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November 18, 2020

Onyeka Okongwu

Bristol, Connecticut, USA

Q. You're going to a team that of course has Trae Young, John Collins and an experienced bunch of young guys. Number one, what can you bring to the table in Atlanta? And number two, what are your thoughts on your former high school teammate LaMelo Ball being drafted?

ONYEKA OKONGWU: Well, today, yeah, I play a lot of defense, so I'm defensive minded. I love playing defensive. I anticipate everything. I know what's going to happen before it even happens, this natural ability I have. I texted LaMelo today, good luck to wherever you go, you're going be a star. And he went to Charlotte, man, nothing but class. And cheers for him over here. So he's like family to me. I'm happy for him.

Q. What are your thoughts about Coach [Lloyd] Pierce, Trae Young and everything that the Atlanta Hawks are building right now?

ONYEKA OKONGWU: Coach Pierce is a great coach. I had my meeting with him, seemed like a smart guy, knew what he was doing. Trae Young is a great guard, All-Star point guard. Going to be a star for a long time.

I'm just ready to build up this young team and help this team win games.

Q. What are your thoughts about playing alongside Clint Capela and John Collins? How do you think your skill set will work along with them?

ONYEKA OKONGWU: You know, for me I feel like I play inside out. When Clint is in the game, me and him can be in inside out. When John Collins is in the game, could be inside and me outside. Me and him can help each other out on both sides of the court, on defense. We're all great athletes, so we're able to prepare to be ready to play defense.

Q. Just wanted to ask you your player comparisons, a lot of people are saying you're similar to Miamiís Bam Adebayo. What do you make of those, and how do you see your game fitting in in Atlanta?

ONYEKA OKONGWU: I feel like the Bam comparisons are accurate. Me and him were similar players coming out of college, and it took him three years to develop into the All-Star he is now.

So I feel like with time I could definitely be that type of player through time. I'm patient, ready to get better and develop my skill set.

Q. As an NBA player, what would you like to achieve?

ONYEKA OKONGWU: There's a couple things. Obviously first and foremost, I want to win a championship. That should be everyone's goal, to win a championship that everyone wants to win.

Myself, I just want to be able to get better, be able to be the best that I can be, continue to work hard, have a great work ethic.

Q. Sixth pick, Atlanta Hawks, what are your expectations for the next season?

ONYEKA OKONGWU: Obviously to win. Obviously we want to be able to make the Playoffs. I want to be able to be impactful but to go into the East, go to the playoffs. I want to really help this team out.

Q. How will you fit in with Trae Young's style of play, and what do you look forward to the most with joining the Atlanta Hawks?

ONYEKA OKONGWU: Trae Young, he's a great point guard. He can shoot. He's a great passer. He's a very good passer. I like to move around a lot, so obviously Trae Young is a great passer, can hit me when I'm open, I'm catching them lobs.

I'm excited to play with him and looking forward to going to Atlanta and just playing. I haven't been able to play a lot. I haven't played in so long, that's why I'm excited for it.

Q. Are there any players that you look forward to playing against?

ONYEKA OKONGWU: Obviously my favorite player is LeBron James and Giannis [Antetokounmpo]. I feel like those are the top players in the league, and obviously I want to go up against the Ball brothers. They were my teammates in high school, so having that friendly battle against them, I'm really looking forward to that.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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