Interview: Utkuhan Genç, TrendBasket&Candace Buckner, Washington Post


On the last game day before the All-Star break, the Washington Wizards beat the Indiana Pacers 111-98. Prior to the encounter in which TrendBasket was present, we, along with Candace Buckner of the Washington Post, did an exclusive interview with Wizards’ forward Otto Porter Jr.

What opened up in that first quarter for you? (Candace Buckner, Washington Post)

I was able to get a couple in transitions. I think John [Wall] ran a couple of times. That got me open. He ran straight to the rim and it helped me have a split second and I was able to knock down a couple of shots. So, we were feeling great tonight.

I think this is the third time you hit six threes in a game this season, which is your career high… (Buckner)

I should’ve had about eight or nine. Couple of [shots] went in and out. They felt great. They were really good today.

What did you like the most about tonight? This could’ve been a trap game: Last game before the All-Star break, [Pacers] is slumping… (Buckner)

We’re not even talking about that. We focused on ourselves as a team, where we wanna be. We definitely wanted to come out and play like we’ve always been playing. That’s what we did.

Brian Spurlock/USA TODAY Sports

Brian Spurlock/USA TODAY Sports

In the 34th win of the season, Porter scored 25 points, hitting a career high six 3-pointers, and added 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block in 35 minutes of play.

After a rocky start, you have won 21 out of the last 26 games since Christmas. What is the formula for your winning streak? (Utkuhan Genç, TrendBasket)

Just knocking them down. It’s just my teammates having confidence in me, my coaches (having confidence in me)… It’s just having confidence. I kind of fed off of Brad [Beal], when he was hitting threes. I can do the same.

What do you think about your playing style under Scott Brooks? He likes to use corner threes and makes you shoot more threes… (Genç)

It is more about spacing the floor out, really. John draws so much attention that guys leave me, Brad, Markieff [Morris] wide open and we knock down the shots. Once that happens, paint just opens wide up and you can get to the rack and get fouls. So, it’s like an inside-out game that we got going right now. We’re rolling.

During your first season, you suffered a long-term hip injury but you bounced back and became an important part of starting five. How can a young player handle the pressure to live up the hype? (Genç)

It’s different for everybody. My advice to give is to stay ready. Opportunities will come around. Never get discouraged.

I don’t know if it’s coincidence but right before the All-Star break, you go crazy beyond the arc. Did you draw any motivation from not being invited to the Three Point Contest? (Buckner)

It is what it is. I am not mad or anything about it. I’m just doing what I do. That’s all.

Is there a specific opponent – like Celtics – that you want to face in the Playoffs? (Genç)

It’s too early for that right now. Way too early.

Utkuhan Genç

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