NBA Draft Blog Interview with J.P. Primm

For players at “mid-major” programs, making it to the NCAA Tournament is something that many dream of, but never get a chance to fulfill.  Even rarer is for these programs to make it to the Tournament in back-to-back seasons, but that is exactly what UNC-Asheville did this season, led by senior guard J.P. Primm.  I interviewed Primm last year after their first tournament appearance and his brief consideration of entering the NBA Draft.  Wisely, he made the decision to come back to school and he and his teammates were awarded a first round game with #1 seed Syracuse.  UNC-Asheville kept the game tight the whole way, and the Orange were lucky to escape with a 7-point victory.  Primm himself had a terrific game against the heralded Syracuse zone, scoring 18 points, including 4-8 from 3-point range, with 3 assists, while also spearheading a defense which held the Syracuse guards to just 10-24 shooting from the field.  I got to catch up again with Primm again, and as always, he had a lot of great things to say.  Enjoy a brief glimpse into how J.P. sees himself as a player, his senior year, the NCAA Tournament, and much more:

J.P. on how his game developed his senior year:

“My game developed in a lot of ways.  My jumper got better.  I became a better point guard, involving my teammates and learning to look at the game from a different perspective.  I spent a lot more time watching film and breaking down the game.  I learned that I can affect games in more ways than just scoring – also defensively and distributing the ball.”

 

J.P. on making a second straight trip to the NCAA Tournament:

“The first year (2011) was great.  It was a new experience and I think, as a team, we were just excited to be there.  This year we weren’t satisfied with just being there.  We had a little bit of a chip on our shoulders; we didn’t think we should have been a 16 seed.  But the first round game against Syracuse (Syracuse won 72-65) validated our whole year and showed the character of the team.  Coach (Eddie Biedenbach) drew up a great game plan and it played to our team’s strengths. ”

 

J.P. on his strengths as a player:

“Scoring has always been my greatest strength, but now I showed I can get everyone involved and be a leader on the court.  Overall, my defense has improved as well as my shooting, especially my free throw shooting.  I’ve learned how to make better decision on the pick-and-roll, being able to stretch the defense. ”

 

J.P. on parts of his game he wants to improve:

“My footwork.  It’s good now, but it still needs to be improved to be able to play at the next level.  It’s the biggest thing any player can do is improve their footwork.  It will benefit you on both ends of the court.”

 

J.P. on training for the next level:

“Once I graduate on May 5, I will then head to Atlanta, and I will be doing my workouts and preparation there.  Also, I will be heading to Honduras to play with Athletes in Action, which will allow me to come back to the US for workouts with NBA teams.”

 

J.P. on how he envisions his role at the professional level:

“I am going to go out there and give the team what they need.  It’s not going to wow you, but it is going to get the job done.  I can see myself as a Derek Fisher-type player – running the team’s system, hit the open shot when needed, keep the team playing as a unit, and making the right plays.”

 

J.P.’s message for NBA teams and basketball fans:

“Wherever I end up, I am going to work as hard as I can.  Giving my all every single day, doing whatever the team needs from me.  I know if I don’t make a team right away, it’s not going to because I didn’t go out there and give it everything I have. ”

 

I want to thank J.P. for his time again this year and I wish him the best of luck as he looks to fulfill his dream of getting to the NBA.  Thank you also to his agent, Austin Walton of Walton Sports Management Group.  Once you see J.P. play and you get a chance to talk to him, there is no way you can’t root for him to make it.

Leave your comments below, follow me on Twitter – @NBADraftBlog, or feel free to email me at ed@nbadraftblog.com 

 

NBA Draft Blog Interview with J.P. Primm

This year, the NCAA Tournament gave us a new concept called the First Four, 4 opening round games in Dayton.  For those who watched, one of the players who stood out was J.P. Primm, a 6’1 guard from UNC-Asheville, whose 22 points and 5 assists led his team to an opening round victory over Arkansas-Little Rock.  In the next round versus #1 seed Pitt, Primm was on his way to another very good game, until a knee injury knocked him out of the game.  A smooth-scoring guard with the ability to see the floor well and a tough defender, Primm has decided to take the opportunity to test the waters of the NBA Draft before returning for his senior season.  I had the opportunity to talk to J.P. recently about the tournament appearance and declaring for the draft:

J.P. on UNC-Asheville’s Tournament run:

 

“It was definitely exciting. When we were all together watching the Selection Show, we all figured would be heading to Charlotte to play Duke, but then we saw we were going to Dayton for the First Four.  It was a great experience, especially coming from a mid-major conference.”

 

“Winning our first game (against Arkansas-Little Rock) was such a great feeling, but then we had to get on a flight right away to Washington, D.C. to play Pitt.  It was exciting to go back to D.C., we had been there earlier in the year to play Georgetown and liked playing there.  We played Pitt tough, but then I sprained my MCL.  I just wish I could have done more.”

 

J.P. on declaring for the draft:

 

“I decided on declaring after we finished up in the NCAA Tournament.  I had a good season, was named all-conference and had played very well against guards I knew would would be in the draft, like Chris Wright from Georgetown.  After we beat Arkansas-Little Rock, I knew people would know my name now, so I talked with my mom and dad about my options, and we decided it would be a good opportunity to expose my game to more people.”

 

J.P. on preparing for the draft process:

 

“I’m hoping to get a few workouts, and want to be in New Jersey for the large group workout (May 7-8) in front of all of the NBA teams.  I see it as a great opportunity to see where I stack up against the other guards out there.  I had good games against teams like North Carolina, Georgetown and Pitt, so I know I can play with these other guards.”

 

“I am definitely returning for my senior year at UNC-Asheville, I have a good summer set up and I am hoping to take the feedback I get and make my game better.”

J.P. on his preparations for the workouts:

 

“I am working out twice a day, playing as much as I can.  One of our assistant coaches used to coach at Oak Hill, and he was able get some workouts from Brandon Jennings to help me out.  Also, I will be working out with Ganon Baker.”

J.P. on his goals for next season:

 

“I definitely want to see us win the conference and have a 20 win season.  I want us to make it back to the tournament and hopefully go deeper this time.  We are only losing one guy off of this year’s team, so I think we have a very good shot.  The main core of the team is back and we are all very tight.”

 

“Individually, I want to be All-Conference again and possibly Player of the Year, but more importantly, I want to take the team to next level.  I am going to take all the feedback I get, and do what I can to become a better player.

I want to thank J.P. for his time and we all look forward to watching him grow as a player and hopefully fulfill his dream of getting to the NBA.  Make sure to follow J.P on the court this season, and also follow him along on Twitter – @Primm_N_Prop3r