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November 19, 2020

Vernon Carey Jr.

Bristol, Connecticut, USA

Q. Mitch Kupchak talked about how, when he saw you during the season, they thought that you clearly were an NBA prospect, but he was concerned about your conditioning at the time. It was mentioned that you did a pretty dramatic makeover of your body after the season's over. Do you mind going through that, what you did?

VERNON CAREY: Yeah, I mean, just after the season, just me hiring a chef. I felt like that was a part that played a huge role in it and just me working hard on my body over the time that I had, over the time up until the draft today that I had really.

Q. How much weight did you lose, and is there anything particular you gave up or changed about your diet?

VERNON CAREY: Yeah, I lost 30 pounds. I'm at 240 right now. Nothing really changed, just the proportions that I eat really and just me being more careful and watching what I eat really.

Q. At Duke last year, you played with a very good playmaker in Tre Jones, a guy who made the game seem like -- gave you a lot of easy passes. Now you get LaMelo Ball as one of your teammates. Have you watched any of his games? And how excited are you to have a point guard that's coming in with you that loves to distribute the basketball?

VERNON CAREY: I feel like he's one of -- if not the top playmaker in this draft, so just with his IQ level and the way he sees the floor and everything, I feel like it will make it a lot easier on my game for sure.

Q. Just wanted to say thanks for joining us and congratulations on being one of the newest Charlotte Hornets. Can you just talk a little bit about how your excitement for being drafted by the Hornets and just overall this night, what this has meant to you, in essence, being able to stay right here at home?

VERNON CAREY: Yeah, it meant the world to me, just me growing up and this being my lifelong dream. I'm just super excited. Just ready to get to work really.

Q. Was this the easiest phone call you've had to take from anyone from North Carolina, from UNC guys, Mitch and those guys?


Q. Looking around, we touched on LaMelo, but if you look at this Hornets roster, there's not a whole lot of age on this roster. It's very, very young with guys like Washington and Bridges and Devonte' and so on. Is there an excitement factor about how you guys will grow and develop and form a solid nucleus in, not just year one, but in the years down the road?

VERNON CAREY: Yeah, just with the young guys, I mean, I can't speak for anybody else that got drafted, but just for me personally, I know I'm going to just follow Miles and P.J. and those type of guys and just soak up all the knowledge I can because they already went through it. For me personally, I'm definitely just going to be all ears.

Q. Vernon, second question for you. With the 30-plus pounds of weight loss, is that going to help you become quicker? What do you think about your game is going to become even better now that you're not playing at 270 and you're playing at 240?

VERNON CAREY: Yeah, definitely, me being in better shape is the first thing. Just me being more mobile. I feel like those are the two main things, just me being in better shape and just me being more mobile. That's something I definitely feel like with me dropping 30 pounds, that's definitely a positive from that.

Q. How has your dad -- for those who don't know, your father is also a professional athlete. He played in the NFL for the Miami Dolphins. How has your father, although different sports, how has he helped you prepare to be a professional athlete?

VERNON CAREY: He can't really tell me anything basketball-wise, but just like the hard work and just like what it takes really from a mindset standpoint. I just try to carry that within myself and just to apply it on the court -- not only on the court, but as a young man. So that's the advice he gives me.

Q. Just to follow up on that really quickly, as the gentleman mentioned a moment ago, you will be staying in North Carolina. Not too much of a travel. How dope is it feel to be able to play for Michael Jordan?

VERNON CAREY: It's crazy. Just playing under the greatest -- in my opinion, the greatest player to play the game. Just being able to learn from him and ask him for knowledge. Not a lot of people get to do that, so I'll just take it all in.

Q. Vernon, congratulations on getting drafted. As far as skill set, who would you say, like players that you watched growing up, watching basketball or currently in the NBA, that you decided, hey, those are some of the intangibles that I have skill-wise?

VERNON CAREY: I mean, I feel like right now guys like Brook Lopez, him being able to stretch the floor, I feel like that's something I could come in and do. I mean, growing up, I've been watching -- I watched Dirk a lot, Dirk Nowitzki. Yeah, I watched those type of guys and guys like Anthony Davis right now and Bam, just try to take little parts from their game really.

Q. And I do have a piggy-back question: We're going to have some fun here. I've got to ask you. I don't know if you're a video game player now. Are you excited to be on NBA 2K now, have your actual person in the game? That's pretty cool, right?

VERNON CAREY: Yeah, I'm a big video game person, so that's pretty cool. To be able to be in the game like that, I'm definitely excited.

Q. Vernon, I know you kind of touched on this about LaMelo, but how do you kind of see your game meshing with this as you both come into the league this year?

VERNON CAREY: Yeah. I mean, just I feel like it's kind of similar with what I had with Tre [Jones] this past year, to run certain situations, like pick-and-pop or pick-and-rolls. Just playing basketball really. I feel like he's the type of player you could just play basketball with. I feel like I'm just excited to get out there really.

Q. First of all, what are your thoughts about next season, because you're going to be in a young group of guys with players like LaMelo, Terry Rozier, P.J. Washington. How do you think you're going to fit with these players?

VERNON CAREY: Whatever the team needs me to do, I'll do it. Playing defense, getting rebounds, whatever the team needs me to do, I'm here for. So it's something I'm looking forward to.

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