Tony Wroten Bouncing Back In A Big Way
June 23 , 2010 - San Antonio, Texas
Seattle native Tony Wroten had already been through a lot in 2009-10.
But before you go feeling sorry for him, know two things - he's back, back better than ever; and his summer just got a whole lot busier after being named to the USA Basketball U17 World Championship Team!
He's a whirlwind on the court. One moment he's applying relentless defensive pressure against his opponent, then an instant later he's racing down the court with the ball where he'll slip a no-look, pinpoint sharpe pass to a teammate for an easy lay in. It leaves observers collectively shaking their heads, wondering how in the world did he see that opening let alone get the ball through it to his teammate.
USABasketball.com recently caught up with the 6-5, 203 pound guard and discussed the knee injury he suffered playing football, his rehab and his bright future.
How has your training been going here in San Antonio?
I'm a little sore because I'm not used to two-a-days but everything is going good so far and I like it.
Is there an advantage this time around because of last year's training?
Yeah, there was. Being in Colorado last year, being with the players, knowing the coaches and staff, I think it's a big advantage because I'm use to what the coaches are doing.
You hurt your knee last fall playing football right?
Yeah, first game actually. I was doing pretty good, two interceptions, two touchdowns, 10 receptions, but things just happen. Things happen for a reason and I came back stronger so God had a better plan for me.
What happened on the play?
I was running and I tried to cut, my cleat got stuck in the grass so my body went one way and my leg (right) went the other. I had knee surgery two weeks later.
What was more difficult, missing the remainder of your football season or missing the basketball season?
Basketball is what I want to do for the rest of my life, football is just something I'm good at. But it was way worse missing the basketball season because we struggled and didn't make it to state so it was way worse missing the basketball season.
How difficult was your rehab after undergoing surgery?
It was tough, crazy, I was in rehab every day, I didn't take any days off. I came back 110 percent, even better.
Ever have a doubt about getting back to 100 percent?
No, not at all. After surgery never!
Did sitting out this basketball season give you a perspective about the game that maybe you didn't have before?
Yeah, it made me like a coach. I got to observe, you see things a lot better from a coach perspective than a player perspective. So I think it will help me be a better point guard.
Did not playing make you realize how much basketball means to you?
I was saying I'm getting tired of basketball so I'll try to play football. But being out for the season just made me realize I love basketball.
Will you play football next year?
No, I'm finished with football. I'm done with football
You've demonstrated during the Developmental National Team training an amazing ability to pass the ball to your teammates. Where did that ability come from?
Well I honestly wish I could explain that, but that's a God given ability, that vision, it's just something that God gifted me with.
Do you take pride in your passing abilities?
I definitely do. For some people it's (about) scoring. I'd rather have a dish off for a dunk than for me to get my own dunk. I'm a team player.
What can you give this USA team?
I can help this team a lot by being a distributor. I'm an up tempo, emotional player, (who) gets the team pumped up and makes sure everybody's good by not being selfish and by being a team player.
There have been a few occasions here where you really locked your guy down defensively.
Yeah, I want to guard the best player. I'm going to tell coach to put me on the best player. I get offended when somebody scores on my, I take it personal, I take as being disrespectful. That's why I play such aggressive defense. I take defense real serious.
It seems your whole family is very athletic.
Yeah, my auntie, my mom, my dad and my cousin, they all were good athletes. (coming from an athletic family) definitely helped keep me in sports, helped kept me out of the bad things being in the ghetto and things like that. My whole family playing sports has helped me a lot
You said the best player you ever played against was family, Nate Robinson.
Yeah, though he might be small, he never misses two in a row. Last year in Vegas I played him one-on-one, I almost beat him but he got me.
Did he dunk on you?
Naw, he never dunked on me.
What's with you liking fried catfish? I didn't figure that would be a choice in Seattle.
My mom home cooked catfish and I loved it. That's all.
After your knee injury and sitting out your 2009-10 season, what are your goals for next year in high school?
Senior year I want to win a state championship and I want to get better every day. Those are two of my main goals.
Where on you on deciding about a college?
I'm wide open, I've whittled it down to four actually " Kentucky, UW (Washington), â€˜Nova (Villanova) and UConn (Connecticut).
Whenever. I could make it tomorrow or could make it whenever, I've got no agenda.