Over the weekend at the Jordan Brand Classic, NBADraft.net had the opportunity to catch up with Antonio Blakeney, a potential top 10 pick in the 2016 NBA Draft. Blakeney is one of the top shooting guards in the nation and will team up with Ben Simmons to give LSU one of the top recruiting classes.
NBADraft.net: How have you liked New York so far?
Antonio Blakeney: It’s been real good. I’ve been here a few times, to come back it’s been a blessing but the main thing; the event wherever it would be at is a blessing to play in just because the alumni, all the things that they’ve done after they played in this event. So I’m just trying to follow in some of their tracks.
NBADraft.net: Do you feel like you have anything to prove playing in this game?
Antonio Blakeney: Yeah definitely, the fact there’s a lot of hype around all the players, and I just want to show that I’m the best guard in the country. So that’s what I’m trying to do every time I step out on the floor.
NBADraft.net: To someone who hasn’t seen you play before, how would you describe your game to them?
Antonio Blakeney: Someone who plays with a lot of intensity. A real competitor who can score the ball from all three levels. Athletic player who loves to play defense and just loves to win.
NBADraft.net: Is there anyone in the NBA that you try to emulate?
Antonio Blakeney: No, not at all. Not at all. One day I just want to be able to have kids emulate me.
NBADraft.net: At what age did you realize basketball was something you wanted to pursue?
Antonio Blakeney: I was playing around a little bit when I was young but I didn’t start taking it seriously until I was like in the seventh grade.
NBADraft.net: Obviously, playing with Ben Simmons, one of your Each 1 Teach 1 teammates, is a good incentive, but what else appealed to you about going to LSU?
Antonio Blakeney: The way the coaches came at me and their plan for the program. They pretty much planned it out. Everything you do in life is about progress, Coach Johnny Jones and his staff has been there for three years, and each year they have gotten better. Each year they win more games. This past year even made the tournament. As long as you’re making progress, all that other stuff doesn’t matter.
NBADraft.net: With Jordan Mickey and Jarell Martin leaving, do you feel a lot of pressure trying to replace them?
Antonio Blakeney: I feel like there will be more pressure of course because they were two great players, but it’s pressure that we are willing to handle. We still have other good players, and other good bigs; Craig Victor, Elbert (Robinson), Aaron Epps, and all those guys, so we’ll still be fine.
NBADraft.net: Where do you see yourself in five years?
Antonio Blakeney: In the NBA.