Since we finished playing in Summer League, I’ve spent most of my time here finding my way around and trying to find a place to live. I’ve never lived in a house before. It was a whole new thing for me to have a real estate agent and have them show you like 50 different houses before we found one we really liked. My mother, little sister and I have always lived in an apartment, so it was fun just seeing the smile on my sister’s face knowing she can have her own room now.
It’s close to The Palace, some of my teammates live around there and it’s a good living environment. It’s going to be a good place for my little sister to grow up.
She’s definitely excited to move here. Ariana did what I did – she went to a boarding school, so she’s used to being away from home. We went to the same school for a while – when I was a freshman, she was in eighth grade. I think she and my mom have found a new school for her and she’s looking forward to getting started. She plays volleyball and softball, so I went to a lot of her games throughout my college season. I just try to be her biggest supporter.
I stayed in Orlando for another week after Summer League to help my Uncle Phil coach the AAU team that I used to play for. I was just there last summer playing for his team and now I’m in the NBA. It was just good seeing some of the faces of the guys I was teammates with. We would always pick up some younger kids just to get them acclimated to the new environment and now some of those kids will be heading off to college soon. It was good to coach them – to see how much better they have gotten – and give them some of my pointers after being in college for a year. It was good to be down there with them.
I said when the Pistons drafted me that it felt like a family here in Detroit and I feel that way even more now. I’ve gotten real close to Jordan Dumars, Joe’s son, since the draft. We hang out every day and he shows me around Detroit, some of the areas where we can get food and some of the fun places I can take my mom and my little sister.
I know I’ve seen Jordan before the Pistons drafted me. I don’t know if I’d ever played against him in AAU, but he’s a real good kid. He has a good head on his shoulders. He’s one of those good people you need in your circle to help you become a better player and a person. Just hanging around with Joe and the coaching staff has also been great. I got real close with Jason Hervey, as well – he’s our new player development director. It’s really like a family now.
I’ve been working out with Arnie Kander and Roy Rogers a whole lot since I’ve been here in Detroit. Roy says don’t try to kill yourself, we’re still early, but he says he sees the fire in my eyes when I’m playing. When I’m out there, I just want to get better every single day – get better in a certain area every day and try to push myself. Roy says to relax, my time is going to come.
The thing about me is I try to do big things before I do the small stuff. Being around Arnie and Roy, they tell me the big stuff will come after you get the small stuff down first. We’ve been working on my footwork and getting my jump hook higher, getting my jump shot right. I’m now starting to see that the little things add up to help get the big things right.
Arnie is the best trainer I’ve seen my entire life and I haven’t been here even three weeks yet. He knows what he’s talking about. Some people, you ask them questions and they look stuff up, but he knows it right there and then. I came in and he had a magazine-sized stack of papers with the stuff I did wrong and some of the things I was good at. He had studied some of the games I played and he had critiqued my stride and the way I shoot my shot – how my left hand is on the ball – and he broke down my entire game and helped me out a lot, just changing my game around. He sees stuff that I wouldn’t even think about looking at. He looks at all those small things I was talking about.
I’m going to be here for the rest of the summer, just getting really acclimated to the new area, working out every day and getting close to my teammates, Kim English and Khris Middleton and all the other guys who are coming in. I worked out with Brandon yesterday, getting a feel for each other on pick and rolls and things like that. It’s been a great experience so far, from the draft and Summer League and now getting really settled here and getting to know the people and the places. It’s great to be a Detroit Piston.