Yesterday Phoenix Suns rookie Marquese Chriss made the first start of his professional basketball career against the Portland Trail Blazers.
The Power Forward came out of relative nowhere to be taken with the eighth pick in the 2016 NBA draft by the Suns and hasn’t disappointed since entering the NBA.
Ahead of the game, I caught up with Chriss to have a chat to him about the milestone, the process of becoming an NBA player and more.
First start in the NBA. What went through your head when you first found out you were going to start tonight?
I was ecstatic. I was happy. Grateful. Just try to put in work and eventually it pays off.
This time last year you were getting ready for your college season in Washington… Now you’re in the NBA. How would you express the year, about 365 days, thoughts on what’s gone on over that timeframe?
Man. It’s been a whirlwind. There’s been a lot of ups and downs. It happens so fast. Like you said, last year this time my hand was broken. It’s just crazy how time flies and things change.
Throughout the process, you were a bit of a late riser and quite underrated. Almost all of a sudden you came up out of nowhere for most people, but on the West Coast we knew about you. With all that being said right now, what’s your thoughts on the whole process up to right now? The pre-draft, draft, Summer League and now into the NBA season?
You know, going from a guy that people weren’t really talking about through to all of a sudden you’re a lottery pick…
…I think it’s just timing for me. You probably know, on the West Coast, that people didn’t really get the chance to watch much of me at college. Throughout the draft process I just started getting a lot more exposure, everything was real strategic on how I was getting exposure and it benefited me really well.
What’s been the biggest difference for you between the college and the pro game so far?
Man, other than a lot of games so far, it’s just adjusting to the pace of game and understanding of positioning and not just trying to be better than people with athleticism because everyone’s athletic but trying to play the mental game and be in good position and think, not just play.
Thank you, appreciate it.