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June 22, 2017

Jayson Tatum

Brooklyn, New York

JAYSON TATUM: Yeah, this has been a great night. It's been a dream come true. You know, just making it to the NBA and being drafted by a great franchise like Boston. I'm excited just to bring a lot of versatility and just accepting my new role and just trying to be the best at whatever Coach Stevens wants me to be.

Q. When Danny Ainge traded the No. 1 pick, he said he was going to get the guy he was going to take No. 1 overall anyway. That's you. How do you feel about that?
JAYSON TATUM: That's a great compliment, especially with all the great guys in this class. The two guys that went ahead of me, they're great players, but I'm glad at how it worked out, so I'm happy.

Q. Looking back to when you were a kid, how hard was it to get to this point, and what do you want to accomplish now?
JAYSON TATUM: It was extremely tough, you know, getting to where we are now, and all the guys in the green room can really relate to all the hard work and sacrifice that it took to get here. Now this is like the beginning, and there's so much more ahead that I want to accomplish, and I'm excited I get to do it with the Boston Celtics.

Q. You had a lot of fun at your table with your family, with your little sister. How important is your family and most of all your little sister for you?
JAYSON TATUM: Family is the most important thing. They've been with me my entire life, before I was going to be in the NBA, and they've helped me and been with me the entire way. There's nobody else I'd rather share it with than them.

Q. What do you know of Boston based off of workouts and the interview process leading up to this, and what did Mike Krzyzewski perhaps tell you about the coach Brad Stevens is? Obviously they famously met back in that National Championship game in 2010.
JAYSON TATUM: Coach K talked to me -- we talked a lot during this process, but I think it was like right after they traded the pick. He called me and talked about that Boston wanted me to come up there for a workout, and he was just ranting about how great of a person Brad Stevens is, and that Coach K would love the opportunity if they would pick me, and he really wanted me to go up there and work out for them. I was all for it. It worked out. I had a great time up there on my visit, and obviously they enjoyed me.

Q. Just that one year at Duke that you had with Coach K, obviously a little bit of an up-and-down roller coaster. What was maybe one thing you learned throughout the year that you want to take with you heading into the NBA?
JAYSON TATUM: Oh, man, Duke was a great time for me. There's so many things that I learned, especially from Coach K. I think just his passion and the confidence he gave me throughout Duke and how much he believed in me as a player, and when somebody like that believes in you, then it takes your game to a new level.

Q. Jayson, you're playing for the Boston Celtics right now. You grew up as a Kobe Bryant fan. Describe the moment when you first fell in love with the game of basketball.
JAYSON TATUM: As long as I can remember. Probably age 3, 3 or 4 years old, just Kobe Bryant has always been my favorite player, and I think he's one of the biggest reasons why I fell in love with this game.

Q. Most guys that go top three end up on a bad team, lottery team. You're joining a contender, No. 1 seed in the East. How exciting is that for you to go to a winning situation right away?
JAYSON TATUM: It's great. I think that I get to learn that much more, especially from a veteran team that knows what it takes to get there. I can't wait to go and learn from Coach Stevens and Isaiah Thomas and just everybody on that roster.

Q. How did you find out you were picked tonight and have you had any communication even now with anybody on the team?
JAYSON TATUM: I had no clue. The only indication I had was right before he called my name, all the cameras came to my table. So I was like, this is a pretty good sign. (Laughter).

Q. Have you had any communication already with Danny or Brad, any text messaging or talking to them?
JAYSON TATUM: I'm sure my agent has, but I haven't talked to them since I left Boston.

Q. What was the emotion, can you give us a play-by-play what happened at the table when your name got called and what was that emotion like?
JAYSON TATUM: Oh, man, it was the best feeling I've ever had in my young life, and I'm only 19. It was the day I've always -- the moment I've always been dreaming about and waiting for. It was as special as I could have imagined and that much more.

Q. Who did you hug? Was it your mom first?
JAYSON TATUM: Oh, yeah, my mom. I had to hug my first mom.

Q. And then?
JAYSON TATUM: My dad and both my grandmas and my agent.

Q. I was just wondering, do you have any prior relationships with any of the players on the Celtics? Have you talked to them at all?
JAYSON TATUM: The only person I know is Jaylen Brown. He's close to my age, and we were in a couple AAU camps when we were in high school, so that's where I know him from.

Q. Do you think that'll be a helpful person for you going into your first season, to kind of pick his brain?
JAYSON TATUM: Yeah, I'm sure, as any other guy on the roster. They've all been through what I'm about to go through, so they can all be helpful.

Q. Duke athletes are not only terrific but they're also pretty good students. I know you told me yesterday that you kind of knew you were leaving after one year, but you're only 19. Do you plan on continuing your college education in the near future?
JAYSON TATUM: Yes. Yes, I do. Exactly when, I'm not sure, but yes.

Q. Will it be at Duke? They've got a lot of fine schools in your new place of work.
JAYSON TATUM: I hope it's at Duke. Yeah, that's where I'd love to graduate from.

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