This past season, Nate Hinton was an anchor on a University of Houston men’s basketball team that finished 23-8 overall and 13-5 in their conference.
Hinton, 21, will likely have his name called in Wednesday’s NBA draft.
A 6-foot-6 swingman, from Gastonia, North Carolina, the same hometown of Los Angeles Lakers legend James Worthy, Hinton had a good year for the Cougars. Starting all 31 games in his sophomore season, he averaged 10.6 points and 8.7 rebounds. He shot 38.7% from the 3-point line and was a second-team All-American Athletic Conference honoree last season.
Some draft experts have projected that Hinton could land with the Boston Celtics in the second round, the No. 47 pick overall.
Nate Hinton Talks Excitement Ahead of NBA Draft
Hinton on the excitement: “I’m excited. On a scale of 1 to 10 after I hear my name called, it’s definitely going to be a 12 or 13. But right now, it’s kind of a 7 or an 8. Each hour that goes by, my stomach is getting more and more nervous and things like that but, I’m not too nervous or too anxious just because it’s all a part of God’s plan and you know, whatever’s meant is meant and I’ll take it on the chin so, I’m just appreciative of this opportunity and just excited to start this new journey.”
Nate Hinton on his motivation: “Just growing up, my mom used to ask me and my brother, ‘What are you going to do when you grow up?’ And at a young age, I’m thinking, ‘I don’t know what I want to do. Right now, I’m having fun playing basketball …’ And the older I got, and because it’s not a traditional job where you typically get a degree from going to school and X-Y-Z, and then get a job you got to better yourself in every situation. So over the years, that just kind of motivated me to show me and my mom that, ‘Look. This is what I want to do and this is how I want to do it. So I’m going to use the things that you instilled in me and this is where it comes from.’ And also, that hunger and that drive to be one of the best in the game. I put a lot of work in; put a lot of time in, so I think that’s what drives me.”
Nate Hinton: ‘I Kind Of Play Like Marcus Smart’
Hinton on game similarities: “Honestly, I play like a dog out there man; I don’t think you can put a label on who I play like. I kind of play like Marcus Smart because of how he plays with his aggression, he’s all over the place and just the mindset of Patrick Beverley and Montrezl Herrell; guys like that. It’s not the fact that I play like them but, it’s just the mentality that I take on with guys like that. So it’s a little bit of Avery Bradley and it’s just guys that take pride in guarding and I think that outside of their size, they just have the knack and have the pride of that I’m going to stop you and I’m going to get my team stops and energize my team… I think that’s where the comparisons can come from.”
Nate Hinton on conversations with Boston Celtics: “Just the usual. Just trying to get to know me. Because you see the film, you hear from coaches doing research on your background and then once they get a chance to see me, you see that’s the real me. But it was just really general questions and them trying to pick my brain and see what I’m all about and I’m all about winning. So you know, the Boston Celtics have a history of winning so that’s what kind of got those guys interested and we’ll see what happens.”
Hinton on weirdest questions he’s been asked during NBA Draft interviews: “I think the weirdest question would be it was to describe the people in the room. It was a lot of people in the room, a group of 12 people and it was just to see if I was OK–it was one guy that was a farmer, another guy was a former pro, and another guy was just some random that was just … but, it was 12 people on there and I’m like, ‘We’re here to talk about basketball, we’re here to get on your team …’ and you’re trying to figure out what three guys look alike.”
Nate Hinton Met With Magic, Clippers, Warriors & More
Hinton on other teams that he’s met with: “I met with the Orlando Magic, the Clippers, the Timberwolves, the Golden State Warriors, Memphis and Charlotte. And obviously Brooklyn and the Rockets and a lot of other teams that are on the list. It’s a lot of ‘em so…”
Nate Hinton on playing like Jimmy Butler: “That’s the dude that I’m going to be looking at the most. Young Jimmy Butler? The Chicago Bulls Jimmy Butler with all the vets on the team Jimmy Butler. Because when I come in the league, they’re not going to ask me, ‘Nate, go in there and score 30 …’ like, I know that. They’re going to say, ‘Nate, do your job. Go in there and rebound and defend and be what you’ve been but, take it up a little better …’
“They’ll want me to get better but, that young Jimmy Butler that’s just going to go out there and grind and do the dirty work and develop? And year by year – and I know that I’m a hard worker. I’ve got a history of it. I’m not going to get here and change. So, year by year and bit by bit, just brick by brick, just get better year by year and eventually in Year 3 or 4, 5, 6 … I strongly believe that because of that hard work paid off. There’s no other choice. They keep talking about the 3-ball, but that midrange is that bread-and-butter. We’re just working on all aspects of the game. And the thing that a lot of teams think that I can’t do because I didn’t show was dribbling the ball, you know. I played point guard in high school, so you can fall for the scouting report if you want to, but it’ll be just another opportunity to showcase that.”
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