TOLEDO, Ohio — Thursday night is the NBA Draft and Toledo men's basketball standout Ryan Rollins is ready to hear his name called.
The first-team all Mid-American Conference guard for the Rockets spoke to WTOL as he awaits the draft to kick off.
Where is your mind at right now ahead of the draft and what has this all been like?
“It’s been a blessing for sure. I’m just excited for the relief I’m going to feel once I get drafted, once I figure out where I’m going, so I’m excited for sure, it is a new chapter in my life.”
What has this whole process, workouts and decision to stay in the draft, been like for you?
“From the jump I was 100% in. I knew that once I got to the combine and got through the workouts and once the front offices and GM’s had the chance to see me with their own eyes and see me play basketball with other draftees, I was confident to be good enough to stay in draft and rise up in the draft as well.”
What's it going to mean when/if you hear your name called to be the first University of Toledo player since 1998 to be drafted?
“Exciting. It is going to be great for me and the university as a whole, putting on for Toledo and putting them on the map a little more. It is a great university and a great conference we play in, so it’s gonna be great.”
Has it hit you that you're this close to the draft and having the chance to play in the NBA?
“It has set in a little bit, but it’ll hit me more tomorrow when it actually happens. I’m starting to understand it and get a grasp of it as it gets close.”
What do you bring to an organization and what would be your pitch to a team to draft you?
“I think I have a lot of potential. I’m a three-level-scorer, I’m a playmaker on both ends of the floor, I create for myself and others, so you know in the modern day game, you need someone who can do a lot of things on the court and be a triple threat, so I think I am one of those guys.”
What have you talked to teams about and what have those conversations been like with organizations?
“Mainly, they just try to get to know you a lot. Try to figure out how you got here, your past, the values you have been brought up with, and what you can bring to the organization both on and off the floor. I have been expressing that in those interviews.”
Do you feel like playing at Toledo and in Tod Kowalczyk's system helped you and if so, how?
“Yeah it helped. His is more of an NBA style, position less basketball, with just running out with five guys on the court, running good plays, playing good defense, and playing good basketball, making a lot of threes. It helped me get a lot more access to what the NBA has to offer at a lower level."
What were some childhood idols and players that you looked up to when you were younger?
“Kobe Bryant was the main one, but on the Pistons it was Rip Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince. Those are my two guys.”
Is there a certain team you want to play for or do you not care where you're drafted?
“I want to go wherever, whoever wants me to contribute to their organization. I am ready to play for whoever wants me.”