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November 18, 2020

Zeke Nnaji

Bristol, Connecticut, USA

Q. Can you talk about your style of play and what you'll bring to the Nuggets.

ZEKE NNAJI: First and foremost, I want to thank the Most High. Without Him, I wouldn't be in this position. He's given me everything, and He's the only reason I'm here. All glory and honor go unto His name.

But I mean, I'm ready. I'm a worker. I'm someone who's coachable, who's disciplined, who brings energy. Yeah, and I'm just excited to be a part of this Nuggets organization.

I've been working a lot during these quarantine times, and I feel like I've made a lot of improvements. I've added 20 pounds of muscle. I've really improved my jump shot, shooting the three-pointer well. I feel great. My body feels explosive. I feel quick. I'm just excited to do whatever I can to help our team win.

Q. How much contact did you have with the Nuggets prior to tonight, and if you did have any sort of extensive contact, what was your impression of the Nuggets when you met with them?

ZEKE NNAJI: Yeah, I had a couple interviews with them. I also worked out for them, and I feel like -- I always felt like they were a great team, a team I would like to go to. I felt like our conversations went really well, and I felt like we built a pretty good relationship from those interviews and from the workout that I had for them, so yeah.

Q. The moment you got selected, just take me through the feelings in your household with your mom and dad and going through that moment and achieving your dreams.

ZEKE NNAJI: Yeah, it was an incredible moment. I'm so thankful first and foremost for the Most High, for all that He's done for me putting me in this position. I'm extremely blessed, and I know there's so many people that want to be in this position, but for me to be here, me and my family, we're incredibly thankful.

It feels great because I've been working to get to the NBA for so long, but I know this is just the beginning. I know that now the button resets, and it doesn't matter where you're drafted, now it matters how much work you put in.

I'm a worker. I'm ready to work. I'm going to get better, and I'm just going to let my game do the talking.

Yeah, I'm excited to get to work, really.

Q. How excited were you to see your teammate Josh Green go to Dallas two picks ahead of you?

ZEKE NNAJI: Man, I was so pumped. He deserves it. He's an incredible worker. He's just a great teammate to have, and to see him go 18 to the Mavericks, I was so happy because I know how hard he's worked for this. And I've been with him for a while, and he definitely deserved that.

Q. I'm just curious, this whole process, obviously the college basketball season stopped in March, you guys as prospects have had a very, very long wait. How did you kind of stay -- just sort of stay motivated and keep a process through all that and how difficult was that?

ZEKE NNAJI: Yeah, I mean, I didn't find it too difficult to keep myself motivated. I feel like people have been doubting me since my high school days. I feel like I have a chip on my shoulder. There's so many things that motivate me.

And this quarantine time I felt like I know it's so unfortunate everything that's happening, and I've had people and family members that have been impacted by this, as well. But I was trying to make the most of this opportunity. I know it's a bad situation to be in, but it's also a lot of time to get better.

That's what I was doing this whole time, just getting better, putting time in the gym, improving my body, improving my shot. I feel like I made a lot of big improvements in this time off, and I feel like I'm not going to stop there. I'm going to keep working and keep trying to push myself to continue to get better.

Q. What's your first impression of playing with Nikola Jokic?

ZEKE NNAJI: I'm excited. He's a superstar. He's like one of the best centers in the league. His vision and his passing is incredible. He's super talented, high IQ. I'm excited to learn from him and to get to work with him, you know?

Q. I was wondering just going back to when you came to Arizona a year ago, nobody thought you'd be a first-round pick. It sounds like you had a lot of belief in yourself. Did it really seem more realistic after looking back on it sometimes during last year that you could do this? And especially tonight it seemed like maybe you even went faster, quicker than people thought in this draft.

ZEKE NNAJI: Yeah, I have confidence in myself because I know the Most High is with me, and He's the one who's provided me with everything. I have the utmost faith in Him, and that's why I have confidence in my abilities.

Going back to last year even when I got to Arizona, I felt one of my goals was to get Freshman of the Year. I did, and I set my goals high, but I work really hard, so I'm able to set that work towards it.

I'm just ready to work hard for the Nuggets. I'm just so excited. Yeah, this is just the beginning of this new chapter in my life. I'm just ready.

Q. At Arizona last year you played some of the 4 and 5, and I was wondering at the NBA level what position you think suits you best.

ZEKE NNAJI: I mean, I think that -- I mean, I'm really -- I feel like I'm a really coachable person and a team player, and whatever the coach needs from me, whatever the team needs from me, I'll step up and take on that role.

If they need me to play the 4, I'll play the 4. If they need me to step up and play the 5, I'll play the 5. I'm just willing to do whatever it takes to win.

Q. Growing up or just now watching film on NBA guys, who are some players that you pattern your game around that you watched and studied film on?

ZEKE NNAJI: Yeah, I watched a lot of like -- the players around the league, I feel like there isn't a single specific player that I tried to pattern my game after, but certain parts of their games I tried to implement into my own game. I don't feel like there's a specific player I tried to emulate their game word for word.

Q. I know you're excited just to get on the court, but is there a particular matchup you're looking forward to?

ZEKE NNAJI: No, I'm up for whatever challenge is thrown at me. I'm a competitor, and I'm going to give it my all no matter who I'm going against.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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