One-on-One with Amare Stoudemire

by Jeramie McPeek
VP, Digital

Posted: May 22, 2002

The Phoenix Suns welcomed high school phenom and potential lottery pick Amare Stoudemire to America West Arena on Wednesday. The 6-9, 245-lb. power forward was one of four players brought in for a pre-draft workout and spoke with reporters about the whole draft process following the two-hour session.

Question: What do you think you showed the Suns during your workout today?

Stoudemire: The workout here was intense. I think I performed pretty good. There was great competition that I competed against out here. I think everything went well for me, though.

Question: How is all this new to you, the media circus, the traveling and all?

Stoudemire: Not necessarily is the media different. It’s just that I haven’t really traveled across the United States the way I am now. That’s about the only thing that’s different. The workout was a little bit more intense, like I said before. Everything is basically the same except the traveling.

Question: Having not played college ball, how much do you feel like you have to impress these teams?

Stoudemire: I don’t feel I have to come out and do what I can’t do to try and impress them. I just have to come out and do what I can do, show them what I’ve got and hopefully they’ll think I’m doing pretty good out here.

Question: What’s the biggest part of your game that you feel you need to work on to make it in the NBA?

Stoudemire: To be a great player or a good player in the NBA, I have to work on my perimeter game.

Question: Did you talk to any of the other guys who have made the jump from high school to the NBA?

Stoudemire: No, I haven’t talked to those guys. I just felt that the only way I could get better quicker and reach my full potential is to play against better players. Education is very important and I understand that. That’s why me and my parents talked about me going to college over the summer.

Question: How do you address the age issue?

Stoudemire: It’s just maturity level, I guess, when the media talks about the age. A lot of guys around my age are not mature. They do stupid things. I think I’m a little more mature than the average guy. That’s why I’m taking the chance to go to the NBA.

Question: Are you ready to handle going from a high schooler to a millionaire?

Stoudemire: I understand what’s ahead of me, which is more business. I have to accept the challenge. It was my decision, so now I’ve got to step up to it.

Question: Have you looked around the league at teams, trying to figure out where you would best be suited?

Stoudemire: There are a lot of teams that need inside play. I’ve got a little power game to my repertoire. There are a lot of teams that need and inside player, like the Magic, Milwaukee, Phoenix, the Clippers. Whatever happens happens.

Question: Where do you anticipate going in the draft?

Stoudemire: I have no clue right now. I mean, I just hope to workout good for each team, and hopefully I can go to a great team and perform great. Let’s hope for the best.

Question: How has your life changed the last couple months?

Stoudemire: It hasn’t really changed that much. The traveling is a little different. I have to adapt to different weather. I have to get more rest and eat better. That type of thing.

Question: How familiar are you with the Suns’ organization?

Stoudemire: The Suns have a great organization. I know they need inside play. I know they’ve got a pretty good team and they’re looking for great things in the future.

Question: You worked out in Orlando earlier this week. How did that workout compare to today’s?

Stoudemire: Basically the same thing. I mean, they take you through the exact same tests. Orlando was a little more active, but basically the same thing.

Question: At what point did you realize you could make the jump to the pros?

Stoudemire: Actually, whatever I put my mind to, I believe I can do it. As a little kid I wanted to be an NBA star, so I kept working hard. Growing up all I wanted to do was dunk. Now that my dunking is (strong), now I’m working on more of my outside game.

Question: When was the first time you dunked?

Stoudemire: I was in sixth grade. I forget the age. I was excited. It was just me and one of my friends out there on the court, and nobody believed me when I told them I dunked, so I had to prove it in the gym in front of like 20 people.

Question: Is there a player you’ve patterned your game after?

Stoudemire: Shawn Kemp was the player that I grew up watching, when he was with the SuperSonics. And after that it was it was just Shaq. Both of them are dominating dunkers. They dunk so hard and I tried to pattern my game after them.

Question: Is there a player in the league you are especially looking forward to matching up with?

Stoudemire: I wouldn’t say matching up, but I would love to see me standing on the court beside Shaquille O’Neal. He’s my favorite player.

Question: How would you describe your game?

Stoudemire: I would describe my game as powerful, a dunker, hard worker. But now I’m trying to add a little more to that. I’m trying to add a little perimeter game, ball handling, jump shots. Hard work pays off.