D.J. Wilson spoke to the media after Sunday’s loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers. He walked us through what the past week was like for him with players entering COVID protocols, earning him a shot with the Raptors. He also touched on the unique challenge of having to show up and play with a group of people he’s never played with before.
Follow our Raptors coverage all season long on Yahoo Sports Canada.
REPORTER: You kind of walk us through the last few days and how weird and unusual it's been? And how you feel it's going for you in this odd role?
DJ WILSON: Yeah, it's been a crazy last, what, like, five or six days? I went from OKC to Vegas to playing the showcase to getting picked up, flying to Chicago, getting ready to play the Bulls. That game getting postponed. Next day, flying out to LA to spend Christmas Eve with my family, and then Christmas Day, morning, coming out here, flying to Cleveland. And then the 26th, today, flying to Toronto, so it's been an eventful last four or five days. But I'm appreciative for the opportunity, and I wouldn't pass up on it.
REPORTER: Well, that was gonna be my follow-up question. The opportunity is, it's absolutely unique because of the COVID circumstances and the way the NBA has changed its roster rules. But how could you make the most of it in just 10 days with seven guys you may never have met before?
DJ WILSON: Yeah, no, I think it's just a matter of trusting the work that I've put in up until this point, knowing that, you know, I'm an NBA player, I can play at this level, and just showcasing that, not getting too ahead of myself, just going out there with the confidence to do so. So hopefully that translates.
REPORTER: Great. Thanks so much. You have a safe trip back and enjoy Toronto when you ever get here.
DJ WILSON: Thank you. Thank you.
MODERATOR: Thanks, Doug. Next, we'll go to Michael Grange from "SportsNet."
MICHAEL GRANGE: Hey, DJ. Just sort of on that theme, maybe how anxious have you been that now that you kind of got this opportunity or you knew it was going to come along, that a couple of guys who were supposed to be playing ended up testing positive, and they've kind of missed their little window, or maybe may have-- was that sort of nerve-wracking in itself, just waiting for your tests, as you were kind of waiting for the games kind of thing?
DJ WILSON: Yeah, definitely, because it seems like, you know, everybody's been quarantining properly and doing what they need to be. And some tests are just popping up positive, one way or another. So I think with me just staying isolated as much as possible-- if I'm not on the court, going back to my room, and just trying to stay away from people for however long this continues to go on. And like you said, it is kind of nerve-wracking, but I just have faith.
MICHAEL GRANGE: And then maybe just take us through-- Nick was, I think, was saying, like, you know, he met with you guys on the floor an hour before the game. Have you ever been through that kind of experience as a pro, and what was that like in itself?
DJ WILSON: Yeah, not even. We've all been playing together. This is the first time all of us have been out there on the court. And then I think, what, four of us-- first time any of us has played together. So it's definitely a learning experience tonight. I think we handled it as best as possible. The outcome was the outcome, but I think we can just do nothing but grow from this. And you know, hopefully things will come along. And the good things can roll over into the, what, 28th, when we play Philly.
MICHAEL GRANGE: Appreciate it, DJ. Good luck with all of this.
DJ WILSON: Thank you.
MODERATOR: Next up, we have Eric Koreen from "The Athletic."
ERIC KOREEN: Hey, DJ, thanks for taking the time tonight. More on Nick sort of talking to you guys before the game. What is an NBA coach able to communicate to guys 75 minutes before a game, when the eight guys have never played together? Like, what is he-- what did he tell you? And what did you feel you guys were able to do as a team with one attempt?
DJ WILSON: I think just go over the basic concepts and sets on offense-- the three or four basic stats that we'll probably be just flowing into throughout the 48 minutes. And then on the other end, kind of just going over to the defensive concepts. And then more than anything, I think what was vocalized was to just go out there, and play as hard as you can, and have fun. And you know, I think we did that. And for us playing for the first time, I think we did all right. They made 20-something 3's. I think that was probably the biggest thing.
ERIC KOREEN: And Nick went to the-- he's sort of famous for his defensive switching and the way he goes through different schemes. Were you ready for the zone that quickly in the game?
DJ WILSON: Yeah, that's something that I've kind of done up until this point this season, playing with the blue. It's kind of just going back and forth from man to zone. And you know, wherever I'm at in the zone, whether it's the middle or one of the wings, I feel comfortable in doing so. I think just the most important part in playing zone is being vocal and rebounding out of it.
ERIC KOREEN: Thanks, DJ. Safe trip back.
DJ WILSON: Thank you.
MODERATOR: And next up, we have Adam from the "Daily High."
REPORTER: Hey, DJ. I'm just wondering if, you know, any of the Raptors players that are in protocol, if they reached out to you and said anything to you, or if they passed on any words of advice before today?
DJ WILSON: No, not too much. Not other than the guys that have been here that we played with today. But it's been a crazy, what, last 48, 72 hours. So you know, I didn't really expect much. I just hope that those guys stay safe, stay healthy, get healthy, and just come back in a matter of time.
REPORTER: And is it weird, you know, kind of stepping into that role, where there's these guys who have played with this team all season, and then the identity of the team is stripped. What's it like sort of stepping into a situation, where you're, I guess, you're in somebody else's shoes?
DJ WILSON: It is different, but it's the opportunity that we've all been waiting for since the start of the season, was something like this happen-- something like this happening, taking place, and then us just being ready. And I feel like we did that tonight. But we were just short, in terms of the outcome.
REPORTER: All right. Thank you.
MODERATOR: Two more here for you, DJ. We'll go to Vivek Jacob next from raptors.com.
VIVEK JACOB: Hey, DJ. Thanks for taking the time. You were mentioning just sort of going through the grind and waiting for an opportunity. Are you someone who just puts their head down and does the work, and then whatever opportunity presents itself, presents itself? Or do you like looking at NBA teams and saying, hey, I could help that team? Did you ever look at the Raptors that way?
DJ WILSON: I think it's kind of both. Definitely the first one, in terms of just doing my work, doing what I need to be doing, any extra work throughout the summer, throughout the season, just being ready for my opportunity so I don't have to get ready. And then, you know, I'm a student of the game. I love the game. So I definitely watch NBA basketball 24/7 on week pass. So I'm definitely familiar with the makeups of all rosters and teams. And I'm just happy to be here.
VIVEK JACOB: Specifically in terms of how the Raptors play, you know, especially this season-- you know, they've got a bunch of guys that are 6' 8", 6' 9", play really aggressive defense. Is that something you paid any attention-- any additional attention to?
DJ WILSON: Yeah, I mean, playing in Milwaukee-- you know, those Coach Nurse teams-- that's kind of how they've always played the last few years. So it's definitely something that I'm comfortable with and doing, being 16, 6' 11", being versatile, being able to be in a drop or switch, and then rebounding out of it. So it's definitely something that I look forward in doing, and yeah.
VIVEK JACOB: Thank you, DJ.
MODERATOR: And last question for you here, DJ, is from Takeshi.
REPORTER: Hello, DJ. Thank you for your time. Can you hear me?
DJ WILSON: Yeah, I can hear you.
REPORTER: So my question is, if you have any advice from Yuta Watanabe about playing today, please share.
DJ WILSON: Any advice with who? For who?
REPORTER: From Yuta Watanabe, the Japanese player.
DJ WILSON: Did I get advice from him, or any advice for him?
REPORTER: What you get from him.
DJ WILSON: Oh, what I got from him. Yeah, I've known him probably for the last, what, two years just playing together. We have the same trainer during the summer or whatnot. So he kind of just told me to go out there, play hard, play my game, and just read one another. And that's really all you can do in a situation like this, though.