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February 15, 2019

Josh Okogie

Charlotte, North Carolina

Q. How does it feel to be here?
JOSH OKOGIE: Feels great. Feels great. Definitely a blessing. I'm excited to be here. Just can't wait to have some fun.

Q. What about the NBA season, the rookie season? Is it hard to play for the first time in the NBA?
JOSH OKOGIE: Yeah, it definitely takes a lot of adjusting. Definitely, you know, considering I've played more games this season probably than my two years in college. So it's a season-long grind. 82 games is a lot, but I'm definitely adjusting and I'm getting used to it.

Q. Two days ago you played against the Rockets. What can you tell me about defending James Harden?
JOSH OKOGIE: Definitely a difficult task. I just tried to make him work and earn every basket he got, and I think I did a good job of that.

Q. What do you think or your teammates when you made the dunk?
JOSH OKOGIE: It was definitely in the moment of the game. Nobody really said anything. After the game, they said they were proud of me and they thought I grew a lot after that game.

Q. Would you like to be considered as defensive player of the season?
JOSH OKOGIE: Yeah, definitely one of my goals I want to accomplish before I leave the league is to get Defensive Player of the Year.

Q. How do you feel with the Twitter blow-up and all the highlights and everything?
JOSH OKOGIE: It's been fun, but I can't drink the praise too much. We've still got a lot more games to go, and my job here is not done. I've just got to stay focused and just try to help my team and do anything I can to help us get in the playoffs.

Q. Who's the most surreal player that you've played against or with?
JOSH OKOGIE: I'd probably say Chris Paul, just knowing that he was my AAU coach growing up. Just being able to share the court and play with him is special.

Q. What are some of the best moments you've had in the NBA on court right now?
JOSH OKOGIE: On court is just winning. I think, when we win, everybody is just happy. I think winning is the best thing you can do in the NBA, the funnest thing you can do.

Q. What's the least favorite thing you can do in the NBA right now?
JOSH OKOGIE: Losing. Losing is the worst thing you can do in the NBA. You can't really have fun when you lose.

Q. How challenging has it been to have the soap opera season you've had with your team?
JOSH OKOGIE: You learn from it. We had to face a lot of adversity this year, so definitely being able to learn from that. This being my first season, I didn't know what to expect, so I have nothing to compare it to. I'm happy I'm able to bounce back from all that and be able to focus and be able to still win games. Obviously, in the future, if anything happens, I'll definitely be prepared for it.

Q. What's been the hardest adjustment?
JOSH OKOGIE: Trying to let go of losses. We play so many games, so it's like, if we lose, you can't hang your head on it, because we might have a game the next day. So having that short-term memory and refocus and re-strategize.

Q. Where do you see an area that you need to work on?
JOSH OKOGIE: Definitely decision making. Being able to read the defense better and just to be able to make plays and see things before they happen.

Q. A lot of people say LeBron sets a great example in terms of how to handle himself on the court and off the court. I'm just curious if anyone has been helpful to you in that regard.
JOSH OKOGIE: My brother is a big role model for me. He's definitely the epitome of how to handle yourself. He doesn't play sports, but just how to handle yourself off the court. I see how he does things and relates to people. I just try to follow in his footsteps.

Q. If the Rising Star game has a similar format to draft players, who would be your No. 1 pick?
JOSH OKOGIE: My No. 1 overall pick would be probably Ben Simmons.

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