For the next installment of the Pro Insight Q&A series, we present NBA Global Academy guard Mojave King, from Brisbane, Australia:
Pro Insight: How has your experience been with the NBA Academy so far?
Mojave King: My experience with the academy has been really good so far. I’ve been here since January, so a while now and I feel like I’m getting a lot better, working out every day in camp...the coaches and the players here are really good as well, they’re pushing me every day.
PI: What are the most important things you’ll take away from the experience at the Academy itself and at the Academy Games?
MK: At the Academy, I think something I’m going to take away from my time here is probably just learning from all of the coaches here and playing against the guys here because they’re all really good. And at the Academy Games it was good just to see how I match up against all the competition from around the world.
PI: Describe your game: what are your biggest strengths, areas for improvement, and underrated aspects of your game?
MK: I feel like my main strength is probably in transition...if I have space and I have the ball I like to push it, get up the court and to the rim; and also just attacking in the half-court if I have a lane, just trying to get to the rim. I need to improve a lot on the defensive end, just to stay locked in and don’t let my man get anything easy. Underrated aspect-wise, that would probably my shooting...I feel like I’ve been shooting the ball well in games, recently.
PI: What position do you view yourself?
MK: I view myself more as a combo guard. I usually play a lot of 2, but I can play 1 as well if that’s what my team needs me to play.
PI: What type of system do you think best fits your playing style?
MK: I’d say that the system here at the Academy fits my playing style pretty well because we play as a team, we move the ball a lot and everyone gets a lot of opportunities to do what they’re good at, so I feel like it works well for me.
PI: Of all the opponents you’ve faced recently who has been the toughest to matchup with? Was there a player in Atlanta that stood out to you the most?
MK: There was a player from the World Select Green team, Max Besselink, that was pretty hard to match up against...he was tall, I think he was from Finland or a country like that, but he was pretty hard for me to match up on because he was taller than me, athletic as well, and was good finishing around the rim... he was a good shooter as well.
PI: Prior to the NBA Academy, where were you playing and how did you end up getting the opportunity to play for the Academy?
MK: So prior to the Academy, I was living in Brisbane, Australia and playing for an association there and for my high school, as well as training there. Then I feel like I got the opportunity to play for the Academy after playing in the National Championship or a few National Championships for my state. So the coaches probably saw me there and then offered me...and coming to a few camps probably helped, too.
PI: So you moved from New Zealand to Australia as a kid, do you feel more connected to one country than the other?
MK: Yeah I feel a lot more connected to Australia than New Zealand, I was born there and that’s where I spent the first few years of my life, but I don’t really remember it that much...pretty much everything I can remember is living in Australia.
PI: What are some of your short term and long-term goals?
MK: Well my short-term goal probably right now is just to get into a good college that I fit into...somewhere that will give me a good opportunity to just play in the states. Long-term, my goal is to either play in the NBA or in Australia for the FIBA Men’s National Team.
PI: Is there a reason why you wear the number you do, is there a story behind it?
MK: Um, no not really...not at the Academy. Back home I used to wear #7, but that was just because it was my favorite number and I’ve worn it since my first game.
PI: Both of your parents were high-level athletes in their own right, what are some things that they’ve instilled in you over the years?
MK: Well my dad has pretty much been training me since I’ve been playing so he’s had a lot of influence on the way I play, and he’s really just taught me a lot about what it takes and what I need to do to get to the next level because he played professionally for a long time...so he’s telling me to work hard and to just keep working on what I’m good at and also to make strides on what I need to improve on so I’ve got a more well-rounded game.
PI: Your sister played, as well...have you learned anything from her?
MK: Yeah, I used to train with my sister a lot and she was a good shooter and that’s pretty much all she did honestly...but it was good training against her to learn how to play like that kind of player.
PI: You have some time to figure it out, but as you prepare to transition to the next level, what are some things that you’re taking into consideration in terms of going to college or the pro route?
MK: Yeah, right now I’m probably leaning towards going to college rather than trying to go pro straight away because I feel like it’d be a good opportunity to play against good competition and also for me to improve and develop.
PI: Do you watch more college or NBA basketball? What are you looking for and what are your biggest takeaways when you watch?
MK: When I watch I just like to watch individual players to see what moves they use, how they play, stuff like that...and I usually try to see if they have a move that they keep going back to that they’re good at. Pretty much, I just try to see how they get their points or what they’re good at.
PI: Do you model your game after anybody? Do you have a favorite player?
MK: My favorite player is Ben Simmons, but I don’t really try to model my game after him. I do try and take some parts of his game...like, he’s a good passer...I try to take that and I feel like he’s a good ball handler in the open court as well. But yeah, those are the things I try and use in my game.
PI: Can you explain what you bring to a team, regardless of the situation, on and off the court?
MK: Well I’m going to bring energy and hard work and training. I’m going to try and push other players to get better, as well.
PI: What has been a defining moment or story in your life? Why has that stuck with you and what did you learn from it?
MK: Not entirely sure, honestly.
PI: What or who is your biggest motivation in life?
MK: My biggest motivation would be my dad, for sure. He’s taught me so much and worked with me my whole life so he’s been helping me a lot, pushing me to succeed.
PI: Has there been any bit of advice that he’s given you that’s really stuck with you?
MK: Yeah, for sure. Now that I’m not with him every day training, he just reminds me to keep working, trying to get better every single day, so that’s something that he probably tells me the most...to just keep getting better.
PI: At the end of the day what do you want to be remembered for?
MK: I’d like to be remembered for being a really hard worker and a good teammate.