Brandon Jennings: "I'm the young Buck"
In Monday’s NBA Summer League game in Las Vegas, you were struggling with your shot all game. Yet, you let the clock wind down and buried a contested 3 to seal the game. Did you have any doubt taking that shot?
Brandon Jennings: You know I just like to play with a lot of confidence. I’m not the best shooter, but once I get going, I get going.
Throughout the Summer League you played in-your-face, full-court defense and constantly pushed the ball on offense. Is that something we should expect in the regular season?
BJ: Yea, that’s my game. I like to go out there and push the ball. Get everybody going.
What are your expectations for your rookie season?
BJ: Just help the team. Do whatever I can to help the team win.
Describe the level of competition here versus the Euroleague. Which is tougher?
BJ: Well, overseas it’s more physical. That’s about it. This game over here is more open and has a lot of athletic and great, talented guys. The competition over here is way better.
Obviously, you played a lot against Tyreke Evans of the Sacramento Kings in your high school days. How did the matchup go on Monday and who do you think got the better end of it?
BJ: You know he played good for his team. I tried to do what I could do for my team. Fortunately, we won the game and that’s all I’m trying to prove. That I could run the team and win games.
You’ve been playing against the top draft picks the past few months in pre-draft workouts and the Summer League. Where do you think you would have been drafted if you had played in the NCAA last year?
BJ: I don’t know. I really don’t care. I’m in a great spot right now with coach Scott Skiles. He was a point guard so you know he’s been helping me out. You know I’m happy where I’m at right now.
BJ: You know I have been getting that question a lot. It depends, if he stays all the years. I think it would be good for the kid so he can grow up. If he stays over there and develops, he could be the number one pick in the draft.
Milwaukee is a blue-collar town. Will your style bring fans back to the game?
BJ: Hopefully. I put on a show for them when I was at the McDonald’s All-American game and hopefully they were there watching and will come out and support.
What’s your impression of Milwaukee?
BJ: It reminds me of Oak Hill (where he went to prep school). It’s quiet and peaceful and laid-back. I like it.
A lot of critics have been tough on you. The commentators in the first Summer League game questioned if you could run a team. Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee reported that you had tripped Kings forward Jason Thompson. Do you feel you have a target on your back with the media?
BJ: Umm, I don’t know. I really don’t listen to it. I just play basketball. The first game I was a little overhyped and was really anxious to get out there and play. I lost all my energy in the warm-ups, you know, dunking and all that. That’s why at the beginning, I was just trying getting back used to playing. On the incident with Jason Thompson, it was an accident. Its basketball, everyone makes a mistake.
You have many nicknames Boo De Boo, Young Money, and more. Which is your favorite?
BJ: I have a new one called Young Buck. I’m the young Buck right now, so I’m going to roll with that one right now.
What’s something you need to improve on to get your game to the next level?
BJ: Getting stronger and going to my right. I need to work on my shooting.
You already donated $50,000 to the National Italian American Foundation’s (NIAF)/Abruzzo Relief Fund after an earthquake in the town of L’Aquila. Is there any philanthropy project you are working on?
BJ: This summer I am giving back to the park that I grew up at. It’s called Rawley Park in Gardena, California. It’s where I first started playing basketball, and I just wanted to give back.
Joseph Woelfel is a frequent contributor of HoopsHype.com