Cassius thanked the nurses and doctors who are continuing to fight the spread of COVID-19.
On when he made his decision on declaring:
It was probably a week prior, I got my feedback from the draft people and I was very content with it. Then talking with Coach and my family we all just agreed it was time for me to take the next step in pursuing my professional career.
On how much the current state of things in the world factored into his decision:
It was a big part of my decision definitely, because, you know, as a kid I always wanted to play in March Madness. We wanted to and I wanted to make it to the National Championship and win it and it was definitely in the back of my mind, coming back, but in the circumstances that we’re in, I think, it really showed to me that you have to seize every opportunity.
Myself and the group, we had a great year this year before the pandemic but the NBA, they value age and I’m on the older side so i gotta seize every opportunity I can, especially with this whole pandemic you never know whats going to be promised so I think it was best to make the next step and try to pursue my professional career.
On what he’s heard about the process (NBA Draft):
Ive been hearing is that everything is on hold until the NBA makes a decision on their season. Everything is all on the season,I’m assuming if the season gets pushed back another month then I think everything will get pushed back a month or two. Thats all I know, I don’t think anyone knows anything because no one’s ever dealt with this before. I think everyone in the process from the top to the bottom is just trying to find a solution that makes sense.
On how he’s staying sharp:
I’m working out every day, I’m running, I’m doin pushups and doing things like that. In an undisclosed location Im working out in a gym.
On what his pitch to NBA teams will be:
I’m just gonna sell that I’m a winner, everywhere I go, I win. Sell them that I can play both positions, a combo guard. Very athletic, I can make my shots and I can play defense with the best of them. I just want to be the best player in the league and just be the best player I can be. That’s my pitch, just to let them know I’m in it to be the best and win games.
On whether his dad will be his agent:
Yes my dad’s gonna be my agent, i think it would drive a huge fork in our relationship (laughing) if he wasn’t, so he’s gonna be my agent and he’s been giving me good feedback and i think its a great resource to have. I think he’s talked to some people that he really trusts, believes and listens to their opinions. I think he got good feedback from the people he talked to.
On the social media buzz about him possibly returning to Duke:
Joey Baker didn’t help the cause he kind of, to some people, led them on, I take some part in it but also I’m gonna sit here and throw him under the bus (laughs). Joey Baker is public enemy number 1 for all people mad at my decision.
I didn’t mean to lead anybody on the wrong way and I just want all the Duke fans to know I love all of them and love Duke and If I could if i really could I would definitely stay another year.
On how coming to Duke prepared him:
I think it prepared me a lot, coming to duke and coming to durham was great. Just being with coach K is great preparation too because the way he runs everything is professional from top to bottom. its just high level, he really holds us accountable treats us like pros before pros. I think thats one of the biggest things I’m going to take on is accountability.
On whether the plan was to be a one-and-done before he got to Duke:
I think in the back of my mind, yes. But also going to Duke I was just going to better myself and also win a National Championship, like i said earlier I really like to win so going to Duke in my opinion was the best decision for me and the best place where I could get the chance to win a national championship. I think that was the main goal going into it obviously, individually getting much better and being able to go to the NBA was definitely in my mind. I wouldn’t say I had tunnel vision of a one year plan.
On the returning players:
I think they’re all going to thrive. Individually, Joey [Baker], he’s going to be much better and I have the most confidence in Joey. I’ve known him the longest out of all of everybody. I think he’s going to do great things. I think Jordan [Goldwire] is going to be a great leader for the team being a senior. This year, he was a great leader, helping us freshmen out. I think he was one of the people who definitely helped my transition in the summer to the regular season, and he’s going to be a great leader. I think Wendell [Moore Jr.] is going to bring a level of athleticism and skill to the perimeter that was shown this year. Because of injuries and things like that, there weren’t many chances to see it, but he did a good job this year and he’s going to do great this next year. Then Matt [Hurt] – I think Matt’s going to be a star. I think Matt is just going to explode because he knows exactly what he needs to do. I think he showed a lot of glimpses this year of what he can do. I’m all in on Matt. I talk to Matt a lot. We have three classes together, so I talk to him every day and he’s in the gym every day, so I’m very confident in that. The guys coming in – we got to play pickup with them when they came on their official visits and so I’ve seen a lot of them and I think it’s going to be a scary team because of the depth. I’m hearing good things about the grad-transfer committed now, so I’m really confident in the team next year.
On if he talked to his teammates about his decision to declare for the draft:
Yeah, I talked to some of my teammates and they kind of just said they understand and some of them were like ‘We expected it and we know you’re going to do great things.’ Like we said, it’s the Brotherhood and we’re actually brothers, so we’ve talked about it. Not just me – even when Tre [Jones] did it and if anyone else is going to do it. We’ve talked about everything. We talk about all kinds of things, so they were just great and they were saying ‘Do what you’ve got to do and we’ll always be here.’
On what he learned about his game this season:
I think I just learned that I can adapt in all situations. I think that was one of the biggest things, because coming from the west coast, going across the country, you’ve got to adapt quickly, especially in this environment [that is] highly competitive. I think that was one of the biggest things I learned that I can adapt in any circumstance and any place, any area. I think that was one of the biggest things that I learned and took away, that I can quickly adapt to situations, and so I think I’m ready to make that next step.a
Favorite Dunk of the year:
I’d probably say the one Wendell threw me versus North Carolina State just because i feel like Wendell and I have had a great relationship this year. Him connecting it to me, It felt good to both of us, we were both excited about it. I feel like that was the most exciting one to me
On Joey Baker Influencing him to come to Duke:
He had a pretty big influence, he was calling me pretty much every other day, just checking in seeing how i was doing. Obviously I knew what the check-ins meant but he was clearly asking me where my head was at. I definitely appreciate Joey and he was another person who really made the transition easy because we had such a good relationship even before Duke.It was easy to come somewhere where I knew I had a really good friend in Joey
On Kobe Bryant advocating for Duke:
I met Kobe a couple of times, but one of the times we talked and I just ran down my college choices. He didn’t necessarily say the name Duke but he said to go somewhere where the person is going to teach you the game the best, where you’re going to learn the game because at the next level everyone’s going to be able to run and jump and do everything I do. The thing that’s going to separate me from whoever is going to be who’s going to learn the game and who are they learning the game from. I pretty much think that’s an easy choice if you break down anybody in college basketball. I don’t think there’s a better basketball mind than Coach K. That was definitely one of the things I thought about in my decision.
On what he will miss about Duke:
Outside of my teammates, I’d probably say the fans. Being from LA the two main colleges are USC and UCLA, you have the Lakers, the Clippers, the Dodgers, the Kings. You have so many great sports teams in a big that fans aren’t as devoted. I don’t even think the history of those schools is as great and rich as Duke. So I think the fans are the people I’m going to miss the most because they were just so invested, they brought it every game, they brought the energy they definitely made the transition for me being from the west coast very, very easy.
On the importance of working out for teams:
It would be great to workout and get face to face with a lot of the teams but obviously we don’t know what’s going to happen with this pandemic. I think talking to Coach, one of the biggest things he said was we weren’t hidden, every game was on ESPN and so i think that was a great thing and I’m confident in the way I played but yeah if things don’t work out I’d be very confident with my tape speaking for itself.f