This is the first installment of The Purple Panjandrum’s player interview series. First up on the mic was Kings rookie second round pick, Hassan Whiteside. Whiteside is a 21-year-old, 7 foot tall shot blocker out of Marshall.
TPP: Hassan, tell me about your summer with Hakeem Olajuwon.
HW: I mean, it was great. He really taught me a whole bunch of moves that I’ve never seen or that any other coach had ever taught me. Just stressing about keeping my hands up and he even taught me about being a better shot blocker, he described it as being a big cat.
TPP: How long were you with Hakeem?
HW: A week and a half, just one on one.
TPP: Did he work on just one, go to move, or a tandem of post moves?
HW: A tandem, just how they guard him. I’m going to work out with him every summer for the rest of my career. It won’t be the last time.
TPP: So we are going to see the dream shake, is that what you are telling me?
TPP: After Las Vegas, you went to a big man camp with Jason Thompson. What did you learn from that experience?
HW: Just really how to play hard and just seeing where I was at versus the other big men.
TPP: What are you doing to gain all this mass and what are you going to do to maintain it?
HW: I really think it’s just good genes and being able to just keep on weight. Like I said, my dad was a pro football player and he was like 290-pounds.
TPP: Do you think that adding all this weight (25-pounds since the draft), is going to help you get on the court faster?
HW: Yeah, just being able to push people down there and to keep my position because I had a real hard time doing that.
TPP: How is the transition going from 1 year at Marshall and now all of the sudden, you are a pro?
HW: Everybody’s big, everybody’s good. I’m more in the background instead of the main focus.
TPP: Who is your big brother on the team?
HW: Samuel Dalembert and JT (Jason Thompson).
TPP: Last question. You are going to get the “project” moniker thrown on you. Are you ok with that or do you believe that you are ready to compete?
HW: I won’t know until I’m in there.
Hassan Whiteside’s father Hasson Arbubakrr, was a 9th round draft pick out of Texas Tech by the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He played for both the Bucs and the Vikings and continued his professional football career with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League.
As a follow up, I asked Kings coach Paul Westphal if there have been any ill effects that he has seen from Whiteside’s new bulk. Here is what the what the coach had to say, “He moves great. He is very smooth. Every once in a while, he will come from the weak side and block a shot that no one had ever had blocked before in this gym.”
Whiteside will miss some time this week after straining his left patella tendon yesterday in training camp, but it is obvious that the Kings have high hopes for their 2010, second round pick.