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College, NBA / Feb 9, 2010 / 8:00 am

Milwaukee Bucks’ Jodie Meeks & Hakim Warrick Talk Kentucky / Syracuse and Living the NBA Life

This past Friday when I was at Madison Square Garden to watch Knicks/Bucks, I got up with Milwaukee’s Jodie Meeks and Hakim Warrick before the game. With Meeks, a rookie from Kentucky, we chatted about his year so far, the rules of the road and his thoughts on John Wall. With Hak, a five-year pro from Syracuse, we talked about comparisons with Wes Johnson, the best pro advice he never received and his PlayStation addiction. Oh yea, and both of these guys think their alma mater (currently No. 2 and No. 3 in the nation) can win the National Championship. It all plays out in the interviews below…

JODIE MEEKS

Dime: What has been the biggest surprise to you in your rookie year?
Jodie Meeks: Just getting adjusted to everything. Everything’s so new. But at the same time it’s fun. It’s been my lifelong dream, so just trying to get better and better each game.

Dime: Who on the team has taken you under their wing and shown you the ropes?
JM: Michael Redd has done a great job of that. He’s hurt now, but he’s taught me about the ups and downs of the NBA season, that you’ve not going to have it every night, but to come out and be professional about everything. Work as hard as you can, and then when you get out there, do anything you can to help the team.

Dime: Has there been any type of rookie hazing?
JM: Just everything being so new, you don’t make the smartest decisions sometimes. Getting donuts and getting coffee, everybody’s like, “Rookie!” It keeps getting better and better.

Dime: What’s the best city that you’ve been to so far on the road?
JM: I like a lot of them. I think L.A. could go down as one. New York, obviously, because playing at Madison Square Garden is the Mecca of basketball. Orlando, Miami, I like a lot of them. Every time I get to a different city just try and live it up.
Dime: So basically every city other than Milwaukee?
JM: [Laughs]

Dime: When you’re in a city, do you try and go out?
JM: If I have a friend in the city, I try and go eat dinner with them. They take me around and show me some of the spots that they go to. But for the most part, just lay low, focus on basketball and get my career started.

Dime: Before a road trip, what can’t you leave home without?
JM: Definitely phone, wallet and my computer, because I like to watch a lot of movies on the computer and go on the internet.

Dime: What’s some advice that you wish you had before you got to the League?
JM: It’s hard to say. Just be ready to play every night. College you should be ready to play every night, but for the most part, you’re better than a lot of the people you play against. The NBA has the best athletes in the world. Come ready to play every night and work as hard as you can.

Dime: Do you have any type of relationship with John Wall?
JM: I don’t really know him that well. I met him a couple times when I went back last summer, just to go and visit after the Draft, but I don’t really know him too well. But I’ve seen him play, and he’s real good.

Dime: What has impressed you about his game?
JM: I think I’ve just been impressed with the way he’s been able to handle all the press that he gets. Before he even started, they named him Player of the Year in college basketball, so just the way he handles himself on and off the court. He gets things done.

Dime: Talk about Wildcat Nation. How far do you think you guys can go this year?
JM: We can go all the way. We definitely have a shot to do it. It’s a very young team, but when you have players like that, it can make up for it. I’ll definitely be watching, so hopefully they can do it.

HAKIM WARRICK

Dime: What are your initial thoughts on Syracuse’s squad this year?
Hakim Warrick: We have a deep, deep squad. Can do a lot of things – score inside/outside, half court, transition. It’s gonna be big for them, especially going in March.

Dime: A lot of people have compared Wes Johnson to you. Maybe not in a direct player comparison, but in terms of your role on that championship squad. What are your thoughts on him?
HW: He’s a really good player, and I was actually able to play with him and the team before this season started. Seeing how athletic they was [sic] and just a lot of multiples at positions, they do a lot of things and are real active in the zone. I knew coming in that it was going to be a pretty good team, but they really play well together and gel together and that’s something that really helped us win a National Championship.

Dime: Do you think this team could win the National Championship this year?
HW: Yeah. They have all the pieces. No matter what you’re gonna be tested in the Big East. They’ve shown that they can win on the road, they’ve shown that they can beat good teams on the road, they’re shown that they can knock down the three and defend the three. I think if they get a nice draw, them they definitely have a chance to make a run, get to the Final Four and get to the National Championship.

Dime: This Fall, I wrote that you could end up being the best offseason pickup this year. How do you think the season has gone so far?
HW: I think it’s been an up and down for me. I think when I’ve gotten a chance to play, I’ve been playing pretty well. I’m just gonna continue no matter what – whenever my number’s called – to be ready to go out there and perform.

Dime: What’s some advice that you wish you had before you got to the League?
HW: Players are a lot better. Just all-around. College, even playing in the Big East, you play against NBA-type players every night, but from the best player to the 12th player it’s the best of the best. No matter what, don’t take it for granted. Always continue to work your hardest and know that night in and night out you’re playing against the best players in the world.

Dime: What’s something you’ve learned in your four-plus years in the League?
HW: Nothing can prepare you for grind, all the traveling of the season. You really just gotta experience that and go through it. This being my fifth year, I’ve learned and gotten used to it and learned some tricks to the game.

Dime: What is something that most people don’t know about you?
HW: Besides being a basketball player, a lot of people don’t know that I’m a laid-back, shy guy. I really don’t do that much. I stay in the house playing PlayStation most of the time.

Dime: What else do you like to do off the court?
HW: I watch movies, watch TV, play on my PlayStation all the time.
Dime: What games?
HW: Right now, I’m on Call of Duty, but I play Madden, College Football, I switch it up a little. But right now, it’s all Call of Duty.

Dime: What was the last movie that you saw and your favorite movies?
HW: The last movie I saw was The Book of Eli. For favorite movies, I like a little bit of action and comedy, so I like The Dark Knight, The Hangover and Coming To America.

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  • http://www.dimemag.com Aron Phillips

    Between UK and Cuse, I really don’t know who is going to win!

  • celtics10

    Yea thats a battle. I’d say the cuse right now, they make less mistakes with turnovers, an there guards an bigs can match up with UK well

  • Taj

    I’d say Cuse right now.. UK is a very young squad and prone to mistakes. Jim Boehiem has veteran players and can adjust the UK’s tempo..

  • Colton

    kentucky and cuse are gonna go head to head and kentucks gonna lose cuz they cant hit a free throw (sounds like another team a certain someone used to coach) haha.

  • Berek

    @Colton- Kentucky shoots 68% frome the line. Not lighting it up, but not horrible. Syracuse shoots just 65% from the line. In conclusion, I don’t think free throws are going to hold up your argument that UK would lose to Cuse. I think that matchup could be decided by fouls but not free throws..i.e. who gets who in foul trouble. If Cousins sits early, I don’t see UK hanging with the Orange.