City of Palms: Trevor Ariza Interview

At this past week's, City of Palms tournament in Fort Myers, FL, I had the opportunity to spend some time getting acquainted with Westchester's WF and North Carolina recruiting target Trevor Ariza. His team is rated No. 1 in the USA Today high school top Top 25. They went on to win the City of Palms championship, with Trevor taking MVP honors. The following are some questions and his responses.

Under the Palms with Sir Gant and Trevor Ariza

Trevor, what schools are recruiting you at this point?

"Florida, UNC, Duke, UCLA, Arizona, USC and Tennessee."

What school or schools are your favorites?

"Right now, I'm not favoring anyone. I'm just enjoying what's going on. I'm really focused on our season, because we've got a tough schedule. I like Carolina and Florida, in fact I like all the schools that are showing interest."

You were at Midnight with the Heels in Chapel Hill this fall, what was that like?

"It was cool, yea people screaming my name, it was off the hook."

Did you and Raymond Felton talk?

"Yea, a little."

What players influenced or inspired you when you were growing up and even now?

"I always wanted to play basketball cause my Dad played. Other players I look up to … Tracy McGrady. He's the best player in the league, to me, my favorite player."

When you look at other players, do you see things that you want to take and incorporate into your game? Add your own flavor to it?

"I like McGrady's style, Ray Allen's shot, Shaq's power, Rasheed Wallace, when he dunks on somebody, the energy he has and gives to his team, the way Dennis Rodman used to rebound."

What do you need to work on the most right now?

"I need to get stronger around the basket, you know work on strength and conditioning, keeping my composure at certain times in the game." ( I did notice in one game Trevor getting upset when a player came up underneath him, and he kind of kicked at him, while the player was on the ground.)

What about defense? What do you need to work on?

"My foot speed, I need to work on staying in front of my man, not reaching, keeping my hands off him."

I have noticed on the court and in talking with some of your teammates, a closeness, like a family amongst you guys, is that the case?

"Yea, our whole thing is, ‘together we stand, divided we fall,' so if we're not together as a team, we won't accomplish our goals, you know, as a team. We are all capable of going out and scoring 25-30 ppg easily, but we sacrifice that for the team to succeed."

Tell me about this freshman on the team, Marcus Johnson, he looks like he is going to be special.

"Yea, he's real good, he's like a newborn baby to us, you know, like a baby brother, everybody loves him."

With all the attention and notoriety you and the team are getting, is it a problem for you discerning who's who, people coming at you from different angles?

"Well it's not really a problem, I know how to pick my grapes and eat them. My mom helps me with that. The only way they could come talk to me directly is like if they come to practice or when I'm with my mom. I've got a real supportive coaching staff, and a good family, I'm pretty sure nothing bad will happen."

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