As it poured down outside Monday morning, one can only hope it’s a sign that Gradey Dick, the newest member of the Raptors after being selected 13th overall in the 2023 NBA Draft, will make it rain in Toronto.
After an initial press conference with members of the media where he announced he would be wearing the No. 1 jersey and took pictures with head coach Darko Rajakovic, front office members as well as his parents, Dick sat down at the OVO Athletic Center with the Raptors. com for a short chat.
Here are questions and answers to help you get to know the 19-year-old a little better:
Raptors.com: Who’s on your Mount Rushmore of NBA shooters?
Gradey Dick (GD): Oooooh… Steph [Curry], Larry Bird, Ray Allen… who am I not to say? Reggie Miller.
NBA game you’re most looking forward to?
GD: My idols growing up were LeBron [James] and MJ [Michael Jordan] and I watched LeBron a lot, so it would be kind of cool to be on the court with him.
You are more than just a shooter. GM Bobby Webster said one thing that stood out about you is your basketball IQ, have you always had a natural feel for the game?
GD: I think a lot of times with IQ stuff, it comes with playing and watching live reads, just playing game-like situations where you’re kind of forced to be put in those tight spots in a game. Fail a lot, I think that’s one of the most important things when you grow up and still now, it’s the time you learn the most. Coming in as a rookie without the fear of failing in practice and maybe some points in games can really help you in the long run, for those times at the end of the season when it really counts. Getting them down first and then setting yourself up for success.
Have you always been afraid of failure?
GD: Obviously I didn’t like to fail as a really competitive kid and still am. A game could change my mood that week, so I kind of had to learn through my dad and his principles for our family to keep good body language through everything, and that’s what I tried to maintain my freshman year of college. Knowing that my personality both on and off the field is one that fans will get into me with some things, but that’s what I like best. It brings out my competitive spirit when I have that excitement around me.
We saw you got a silver Bengal cat named Milky after Kansas beat Missouri (Missouri’s mascot is a Bengal tiger), can we expect some good-natured mascot-related ribbing in the NBA?
GD: Ooooh, I don’t know if I need more pets. I would like a puppy in the future, but if I get him and Milky it will be a bit of a full house, so I don’t know.
What type of dog do you want?
GD: I really like Australian Shepherds. They need to run a lot so we’ll see, I think I need more of a house dog.
How did you learn the Donald Duck voice?
GD: My grandfather. He can say it clearly, sometimes if I don’t for a while it’s a little shaky, but his is perfect.
How does one even begin to learn the Donald Duck voice?
GD: I don’t know, he’s silly. I just remember being little and him talking like that.
What made you want to become a math tutor (taught middle schoolers while in high school)?
GD: It was just one of those things in high school where there was an opportunity for me. I didn’t really ask for it, but I’m glad they put me in it because it’s something where I could have an impact on the youth, where they look up to basketball players who are in high school. Some of the kids that aren’t that little anymore, I go back to Wichita and see them around and remember just messing around with them and teaching simple math, so that’s cool to see.
Do you consider yourself a good teacher?
GD: I take pride in what I learned from my parents, how to read different people and what point you can get across to different personalities and knowing how to talk to different groups of people.
With all the math in your life, would you consider yourself a basketball analytics guy?
GD: Of course. My father and I made a principle when I was younger that anything you do or want, you should put it down on paper so you can see it come true. It started with duties, keeping responsibilities, finishing your duties. Does it translate into my shooting once I became consistent with it, knowing how many days I would shoot, percentage I shot for the day, knowing the days of the week I shot well, I shot bad, why I did it, being able to go back to those papers and still see it.
What will make you a good student at the NBA level?
GD: First of all just the attitude and willingness to go out there and just try to take everything in and be coachable in the first place. Second, really just taking the importance of just being here in the facility. Your alone time, when guys have that free time to go about their days, go back a little bit to the homework part, where you have to learn different things, where you can get it into your head, what really works for you.