HoopsHype exclusive interviews: Get to know the 2020 NBA draft class

HoopsHype aims to provide you the best coverage of the NBA draft. We went beyond the scouting reports, mock drafts and player rankings to give you an inside look at the human side of these players.

Many fans did not get a chance to learn about the top college basketball players and a class of future NBA prospects after the annual March Madness tournament was canceled due o the ongoing pandemic.

So we produced a series of exclusive, 1-on-1 conversations with dozens of the players projected to hear their names called on November 19. We have stories with prospects ranging from likely lottery picks to potential undrafted free agent sleepers.

With the big night on the horizon, familiarize yourself with in-depth looks at several players in the 2020 NBA draft class:


Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Big, 6-foot-9, 19 years old

16.2 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 1.1 apg, 1.2 spg, 2.7 bpg, 61.6 FG%

Okongwu was high school teammates with Lonzo Ball and LaMelo Ball, winning a “national championship” for Chino Hills. He is a two-time recipient of California’s Mr. Basketball, awarded to the top high school player in the state.

“First, you’re going to get a defender. I take a lot of pride in playing defense. I love defense. I’ve been playing elite defense since I was a little kid. I take a lot of pride in defense coming naturally for me. You’re also getting an athlete. I’m a player who can run up and down the court with a high motor. I am trying to improve my jump shot but I know I have good touch and polish. I can be a great face-up, low-post scorer. I had a lot of rip throughs and jabs. I know teams will have to respect that.”

FULL INTERVIEW: Onyeka Okongwu on HoopsHype


Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports

Wing, 6-foot-8, 21 years old

16.1 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 2.4 apg, 0.8 spg, 47.7 FG%, 45.1 3P%

Bey is one of the most polished, pre-ready sharpshooters in the 2020 NBA draft. But one thing we did not expect: he broke down ancient Greek philosophy with us during this interview.

“I wanted to make it clear that I don’t have a low ceiling. I kept proving I still have a lot more potential. Also, I was able to show that I can play and guard multiple positions. Coming in, I was focusing on defensive rebounding and being able to defend guards and wings and big men. On the other end, I wanted to be a threat on every end. Our head coach Jay Wright gave me the opportunity to play on the ball a lot. I played some point guard. I played in the low post. I played in the mid-post. I played at all three levels. That helped my team win. It was also a credit to the guys around me who helped me a part of that amazing culture at Villanova. That paid dividends too.”

FULL INTERVIEW: Saddiq Bey on HoopsHype


Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Guard, 6-foot-2, 20 years old

14.6 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 3.2 apg, 1.4 spg, 44.1 FG%, 40.8 3P%

Terry has been the prospect who has most improved his draft stock in recent months, shattering a record for a basketball-IQ measurement that is conducted by several NBA teams.

“I’m savvy about getting around defenders. I’m unpredictable. So I think being smaller, I have to have those qualities in driving to the lane. I think when going to the next level, I’m going to have to even keep improving on those abilities and keep being unpredictable, keep being savvy and maneuver my way around defenders.”

FULL INTERVIEW: Tyrell Terry on HoopsHype


Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Forward, 6-foot-6, 22 years old

16.6 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 3.9 apg, 1.5 spg, 45.2 FG%, 44.2 3P%

Bane, thanks to his athleticism and sharpshooting abilities, is one of the two seniors most likely to hear his name called in the first round of the 2020 NBA draft.

“I’m a consistent player. If you look at my numbers throughout the year, I shot above 40 percent from the three-point range almost every year. My coach used to always say that you can always control your energy and effort. I do that well. Consistent is the word to describe me. I only missed one practice. I never missed a game. I’m somebody you can count on day in and day out. Whether my role is to play five minutes or 10 minutes or if I ended up getting an assignment in the G League. I can step into any role for any organization that needs someone they can rely on. They don’t have to worry about anything going on off the court. I’ll be there early. I’m always just going to be the best teammate possible and be a big part of the organization.”

FULL INTERVIEW: Desmond Bane on HoopsHype


Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Big, 6-foot-9, 19 years old

17.0 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 0.8 apg, 0.5 spg, 2.1 bpg, 57.0 FG%

Stewart was recognized as Mr. Basketball USA and Naismith Prep Player of the Year, both given to the best high school player in the country. He spoke candidly to HoopsHype about why he feels that analysts are wrong to have turned their backs on him after his sole collegiate campaign.

“People forgot who I am. I’m not sure if it’s because we had a losing season or not. But these guys that they have in the draft over me are guys I’ve been beating my whole life. I won every matchup. You talk about guys that are sleepers in this draft and I’m the biggest sleeper. I’m the guy that’s slept on the most. I’m a guy who has always been showing up, taking care of business from day one. Every level I’ve played, there was always doubt. But people smart enough know not to bet against Isaiah Stewart. People didn’t want me to be a ranked guy. But they knew they had no choice because every matchup that I’ve played against, I dominated. My game isn’t sexy. It’s not attractive. But at the end of the day, it gets the job done. People like flashy and people like potential but potential means you haven’t done anything. At the end of the day, I know I’m a winner. This past season was a losing season but people who know Isaiah Stewart know I’m going to be successful at the NBA level. They know the guys that are ahead of me, I’m better than them.”

