my freshman year in high school when he was a senior. He was the big name in town, but I gave him a couple of buckets and I was pretty happy about that. We work out occasionally when he’s home. I’ve played with Sam Cassell, Michael Lloyd who went to Syracuse, and ‘Melo comes through every once in a while. There are a lot of good players.
Kevin: Who is the team to beat in the Big East this year?
Donte: I think there are two teams to beat in the Big East right now. Certainly Louisville because they have everybody coming back and definitely Georgetown.
Kevin: Would you put those two teams in the national championship picture?
Donte: I could see that. It would be nice to see that number at three, because that’s where we’re trying to get to as well. As far as the Final Four, it could be, but we’re trying to get there ourselves so obviously we don’t want to see Louisville and Georgetown in there.
Kevin: How are you enjoying life on campus so far?
Donte: I love it. When I first got here I was looking to stay here at least three years. The love you get up here is crazy, it really is. The community all supports the school, there’s really nothing up here but Syracuse. Going to class and everything, working hard, it’s just fun. It’s a fun time.