Draft Quotables: Julius Hodge

The following Draft-night quotes are from Julius Hodge, the 20th overall pick by the Nuggets. Also provided are quotes from Hodge following his workout in Denver a few weeks back.

Question: How do you feel about playing with Carmelo Anthony and the rest of the Nuggets?

Hodge: "It's definitely going to be a great opportunity to be able to play with young ‘Melo -- an outstanding young player in the league, Kenyon Martin, Earl Boykins . . . . I really feel blessed right now. I can't control a lot of things out there, but one thing that I can control is that I'm going to wake up and give 110% both on and off the court."

Question: Did you expect to go as high as No. 20?

Hodge: "As far as my top three teams where that I thought I would finally end up, Denver was one of them. My brother has been saying ‘Denver, Denver' all week, but I'd say I could be gone before then. Sitting out there for about two-and-a-half hours, it seemed like a decade. But as guys dropped, I thought Denver would be more likely. I think it's a perfect fit."

Question: Can you put into words what this night means to you?

Hodge: "I'll try and put it into words right now: the way I've been committed, the way my brother stood by me through the whole process, the way from when I was a young pup he groomed me into a young man now, both on and off the court. All the hard work, and defying all my critics, continuing to be emotional and fiery on the court, having a great work ethic . . . . If those words can't describe my feeling right now, I don't know which ones can."

Question: What are you going to work on during the offseason to improve your game?

Hodge: "I'm going to continue to work on my strength. I don't have a huge frame like a Ben Wallace, but I'm strong and I'm wiry, and I'm going to continue to work on that. I plan on continuing to work on my shooting. I've been really working hard on my technique. I'm the type of guy who'll work hard on every facet of my game. I'm intrigued with the game. I study it. I know I'm going to work hard to reach my potential, and surpass it."

On May 27, the Nuggets worked out Julius Hodge along with five other guard prospects.

Nuggets.com's Dan Tolzman was able to catch up with Julius Hodge after his workout for a quick 20 questions:

1. Q: How did your workout go today?

A: I think my workout today went really well. I definitely showcased my new and improved jump shooting ability and my explosion to the basket. I did what I always do, which is play with passion, determination and heart—and you can't lose when you do that.

2. Q: What was the best part of your workout today?

A: I think the best part of my workout today was definitely my shooting. On 2-on-2 and 1-on-1 drills I think I really did a good job of getting to the basket, getting my teammates involved and either scoring or drawing a foul.

3. Q: What do you look to prove to each organization that you workout for, and how do you prepare yourself?

A: I think it's consistent that when I go work out for these teams, they want to see me shoot the ball. That is something since the end of the season that I have been working on tremendously. For me to go out and shoot the ball well and show everybody that I have a high basketball IQ is definitely my main goal.

4. Q: What is your game's biggest strength?

A: My biggest strengths are my leadership, my defense and my ability to get my teammates the open shot.

5. Q: What is your biggest weakness?

A: I don't even look at from the standpoint of having weaknesses. I look at my game from a positive viewpoint because if you think negative then you're going to play the same way.

6. Q: It was well known that you considered leaving school early last year. How did staying for your senior year help your game?

A: I think staying this extra year definitely has helped me a lot. Coach Sendek over at NC State definitely put me in a position to succeed by playing me as point guard for the whole season, and it really helped my feel for the game. In the offseason, he and the staff definitely helped me improve my jump shooting.

7. Q: Do you think it hurt you at all?

A: No, I don't think it hurt. A lot of guys get the impression that if you stay four years to get your degree, you no longer have potential. Well I managed to get my degree and make my mom proud, and I'm still only 21 years old, so I just see it all as a blessing.

8. Q: Looking back on your college career, what was the best game that you played?

A: I know a couple of the better games of my career were against Maryland in the ACC Tournament my junior year and against Wake Forest in the ACC Tournament my sophomore year. But the biggest game has to be this year when I hit the big shot against UConn at the buzzer for the win in the NCAA Tournament.

9. Q: What are you looking forward to the most about being in the NBA?

A: I'm just looking forward to the opportunity. This is something I've dreamed of since I was a young child. Not just to be here, but to be great and be an All-Star. So just for me to have the opportunity would be a dream come true.

10. Q: What is your biggest fear about it?

A: I don't have any fears. A lot of people talk about the rookies hitting a wall, but I think a lot of that just has to do with all the traveling. As long as I just keep my windows open in the hotel room and get a jog in before I go to sleep, I think I'll be all right.

11. Q: Do you have a favorite player or role model that you looked up to the most growing up?

A: Definitely that was Magic Johnson. I've been working on his signature jump-hook from the right block and bringing the ball up against smaller defenders like what he was so good at.

12. Q: When did you start playing basketball?

A: Let's see, I'm 21 now … so I started playing basketball about 22 years ago. Ha, ha. You get the picture.

13. Q: What do you think your biggest challenge is going to be at the next level?

A: I don't really see it as a challenge. I just see it as just me getting on the court because of my defense and then just showing the rest of my game. That's it.

14. Q: What will be the first thing that you buy if you get drafted into the NBA?

A: I don't have any needs myself, but I'd definitely get my mom her own home—not rented, all cash so it'd be all hers. As for me, I don't need anything. I'm cool with a white tee-shirt and some clean sneakers.

15. Q: What was your favorite subject in school?

A: Acting class, advance acting. I graduated with a degree in communications and theatre, so I'd love to get into acting down the road. Doing a little bit of acting, a little bit of Jim Carrey, I think that'd be cool man.

16. Q: Who is the biggest influence in your life?

A: My older brother, Steve Hodge.

17. Q: Who is your favorite musical artist?

A: Probably Tupac Shakur and Sam Cooke.

18. Q: What is your favorite movie?

A: "Finding Forrester." And "Forrest Gump," I love "Forrest Gump."

19. Q: Did you follow the Nuggets at all this past season?

A: Yeah. I think the Nuggets are good in the half-court set, but great when they're out in transition. But then again, what do I know? I'm just a college kid trying to get into the league.

20. Q: Finally, how do you think you'd fit in with this team and what do you feel you could add to the roster?

A: I think I could bring intensity, passion and great defense. Not to say that they don't already have that stuff, but that is what I could bring to the table here in Denver.

The Denver Nuggets Media Relations Department contributed to this report.

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