FULL INTERVIEW: Isaiah Stewart on HoopsHype


Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Guard, 6-foot-3, 23 years old

21.9 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 3.9 apg, 1.6 spg, 49.9 FG%, 36.2 3P%

Riller is one of the more NBA-ready guards in this class and he spoke about why can be a plug-and-play option for any team as soon as next season.

“They’ll see more of my playmaking ability. The rep for me is how much of a scorer I am. But I think there are a lot of other things in my game people may not have realized yet. So once they really dive down and deep into their film, they’ll see more possessions of me being the leader of a team and really controlling the pace of the game. I think you know what you’re going to get with a fifth-year player. You know he’s trying to be more like a pro up to that point. I’m about my business and I’ve matured already. I’ll do whatever is asked of me.”

FULL INTERVIEW: Grant Riller on HoopsHype


Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Forward, 6-foot-9, 21 years old

15.1 ppg, 10.7 rpg, 1.9 spg, 2.6 bpg, 51.6 FG%, 30.8 3P%

Reed, who won the Big East’s Most Improved Player in 2019, announced a goal for himself during this interview: he would like to lead all rookies in rebounding next season.

“I expect to be an energy guy on offense. I can be a cutter and slasher. If you pass it to me and I’m open, I’m going to shoot it. I’m going to be an all-around type player, getting offensive rebounds. Defensively, I think that I’m going to be the person who is guarding the best player most of the time. I can use my length as well as my athleticism to block shots and get steals and turn defense into offense. I am going to be a glue guy for any team I play for.”

FULL INTERVIEW: Paul Reed on HoopsHype


(Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)

Guard, 6-foot-1, 22 years old

18.6 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 5.9 apg, 1.2 spg, 44.8 FG%, 43.2 3P%

Winston told HoopsHype that you can “write a book” about his amazing relationship with legendary head coach Tom Izzo. He also shared that his favorite movie character of all-time is Donkey from Shrek.

“I’m very confident in my jumper. It’s what I do. I have the ability to knock down shots. I feel like I need that to make plays to be successful productive on the floor. I’m constantly working on my shot. I’ve been working on my 3-pointer from the NBA range for about a year and a half now. I’m comfortable from that level. The more variety and ways I can get my shot off can help me expand my game. You can’t box me in as just one type of shooter. I’m more than just good off the catch. I can take whatever the defense gives me.”

FULL INTERVIEW: Cassius Winston on HoopsHype


Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Wing, 6-foot-7, 21 years old

11.4 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 1.1 spg, 1.0 bpg, 49.5 FG%, 42.9 3P%

Woodard is a fantastic basketball player but told us that he also loves to play guitar and go hunting and fishing and horseback riding. He said that he has at least seven guitars and likes to cover Daniel Caeser and John Mayer.

“I really want them to know that I’m a hard-working guy on and off the floor. I’m very competitive when it comes to just about anything. I’m an all-around guy on the floor on both the offensive end and the defensive end. I’m able to create for my teammates without having the ball in my hands. A lot of the times, I’ve been able to back-door cut. I also take things personally on the defensive end. I’m able to switch one through five, especially when teams are playing small ball. I’m versatile on both ends of the floor.”

FULL INTERVIEW: Robert Woodard on HoopsHype


James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Big, 6-foot-10, 22 years old

13.6 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 1.9 apg, 1.0 spg, 53.5 FG%, 40.0 3P%

Tillie is likely the best shooting big man in this draft class but he also told us that he likely could have been a professional beach volleyball player if he had stuck with that sport.

“My shooting has helped me a lot. I worked on it during my first year because it wasn’t very good before then. It was average but now it’s pretty good. I’m confident. I take more shots. I am still trying to work on getting quicker on the release. But it’s definitely helped me because people have to guard me on the outside and that spaces the floor. That helps me drive more, too. We also ran a lot of pick-and-pop at Gonzaga. Our point guards were so great at finding me there and it has become one of my favorite shots.”

FULL INTERVIEW: Killian Tillie on HoopsHype


Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

Guard, 6-foot-4, 23 years old

16.7 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 3.2 apg, 1.8 spg, 49.1 FG%, 39.4 3P%

Mays comes from a family of doctors and has a degree in kinesiology and studied pre-medicine in college. He is interested in P3 Applied Sports Science and how they’re able to apply their studies to high-level athletes.

“I feel super comfortable in the pick-and-roll. That’s what I did when I was on the ball as a true point guard. I had plenty of practice with it. I think it showed a lot this past year as I had more opportunities. I wanted to get into the paint, whether that meant getting opportunities for my teammates or getting into the paint and scoring and hurting teams at the free-throw line. I play off my ability to get in the paint.”

FULL INTERVIEW: Skylar Mays on HoopsHype


Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

Wing, 6-foot-6, 21 years old

12.6 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 1.0 apg, 0.7 spg, 47.4 FG%, 36.0 3P%

Stanley, who played high school basketball in front of Kanye West and the Kardashians under the spotlight at Sierra Canyon, told HoopsHype that he wants to become the commissioner of the NBA after his playing career is over.

