Raptors guard Jeff Dowtin Jr. discusses his defensive mindset, how seeing other Raptors players work inspires him and more.
- Learned to be prepared to the extent where you can kind of go from not seeing the floor all that much, and next thing you know, you're playing 19 minutes and your role is going to be expanded. Like, that seems like a hard thing to do.
JEFF DOWTIN JR: Yeah, I guess you kind of not-- you can't really prepare for that, you know? You just, I guess, prepare mentally, just know that whenever your name is called, you have to be ready and take whatever opportunity you get. Just continue to come into practice, continue to work hard, continue to be professional, and just be prepared, I guess, for any moment.
- Where do you get that professionalism?
JEFF DOWTIN JR: I guess it just comes from just the vets, you know? Looking up to these guys, seeing the way they come into the gym every day prepared to work, and just follow in their footsteps.
- But what in your history has allowed you to become that kind of professional guy who knows what his job is and does it right?
JEFF DOWTIN JR: Just the type of person I was made. My parents, I guess, instilled that in me when I was little and just being a professional athlete, just knowing that this is my job, and I'm a come in every day prepared to work. And like I said, whatever opportunities come my way I'll be ready for.
- [INAUDIBLE] does it come pretty natural to you to be the type of defender Nick wants? [INAUDIBLE] speed [INAUDIBLE] very aggressive. You got in the ball a couple of times, like, tried to blow up [INAUDIBLE] and things like that.
JEFF DOWTIN JR: Yeah.
- Is that the sort of way you've always played?
JEFF DOWTIN JR: Yeah, it's definitely just natural for me. You know, I don't like when guys score on me. So I take that personal.
So, just kind of make guys have a hard time scoring, kind of make things difficult for them on the offensive end. And I would say it's just natural for me.
- The first one was-- your first game, good game, was in Detroit, where you're going tomorrow. You [INAUDIBLE] blew up a couple of late game possessions in a really close game there. Was that a boost of confidence when you finally got that shot [INAUDIBLE] did a really good job at it?
JEFF DOWTIN JR: Yeah, I would definitely say it was definitely a boost of confidence. Just being aggressive on the defensive end, trying to make it tough-- I just played with confidence throughout my whole life. It was just-- like I said, when you have the opportunity, there's not really anything different, you know? You're just showcasing it on just a bigger stage.
- What's your approach on the other end knowing that with the 905, obviously, you're going to have the ball in your hands a bit more than you're going to have it here? How does your mindset change, or does it change?
JEFF DOWTIN JR: I wouldn't necessarily say it changes. I think it's just all about a part of, you know, adapting to the moment. Like you said, playing with the 905, being a point guard on that team, definitely the ball is in my hand. I'm making a lot more plays, coming off a lot of ball screens, and coming here just figuring out my niche and how to fit around these guys, you know, being able to make open shots whenever they-- you know, [INAUDIBLE] or just those guys having confidence, you know, in me, being able to let me play my game, and help them in any way possible.
- A day like yesterday, when do you find out that you're probably going to get extra-- how does that work? Nick comes to you and says [INAUDIBLE] go down.
- Like I said before, you just have to be prepared for any moment. You know, there's been times where I've had a 905 game, and then I've been thrown into the game the next day playing it back to back. And I'm always expecting the unexpected. So like I said, just coming to the gym prepared for that you're going to play no matter what.
- In terms of learning how to be a pro [INAUDIBLE], your locker's next to Gary, and you know, he's been in and around the NBA pretty much his entire life because of his dad. What kind of lessons have you taken from him and what has that relationship been like?
JEFF DOWTIN JR: Yeah, like I just said, you know, just seeing these guys, especially Gary, you know, come in, you know, practice games, workouts with that, you know, professional, you know, mindset, and I'm coming here to work no matter what, no matter what obstacles, you know, coming your way. These guys are here to get better, and we're here to win games. So I'm just following those guys' footsteps, and they're doing a great job of leading me.
- Have you been able to take maybe a little bit extra just being next to Gary all the time?
JEFF DOWTIN JR: Yeah, definitely. Like I said, you know, just seeing guys come in early before a shootaround, early before practice, just kind of feeding off that type of energy, just seeing the way those guys move around, and I kind of just take that and implement it to myself.
- [INAUDIBLE] both playing and watching, how's having Jacob up on the floor helped in terms of [INAUDIBLE] not just your confidence but the confidence to get into the ball, [INAUDIBLE] that pressure, and then knowing there's a [INAUDIBLE]?
JEFF DOWTIN JR: Yeah, no, definitely. It helps me out a lot because now I know I can pressure the ball a lot more, kind of gamble a little bit, go for steals knowing that, you know, he's down there cleaning up the paint, you know, contesting shots, getting blocks, making things difficult down there. So, this allows me to just pressure the ball a lot more, be more physical on the perimeter, just knowing that we have him down there to help us.