Here’s a little insider secret: Everyone involved in the behind the scenes side of basketball has “their draft.” The group of kids who they’ve watched mature as young men and athletes, who are now ready to realize their dreams. This year’s NBA Draft means a little more to me in the regard that I’ve seen the work some of these players have put in to get to this point.
Former Syracuse guard, Tyler Ennis is one of those players I knew before the hype, the big media outlets, the joys, pressures and happenings that you just can’t prepare for or understand until you reach the pro level. While the two of us sat down for a one on one interview, one of the people from his management team walked towards us, and his family who were chilling in earshot, with a super perplexed look on his face as he reading something on his phone.
“Umm, I just got a text that Tyler’s hosting a party tonight at Sky Room. The club, Sky Room. Does anyone know about that?”
The group loudly laughs it off, realizing this a welcome to the world that Tyler’s now a part of. I just couldn’t resist pointing out the obvious.
“And so it starts.”
Before he walks across that stage at the Barclays Center for that life changing experience, Ennis gave us insight on the whole college to pro process, the reason why so many kids from Canada are now making major impacts in hoops and which celebrity ladies he’d holler at once he reaches a new level of fame.
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Coming into the season, did you think you’d be able to go one and done?
Not really, to be honest. I thought maybe after two years I’d be ready but with my quick transition to the college level, I thought maybe I could have a good chance to leave after one year and here I am.
Was there a point during the college season that you can remember that made you think ‘OK, I can really make the jump?
At one point, we were 25-0 and I started to get mentioned with the other freshman [that had high draft stock]. Through different connections my family and I had, I heard that NBA scouts were starting to really pay attention to me. That’s when I realized if I play up to my potential I could have some interesting decisions to make by the end of the season.
Last year, Anthony Bennett went number one and this year you and Andrew Wiggins are leading the way for the kids from Canada who really rep for your country on the court. What do you think is behind the sudden surge of Canadian talent?
I think that so many of our players are playing in prep schools, that we’re getting the opportunity to be seen more. This year there are eight potential draft picks from Canada. We have a bunch of guys on the high school and college level that are playing big roles on teams that make it to the Final Four or teams that are ranked high in the country.
You were one of the players picked this year for Sports Illustrated’s March Madness preview cover. Not only were you on it, but you got to share it with Syracuse legend, Carmelo Anthony. What was that like for you?
That was big. Every kid that picks up a ball dreams and aspires to be on a magazine cover. It’s something you work for. To be able to do it as a freshman and be on it with Melo, who’s like the best player in Syracuse history, it’s a great honor.
Obviously you listen to Drake, but who else gets heavy rotation on your music playlist?
Ty Dolla $ign, Rich Homie Quan, Meek Mill and Rick Ross. I probably mainly listen to Ty Dolla $ign right now, though.
Is that like a nickname of yours?
(Laughs) Nah, not at all.
I mean, if you kill this year and SLAM gives you a cover, don’t be surprised if that’s your headline.
(Laughs) I’ll take it.
In the 2013 Jordan Brand Classic, Drake gave you and Andrew [Wiggins] specific shoutouts. How much of a relationship do you have with him? Like can you hit Drizzy on a text?
I wouldn’t say we have a relationship. I mean, we know each other but we don’t talk on a regular basis. I know more of his friends, like Niko and few other guys. If I had to, I could get a hold of him. I have his best friends number (laughs). Any time we see other, like if I’m playing and he’s there, he shows love.
Aight man, like we said before, you’re kind of a celebrity now. So we’re going to play a game called Who’s On The Bae-dar? I’ll give you name and you rank them from 1 to 10 on your hot list. First is Iggy Azalea and be honest, don’t be afraid of Swaggy.
(Laughs) I’d give like a 6.5. She’s got a nice body. I like girls with cute faces, but she does have that swag. Her swag bumps her up to a 7.
Ahh man (laughs)
It’s like that?
She’s a 9. I mean she has a cute face, crazy body and she’s got a good personality. She’s definitely a 9.
Man, 8.5 or a 9. Same as Nicki, she’s got a cute face. Most people are all about the body, but I’m the other way around.
Yeah, she is bad. What about Jhene Aiko? She’s my favorite on this list, by the way.
Oooh, yeah. She’s skinny though, what’s her body look like?
She’s got that skinny but curvy body. Like Fab says, she’s kind of Thim Slick.
She can sing, too. I’m giving her an 8.5. Some of my favorites that would just go high off the top are Christina Milian, who I’d give a 9.5, and Lauren London gets a 10.
New-New? Still? (Laughs) She’s queen of Lil Wayne’s herrim though? (Laughs) What about Jennifer Lawrence? Could she really get it?
She’s OK. I’d give her a 7.
Aight, last one. Keke Palmer? She loves rappers, so I’m sure she likes ball players.
(Laughs) She’s a 9. She has a pretty face.