“I just know that I win and my record speaks for itself. I’m not really worried about what people were saying or why they were devaluing me. I just know that every time I step on the court, I get the job done since high school, Peach Jam and Nike Skills Challenge. I’m a winner. That’s all I know.”

FULL INTERVIEW: Cassius Stanley on HoopsHype


Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Guard, 6-foot-5, 22 years old

22.0 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 3.4 apg, 1.6 spg, 45.3 FG%, 35.1 3P%

Jones shared an inspirational story about discovering basketball at a late age. After transforming his body by drastically cutting his weight down from 270 pounds, he transferred from junior college and eventually won SEC Co-Player of the Year in 2020.

“I want to be an All-Star. I have a lot to prove and I feel like the way I work hard and the way I carry myself and the way I care about the game, I definitely feel like I can achieve being an All-Star or being an MVP in the league. Those are things that I dream about. I want to put them in real-life situations. I have a chance to be that, I have a chance to be an MVP. I have a chance to put the work in and know that nothing is going to be handed to me, it’s going to be all hard work. I know exactly what to do when my back is against the wall or people have doubts: work hard and keep proving wrong. That’s definitely what I’m going to continue to do.”

FULL INTERVIEW: Mason Jones on HoopsHype


Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports

Forward, 6-foot-8, 23 years old

17.6 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 2.2 apg, 1.1 spg, 1.1 bpg, 42.3 FG%

Stevens was not only an incredibly productive four-year player during his time at Penn State but he also published a children’s book, illustrated by six children who met while working with the Special Olympics.

“I will be a guy who can play and guard multiple positions. I’ll be a player with a lot of energy that is a huge communicator on defense and can score. I scored at a high percentage in the Big-10 conference, which I believe is the best league in the country. My main focus will be becoming the best defender that I can possibly be, and hopefully have the chance to guard the best players.”

FULL INTERVIEW: Lamar Stevens on HoopsHype


Nathan J Fish/Sun-News-Imagn Content Services, LLC

Wing, 6-foot-6, 23 years old

13.2 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 2.4 apg, 1.7 spg, 47.1 FG%, 38.7 3P%

Queen has one of the most insane journeys to professional basketball you will ever hear, overcoming homelessness to eventually winning MVP of his conference tournament in 2019.

“I would say I’m an all-around player. I’m a two-way. I want to be the best on the offensive end and the defensive end. I like to get my teammates involved in any way possible. If I’m on the bench, then I’m giving motivation and words of encouragement or helping them with the scouting report and to just keep their heads in the game. I know whatever role they have me playing, I’m going to play 100 percent. Whether it’s coming in and getting the steal or getting the charge or getting a bucket, my role is going to be on both ends of the court. I’m going to be on both ends of the court. I want to be able to score and then defend the best player if I have to. I want to be a great two-way player. I’m also an emotional player. You can always see it on the court. I’m willing to put any amount of effort into everything. I’d fully be willing to run a thousand miles for a team to play at the highest level. This is my dream.”

FULL INTERVIEW: Trevelin Queen on HoopsHype


Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Forward, 6-foot-8, 22 years old

22.2 ppg, 9.0 rpg, 2.0 apg, 0.9 bpg, 57.4 FG%, 48.9 3P%

Childs, who has already been married for two years, was one of the most efficient pick-and-pop players in the country last season. He will bring a sense of polish and professionalism to any locker room in the NBA.

I can be someone that comes in as a high-energy, high-character and high-IQ guy. I’m going to carve out a role for myself as someone who crashes the offensive glass, plays hard, communicates on every possession and shows up to practice every day and competes like it’s the NBA Finals. Every team needs guys like that. I know that with some of the natural gifts I have, I’m able to finish with touch in different ways around the rim. I’m someone who’s able to stretch the floor and create space for a lot of high-level drivers in the NBA. I would love to come in and create a role that way, and continue to expand my game every year.”

FULL INTERVIEW: Yoeli Childs on HoopsHype


© BRIAN JENKINS/for the Free Press, Burlington Free Press via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Forward, 6-foot-6, 22 years old

16.7 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 2.5 apg, 1.0 spg, 1.2 bpg, 41.1 FG%

Lamb, who ranked among the Top 5 in Vermont Catamounts’ history in points and blocks, also touched on his love for anime films and television shows.

“I can have an immediate effect, guarding and being someone that could do whatever you need me to do on the court with my toughness and my grit. I know I can space the floor. I know everybody needs somebody that can guard, everybody needs somebody that can space the floor. So that’s the immediate impact I can give to any team that picks me or gives me the chance. Then as I develop, I think it’s going to depend on who I’m playing with and playing off of the people I’m with. I know it’s important to be moldable and malleable. So whatever is needed on me, I can continue to develop and get better as I go. That is something I’m leaning on and trusting in. But it is mostly about winning. So whatever I need to do and develop and get better at in order to stay in and win games, that is what I’m going to do. I need to do is whatever comes. I’ll be ready for it.”

FULL INTERVIEW: Anthony Lamb on HoopsHype


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