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June 25, 2009

Darren Collison


Q. Talk about how much you have to prove because you felt under the radar even though you had a decorated college clear, talk about how much you feel you have to prove that make sure you let the doubters and haters know?
DARREN COLLISON: If you understood the emotion when you're in this chair right now, you wouldn't matter about what anybody says. I really don't care what anybody says about my past.
I did what I had to do for UCLA. It was a project I was trying to build and unfortunately we didn't win the National Championship last year, but as of right now, I'm blessed, to be part of one of the best point guards in the league and arguably one of the best point guards ever, I feel really blessed and fortunate.

Q. The defense will help you be able to have a long career in the league, right?
DARREN COLLISON: Yeah, you can speak to the other guys, as well, like Russell, Luke, everybody else, they will tell you the same thing. Coach Howland, he gets you ready for the future and defensively, he doesn't play. Every day he emphasizes the defense and I'm just happy to be part of this experiment. I don't really know what to tell you right now because I'm a little high on the clouds but I'm just happy to be here and I'm just glad that Coach Howland did what he could to make me a great player.

Q. Going to New Orleans, have you seen New Orleans or been to a Hornets game, and how do you feel about going to an organization with a fan base as rabid as they are?
DARREN COLLISON: I haven't really seen New Orleans or been to a New Orleans game. I worked out for them one time. It's a great city and they have a great team, I can tell you that. I watched them play numerous times.
Like I said, one person you think of on the New Orleans Hornets is Chris Paul, and he's one of the best point guards so I'm going to soak in the knowledge he has to say everything and he says on the court and absorb that. Byron Scott is a good guy. I was working out with him and it was all towards me, my parents are track athletes and I was all good for it. I worked on my endurance this whole off-season and it paid off.

Q. Being a four-year player, what do you think are going to be the key assets that you bring to the Hornets organization?
DARREN COLLISON: Maturity. Being at UCLA is not just any school. It's a high-profile school, too. Being there for four years, I just remember charity. I could come in and produce right away and I think that's what they were looking for in their second string. I'm looking forward to making big things and being accepted into a family and not like I'm going in there to be a big shot. It's not like I have to learn from everybody else.
There's still a lot of learning to do but once I get on the court, whether it's practice, off-season training camp, I should be fine.

Q. You were one of the guys in the Green Room, did you have a promise or know that you were going this high? It seemed like it surprised some people.
DARREN COLLISON: Actually, no, I really didn't until right now. My parents, they wanted to go to New York and experience this whole process. So I really didn't know how high I was going to go, but I had kind of a range, but it wasn't promising or anything.
You know, I found like like ten seconds before I got picked, it was definitely suspense-feeling, because you don't know what's going to happen and who the players are going to be taking, but it's a good experience for the players who participate in this Draft.

Q. Do you feel confident that staying the fourth year was a good decision for you then?
DARREN COLLISON: Definitely, right here behind Chris Paul, I have a chance to learn from him. Later on in my future, I can emulate those things and those things he taught me in my future. I definitely feel it's a good situation and I owe it to my coaching staff and that's why I stayed and I'll be loyal to the team that drafted me, too.

Q. I wanted to ask you one more question about the Pac-10, so much talent over the past four years during your time there. Talk about how that's preparing you, that level of competition is preparing you for the league?
DARREN COLLISON: Oh, man, you seen last year how many players went in the Pac-10 and what they are doing right now in the NBA. Enough about that. The Pac-10 brings it every day. There's never an off-night in that league. Every player is capable of doing something special at the next level. And like I said, I was just definitely fortunate to be part of that as being a three-year starter.
The Pac-10 is always going to get you ready, later on down the road as far as the other players coming up. But right now, for me, it's definitely put me in this position.

Q. College basketball is is very structured and systematic. Do you feel that your game is going to translate into the iso-NBA game?
DARREN COLLISON: Definitely, I can't wait to go on to the court and show people what I can do. College basketball, it's clogged up and you really can't do much. It's more of a team play. I was doing good playing with my team and we had a great team that won a lot of games being there at UCLA.
Now in the NBA it's more spaced out and it's all to your athleticism and I definitely fit in that category and I'm definitely excited for this next level.

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