With the Alex Len buzz and discussion increasing — seriously, look at the comments section — over the likelihood that the former Maryland center could go No. 1 overall, ESPN’s Bill Simmons and Jalen Rose sat down for a mock job interview with Len.
They chatted about Len’s gymnastics background, his transition to America and broke down some game film.
Here are some highlights, transcribed for your enjoyment:
On Roy Hibbert, considered a shot-blocking project out of college who turned into a dominant defensive player for the Indiana Pacers:
I’ve been watching him a lot last summer. I did a lot of research. I think he’s really talented, and coming out of college he was more of a defensive player, but I think he worked really hard. He’s very skilled on the block. Right now, there’s not a lot of players like him who plays on the block with his skillset. That’s what makes him different from other players.
On what he brings to the NBA:
I’m trying to be proactive with this injury right now. I’m just going to work hard to come back as fast as I can, to be better than I was before.
On his style of play:
Before I got to the United States, I used to play a European style of play, where you could do everything you want. So I played a lot of face-up, I shot a lot. When I got to the United States, my coach said you’re going to make your money on the block. I started changing my game, trying to learn how to be productive on the block and started shooting more jump hooks and working on it.
On something he wishes people would talk about more during this process:
I think what makes me different is that I came from another culture. In two years, when I came I didn’t speak any English.
I took a lot of classes at Maryland, I would learn English really hard. My days were starting at 8 a.m., had four or five hours in study hall, just learning English on my own.
It was really tough. I had challenges, not just on the court, but off the court, in the movie theater, I couldn’t order food. I had to point with my fingers. It was fun. It was a lot of fun. My teammates helped me a lot, my coaches and my teammates.
On hating Duke:
First thing I learned in college.
On Ukrainian women:
Everyone asks me the same question. I’m sure they are, because the history of Ukraine, 200 or more years ago, it’s a lot of cultures. We have different Armenian people, born from different cultures. It’s a mix.