Toronto rookie O.G. Anunoby made a faster-than-expected debut this season, recovering from injury ahead of schedule, and has been playing valuable minutes for the Raptors when given the chance.
The London-born, US-educated Nigerian, who stands a touch under seven foot, was out for much of the year after having knee surgery while still at Indiana University, but is nearing 20 appearances for the Raptors, after his speedy rehabilitation.
KweséESPN: You got your first start at Houston (replacing the injured Norman Powell). How was the experience?
Anunoby: [It] Felt good. I worked really hard. I got a lot of support from my teammates, coaches, my family, so it feels good. I expected it... I've been working hard [upon return from injury].
KweséESPN: Your passing vision has been a pleasant surprise for most observers and you're shooting a decent clip from the corner three. Are those skills something you always had in your arsenal but just didn't get a chance to display while in college, or you were working on both while rehabbing?
Anunoby: Yeah [I've been] working on shooting from all over the court, and the passing. It's just something I've done since high school. Being able to play on the ball more, I can show it more now. In high school I played on the ball a lot, but in college I didn't do it as much, but now I can show it in the NBA.
KweséESPN: Do you find NBA spacing easier to play in, compared to the collegiate level?
Anunoby: Yeah, and I like it. More space is good for me. It makes it harder to be guarded offensively.
KweséESPN: Which teammates have been the most helpful since you got to Toronto?
Anunoby: CJ (Miles), Serge (Ibaka), JV (Jonas Valanciunas). Advice from them? Just to work hard in everything you do on the court. Give your best effort.
KweséESPN: Which players are you looking forward to playing against?
Anunoby: I want to play LeBron. I want to play Kawhi... we played the Spurs but he wasn't playing. And Paul George.
KweséESPN: Talking about those All-Stars, you recently played against one of the trickiest offensive players in the league, the Rockets' James Harden. How valuable was that experience?
Anunoby: He's a really good offensive player. Just being on my toes, reacting to him. It helps for teammates to talk to you so you know when the screens are coming, and different coverages [defensively]. Just being connected, that's really important with a player like that.
KweséESPN: You've been in Toronto a few months now, what are your thoughts on the city?
Anunoby: It's a nice looking city. Really good food. I try to eat Nigerian food once in a while but I eat Jamaican food too. I've heard of Tim Hortons but I haven't been there. I've been to Rabba (Grocery stores) though.
KweséESPN: What do you end up doing after practice or shootaround (on gameday mornings)?
Anunoby: Just go to sleep. If we have a game I'll go to sleep after shootaround. Besides that I watch Netflix. Stranger Things. I'm on season one...I started watching late.