HoopsHype.com Interviews

Johan Petro: "I will put my name in the draft again next year"
by Jorge Sierra / October 5, 2004

You lived several years in the island of Guadalupe. Did you start playing basketball there?

Johan Petro: Yes, I started playing in Guadalupe. I started playing for a team called Baie Mahault.

How did you start playing?

JP: I was tall, so everybody started telling me that I had to play basketball. But the truth is I was not very interested in basketball at the beginning. I was more into soccer, karate and other things.

How different was life in Guadalupe to life in France for you?

JP: There are differences. The main difference is that there's more sun there. And also the lifestyle, the rhythm of life is very different.

Was basketball the reason you moved to France or was there any other thing?

JP: Yes, that was the reason. I got recruited by a team and I moved to France for basketball reasons only.

You didn't play much in Euroleague last season with your club Pau-Orthez. Do you expect to get much more playing time this season?

JP: I didn't play much last season because I was still was very young. It was my first year. This year, I'm not expecting that they'll give me a lot of playing time, but I hope to play more. That's what I'm working hard for every day.

You are going to play as a pure center there, right?

JP: Yes, of course.

Is that the position in which you would like to play or do you like power forward more?

JP: I can play center, but in the future I would like to play power forward more.

You declared for the draft last season. How close were you to finally entering the draft?

JP: I put my name in the draft last year because I wanted people to watch me. I just wanted to get more attention. I didn't withdraw because I was going to be No. 16 or No. 20 or whatever. I only wanted to draw more attention in hopes of getting a much better position in the next draft.

Which teams expressed more interest in you during the draft process?

JP: The team that expressed more interest was the Utah Jazz. After that, I think the Denver Nuggets were also interested. And also the San Antonio Spurs.

So your plan is to declare yourself eligible again next year, right?

JP: I will put my name again next year. I want to prove to the NBA that I can play. I want to prove that I'm not just a player with potential, but also one that can play now.

If you are not projected as a lottery pick, would you still enter the draft?

JP: I'm not worried about that. I'm not thinking about being in the Top 10, Top 15 or whatever. I'm just looking forward to working hard, have a very good season and show everybody what I'm able to do. And then, what happens, happens.

What would you say are your strengths as a basketball player?

JP: I would say my quickness, that I have good hands and my timing. I have a lot of great qualities (laughs).

And your weaknesses?

JP: I think I have to develop my body. I have to get a better body, get stronger. I think I need to improve physically.

Some scouting reports say that you have to improve your attitude too. Do you agree with that assessment?

JP: That's a little bit true. Maybe it's because I'm young, but sometimes you relax and don't give your best effort. I have to be more constant in practice and also in games.

There will be a lot of people watching you this season NBA scouts, the media... Does it make you nervous at all?

JP: No, I'm not worried about that. I don't mind who's watching. I'm just going to try to make it the best I can and whatever happens, happens.

Do you enjoy getting all this attention from the media or does it bother you?

JP: It's not a problem for me. It has some positives. Sometimes I can use the criticism in the media as a motivation to get better. It's not a problem for me.

You had a scooter accident last year. Are you still riding the scooter or what?

JP: Not riding the scooter anymore. That was last year. At that time, the only way to get to practice was with a scooter because I didn't have a driver's license yet. I couldn't go to practice and back home any other way. But the scooter thing is in the past now.

Jorge Sierra is the editor of HoopsHype.com. Bouna Ndiaye, Johan Petro's agent, helped conduct the interview

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