Nike Hoop Summit Player Profile: Tony Wroten
As a member of the inaugural USA Basketball Menís U17 World Championship Team, Tony Wroten contributed 8.4 points, 4.3 assists and 3.5 steals in just 20.3 minutes per game to help the USA to an 8-0 record and a gold medal at the 2010 FIBA U17 World Championship in Germany.
On April 9, the 6í5Ē guard from Garfield High School in Seattle, Wash., will be back in a USA jersey looking for another win, this time against the World Select Team in the 2011 Nike Hoop Summit at the Rose Garden in Portland, Ore.
With Wroten and Garfield taking home the KingCo 4A Conference title Feb. 18, next on the horizon for the young star is the Washington Class 4A state playoffs, which begin Feb. 25.
Recently, Wroten took a few minutes of his time to talk with USABasketball.com about his experiences in a USA jersey and what he expects to face in the 2011 Nike Hoop Summit.
Are you looking forward to reconnecting with your USA teammates?
Oh yeah. I keep in contact with all of them. I talk to them about once a week, and a few I talk to everyday. Weíve been talking about it, and we canít wait to get back together and play on the same team and just be around each other. Being in Germany, all we had was ourselves, so we got a chance to build great relationships and become close friends. Now, itís like weíve been playing together for years because we got a great bond. I just canít wait to get back on the court and play with them again.
We were like a family. We all come from different states and different places throughout the country, but once you play for USA Basketball, itís like we are all one. Thatís one thing I love about playing for USA Basketball.
What was the biggest challenge you encountered while playing international basketball?
I would say being outside the country and out of our comfort zone was the biggest challenge we had. Different food and different language in Germany, and we just had to adapt. We had a family, and we were hoping for first, but once we realized that if we all kept to ourselves it would be so much harder to adapt, then we did so much better. That was the biggest thing.
What do you expect to face from the World Team in the 2011 Nike Hoop Summit?
I expect to play against the best-of-the-best. There is a lot of talent in this world, not just in the country, so I expect to play against some great talent. It will be a great game Ė canít wait for it.
What do you think of international rules? Is there an international rule youíd like to see the high school game adopt?
At first itís tough, different ball and different rules, but it was fun. Itís not the same game that we play every day, so for me to change and be able to play under different rules was exciting.
Iíd like to be able to knock the ball off the cylinder in high school games. That was pretty fun. There were a lot of baskets other teams could have had, but we hit them out.
What made Washington a good fit for you?
I wanted to go to a great school academically, with a great coaching staff. I wanted to stay home and play for the University of Washington and coach Romar.
What is your favorite training routine or drill?
When the basketball is in my hands, I really enjoy every drill. I love the game of basketball, so I couldnít narrow it down to just one drill I like to do. I love it all.
What is your least favorite training routine or drill?
I really hate lifting because itís not like when you have a basketball in your hand and you have a lot of motivation. You have to find your motivation from the inside.
Where is the most room for improvement in your game?
Oh, I can say everywhere. Iím not perfect, so I definitely would say everywhere. If I had to chose one thing, though, Iíd say being more of a leader on the court.
Who do you most like to be compared to?
Chris Paul, Derrick Rose or Jay Williams because they are all great point guards who get everybody involved. Iím a pass-first type of player, so I can relate to that.
What helps you stay motivated?
I come from the ghetto and my mom and my family mean the world to me, so I want to have them be able to live a great life. Iím working for them; thatís my motivation.
How would you like to finish your high school season?
We just won KingCo semifinals, and we are in the playoffs. I think we can win state as long as we keep playing like we are now.
Last year, I tore my ACL and wasnít playing, and we didnít make it to the state tournament. Being on the bench made me realize how much basketball meant to me because I was really hurting mentally. Watching my team lose without me was tough, and Iím determined to change that this year.
NOTE: Garfield topped Ballard High School 63-50 on Feb. 18 to win the KingCo Conference 4A title and secure a berth into the state tournament. With a 21-3 record, Wroten and Garfield open play in the first round of the state tournament on Feb. 25.