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Trail Blazers Introduce Nassir Little

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The Blazers first round draft pick was introduced at a press conference today.

NBA: NBA Draft Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Nassir Little, the newest addition to the Trail Blazers, spoke to the Portland media on Monday morning. Neil Olshey sat next to the 19-year-old and introduced him before opening the floor up to questions. The team nabbed Little with the #25th pick in Thursday night’s draft.

Most draft experts consider Little a steal at #25. This time last year, Little had the pedigree of a top-5 lottery pick after winning MVP of the McDonald’s and Jordan Brand Classic All-Star Games. Little came off the bench in his lone season at UNC, and his lackluster campaign dampened draft projections.

On being drafted by the Blazers:

“It’s extremely exciting, you know, foremost, being in the NBA in itself. For me, looking at the roster, I think I have a real opportunity to come in right away and contribute, and make another playoff run.”

On playing with Anfernee Simons:

“It’s cool and it provides a sense of comfort. A guy I’m familiar with, a guy that I played in high school with. And I just think it’s cool to see two guys from the same city do big things and be in the same place.”

On his offseason schedule and summer league:

“I think we start summer league practice next week, and we’re going to do that. I’m not exactly sure what happens after that, but I’m going to figure it out pretty soon.”

On a defining moment in his life:

“I think one of the biggest moments for me was like in middle school, I didn’t do that well academically. I told myself and my parents, from this point on, I’m going to get A’s. A’s and B’s for the rest of my life. Well, I said A’s and B’s initially, but I definitely got all A’s. For me, that was important because it showed my self determination. That’s how I started to develop my work ethic.”

On his morning LA Fitness runs in high school:

“That schedule was wake up at 4:40 in the morning, go to the gym at 5, workout from 5 to 6, then go to my weight trainer down the street and workout from 6 to 7, then go home, hurry up and get changed, then go to school, do the school thing, have basketball practice, and then when I got home, after doing my homework, I’d go back to the gym. I did that everyday for two years.”

On his work ethic:

“For me, I’m a perfectionist. I want to be as possible as I can at anything I put my time into. Basketball is fun when you’re good at it, so that was my main purpose.”

On his first impressions of Portland. Little claimed after the draft that he had never visited the West Coast:

“The people are really nice out here. Everyone’s like, welcome to Portland, welcome to Portland. And I’m from Florida. People are nice out there, but it’s not like this. It’s pretty cool.”

On his NBA aspirations:

“I wanted to be an NBA player since I was young. I mean, I just said it. But it didn’t really become a reality for me until I was 16 years old. I really started to lock in on it and get better every year.”

On his reduced bench role at UNC:

“For me, it was about trying to get through the year in the best way possible, being as productive as possible in the minutes I was given.”

On the struggles of accepting a lesser role in college:

“There was struggle, and there were ups and downs, but for me, the kind of person I am, I’m going to get through the storm. I already knew it was going to be good on the other side, so I just stayed positive, got through that time, and I’m here today.”

On the support of his family. Little’s mother and sister also attended the press conference. Olshey laughed that the Portland fans have given them a warm welcome to the city.

“They’ve done a lot. From taking me to the gym everyday, taking me to practice, helping me eat the right stuff. They’ve done so much. I don’t even want to list it all, but they’ve played a key part in helping me get here.”

On his military parents:

“It’s not like what people think. I wasn’t up at 4 in the morning with the bed made, and all that kind of stuff. They just kind of let us be kids for the most part. There was nothing really crazy like people think.”

On his other interests outside of basketball:

“I play some video games, and I really like music. That’s really it.”

On the one area of his game that needs the most improvement:

“I’d say ball handling.”

On his draft experience:

“It’s been exciting. This is the part when you can feel the hope. You’re just so ready to play that first game and get situated. You’re excited to be in a new city. So it’s just been exciting and I’m trying to embrace it. “

On choosing the number 9:

“They sent me the sheet of available numbers, and I was just like, uhhh. I had player in 2K who wore number 9, so I thought that I’ll just wear number 9. It’s just a number, so...”

Blazers fans will get their first glimpse of Little in red-and-black at Summer League, which kicks off on July 6.