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November 18, 2020

Deni Avdija

Bristol, Connecticut, USA

Q. I'm just wondering, did you think the Wizards were a possibility coming into tonight, and what was your reaction when you found out you were going to D.C.?

DENI AVDIJA: First of all, everything was open, so I was ready for everything. Any team that was going to choose me, I was ready for it. I'm super excited for Washington. It's a great organization. I'm so glad. I'm so blessed to get picked by them, and I'm ready to work and to meet everybody.

Q. Has anyone told you anything about D.C. that kind you intrigued you about the city, about the team? Anything you've loved about this franchise over the years?

DENI AVDIJA: First of all, I'm going to start with my agent, my American agent. He's from D.C., and he always talked great things about D.C. We were always talking about living next to each other being a possibility, so that was a funny one.

I mean, Washington is the capital. I heard it's a great place, great organization, I'm super excited. Really I'm blessed and super excited. That's all.

Q. What do you think of the Wizards' roster?

DENI AVDIJA: I think it's very talented. I'm ready to meet everybody and get straight to work. Hopefully we can grind and have a good season. I'm just going to bring the best for the team, and hopefully we can win as many games as we can.

Q. What are your goals now as an NBA player?

DENI AVDIJA: First of all, to bring my work ethic from back here. Just keep improving every day, be a better player every day, help the team as much as I can. At the end of my career to look at it and say I was the best Deni Avdija I could be, and I don't regret anything. It's a great journey ahead of me, and I'm super excited.

Q. How close was tonight to what you imagined as the first Israeli lottery pick?

DENI AVDIJA: I mean, I didn't imagine that. It was crazy for me. Israel is such a small country that doesn't provide as many NBA players as other countries, but for me just to represent my country and to make history, that's a blessing.

I have the whole nation behind me. I hope I'm going to represent well. I never dreamed about this moment. I'm thinking it's just still a dream. I mean, I don't have any words.

Q. In what way were Omri Casspi and Gal Mekel role models for you?

DENI AVDIJA: Omri was more in touch with me because we played on the same team. We would talk a lot about the NBA, about his rookie year in specific, and I wanted to know what can I do best as a rookie and what skills are important to have and how is all the travels and the schedule. And yeah, we just talked a lot in that season.

Q. I imagine your dad has had such a big part in this journey. What has having him be a professional player been like for you?

DENI AVDIJA: It was great. It was great to have another competitive spirit in the house. He was a great player himself, so he had a lot of good things to teach me and teach me how to act on the court, some small tricks maybe in my game that I use that he used, and just how to be a professional, how to work hard, how to have good work ethic, and just always be competitive and just play to win. That was big for me.

Q. Your team in Israel seems to be very popular among NBA players that want to go play overseas. You are doing it the other way around. You're coming from Israel to play into the NBA. How are you going to adapt to the style of play that they have here as opposed to the one you're used to playing in Israel?

DENI AVDIJA: First of all, I think I'm a player that's very easy to adjust. I'm getting along with everybody. I always hear what people say to me, always take advice. I always ask questions to know better and to get better every day.

I'm going to stay with the same work ethic. I'm going to have small changes here and there, that's for sure, but I'm going to have the best environment around me to make sure that I fit and to make sure that I'm getting better and I'm ready for the NBA.

Q. How special is it for you to pave the way for the future generations of Israeli-born basketball players in the NBA?

DENI AVDIJA: As much motivation as I can bring to the young players, that's a blessing for me. I will do everything to promote it. Hopefully I have the chance after my career for more. I'm just glad that they have somebody to look at and learn and just be motivated and to see that us being a small country doesn't mean that we can't do big things.

We did big things, and we're going to keep doing big things, and I'm here to help to everybody. And to anybody who needs my advice, I'm going to always give it.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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