Josh Primo, a 6-foot-5 guard from Canada who is the youngest draft-eligible prospect in this class, has been climbing on recent mock drafts.
Primo shot 38.1 percent from beyond the arc as a freshman this past season. He averaged 1.25 points per possession on his jumpers, per Synergy, which ranked 96th percentile among all college basketball players. ESPN, SI.com, CBS Sports, BasketballNews.com and Chad Ford all listed Primo as one of the biggest risers following the NBA draft combine in Chicago last week.
The prospect recently caught up with HoopsHype to discuss the NBA draft combine, his decision to stay in this class rather than return to college, and potentially playing for the Canadian national team down the road.
Please note this interview was minorly edited in its transcript for clarity.
Many evaluators thought you were one of the biggest risers at the combine. How was your experience?
Josh Primo looks very comfortable on the ball, given age, level of competition and stakes. No way teams let him go back to school. Doesn’t turn 19 til Christmas.
— Jonathan Wasserman (@NBADraftWass) June 24, 2021
Josh Primo: First and foremost, it was really fun. I just really took the time to be in the moment. This is an amazing opportunity. I was blessed to be in Chicago and blessed to be working out in front of however many executives there were. I was able to interview with them and talk to them about my game and show them what I can do for their team. It was a blessing. It was something I’ve always wanted to do. I’ve taken it day by day and it’s been really fun.
What is the main thing you are telling teams about your game during your meetings?
JP: I always talk about my energy. I’m always trying to uplift my teammates and uplift the people around me, wherever I’m at. So being able to come into a game, I immediately bring that energy that my team might need. I’m able to do that really well. On the offensive end, because of my shooting, people can see that I’m able to shoot the ball. But that opens up the rest of my game. I’m able to get downhill, create for myself and create for my teammates. Then, on the defensive end, I talk to them about being able to switch. I can guard multiple positions as a disruptor out there on the court.
How were you able to show your NBA skill set during the five-on-five scrimmages at the combine?
JP: Coming into those games, a lot of people have the mentality that they have to “get theirs” and that’s only normal. But I came into that game with the goal of being a leader on the court, get a win. That’s what our team talked about coming into the locker room and coming into our team meeting. We knew that the one thing that every team was going to value is winning – a winning effort, a winning culture and a winning attitude. I came into that game just trying to be a leader. I wanted to give energy and play as hard as I possibly could. I knew that whatever came from that would be good.
How hard was it for you to be a leader when you were the youngest player in college basketball this past season?
JP: I always played up as a kid. I’ve always been the youngest player on whatever team I’ve played on. I’ve only been the oldest player on my team during my senior year of high school. When you’re the youngest player, it’s important to be assertive. I gain that respect from my game and create that chemistry with my teammates so they know you want the best for them. That’s the way my leadership starts. It really comes from learning about my teammates, who they are as players, and just being able to give exactly what they need to be successful. It’s not something where I’m going to be yelling at guys. But if that’s what they need, that’s what they need. I’m willing to figure out what each person specifically needs to be successful. I’m ready to give that.
How do you think being the youngest draft-eligible prospect improves your draft stock?
JP: It’s a great thing. It’s one of the great parts about being in this draft at such a young age. There’s so much room for me to grow. I know that I’m going to continue to work. It’s all I know how to do. If I get into a great organization where I can continue to take those steps and get better every day, it’s going to really help me. When I get around 21 or 22 years old, I feel like I’ll be ahead of a lot of players at that age. I’ll be able to have a long and successful career and just be able to win at the highest level.
As someone who was testing the waters, what sort of feedback do you need to stay in the draft?
Higher than most draft boards on Alabama’s Josh Primo. The 6’5” G w/ a 6’9.25” wingspan possesses a promising offensive skillset of making shots with range and finishing with craft around the rim. The youngest player in college basketball last season and plenty of room to improve pic.twitter.com/ShDQIoDMZo
— Matt Pennie (@matt_pennie) June 26, 2021
JP: Mostly, it’s the opportunity to go on to a team that’s looking to develop me and see the same vision that I have for myself as well as what I want for the team that I’m on. I want to be able to collaborate on that. Being in the first round is something that I’ve always wanted to do. I had the choice to go back, which was an amazing thing and I was blessed to have that option. But at this time, I feel as if I am ready to be in the NBA. Now, it just depends on the opportunity that I have with the team.
What do you want an NBA organization to know about the person that you are off the floor?
JP: One question that they ask a lot is for three things that describe me as a person. I think what a lot of people see when they get a close relationship with me is that I’m a very energetic, bubbly person. I’m always happy. I’m happy to be around you and be able to work. I’m also observant. When I walk into a room, I’m not necessarily going to go up to everybody. But I’m going to watch, sit back and observe and see what I see. I like people-watching. I’m also really determined. When I set my mind to something, I’m not going to stop until I get it. The only thing that I have stopped at is the game of tennis.
That game is hard. I got a late start on that one. It was very frustrating, at 12 years old, trying to beat all these eight years old. [Laughs] I can’t even keep a tennis ball up on my tennis racket. They were just killing me. That’s something I love to watch. I love to watch tennis. It’s probably my second favorite sport other than basketball. However, I just suck at it. I can’t do it. That is one thing that I’ve quit on. But it’s not something I do very often. It makes me admire these players even more.
What was it like growing up as a basketball fan in Canada?
JP: My sister used to make fun of me because I always wore my Chris Bosh jersey as a kid. I loved the Raptors as a young kid. Whenever I got a chance to go see them, I would. Bosh was my favorite player. So I was always running around my jersey in the house. My sister would call me Josh Bosh.
A lot of Canadians see that it is possible for us to have NBA dreams. It’s right there in front of us. I’m seeing guys that I watched in high school who I used to look up to and now I see they are in the NBA and are doing really well. I keep seeing that. Now, I’m just slowly starting to follow that same path. It’s been really fun. People are starting to see that for me as well. I’ve been able to be around a lot of young players. They’ve been able to see me do what I’m doing at this point in my career.
I want to lead them on and it’s going to be really fun. I hope we can continue this and at some point, I hope we can beat the USA when it comes to the world championships and things like that. It’s only the beginning, really. We’re continuing to challenge that thought in everybody’s mind that Canadians are soft and we’re not at that level yet. But we are right there. People will see that.
What else should people know about you that we haven’t discussed yet?
JP: My sister played college basketball. My relationship with her is really good. She is living with me right now and she is going to be with me for my first year. We have a big age gap. She is 12 years older than I am. She has always called me her son. [Laughs] We have a great relationship and we are always around each other. She is always in the gym with me. She is detail-oriented and it’s great to be around her and be able to work with her, especially because when she was in college, she lived in the United States. So now we can finally get back together and she can help jumpstart my career.