If you guys remember, I was ecstatic when the Bulls had traded for Guard C.J. Watson back in July. To me, if the Bulls wanted to make a deep run in the playoffs this year, they desperately needed a solid backup PG and in general, just another good Guard off of the bench. Watson gives the Bulls exactly that, and the best part is, that we got him for basically nothing in the off season. A future second rounder was what was dealt by the Bulls, which is a deal I would do anyday of the week for Watson.
Why am I so high on Watson? Because I think Watson is definitely one of the better backup PG's in the NBA. Watson's young, he's a scorer, a ball handler, is athletic, can create his own shot, and he can fill the lane on the break. I also like the fact that Watson is resilient. Even after he didn't get drafted, he never gave up and he kept working on his game. Watson worked hard and balled in Europe and in the DLeague, before signing on with the Warriors last year. And once Watson got a chance to really play with the Warriors, he was great. He even dropped 40 points in one of his games last year. I know he played on the Warriors and all they do is gun, but still, 40 points in a NBA game, is still 40 points. I think it will be nice to have that kind of explosive player off our bench, that's for sure. I know Watson is going to fit in perfectly with our style and the group of players that we have this year, and I can't wait to see him play!
Anyway Bulls fans, I know some of you wanted to know more about CJ, so I was able to catch up with him and ask him a few questions about a ton of different topics. Check out this interview if you guys get a chance, and stop by with your comments if you can....
VC: You had a great College career, yet you didn’t get drafted. Did that get you down for a while, or did that motivate you in life?
CJ: A little bit. It did, but it just gave me more drive and will power to work even harder, and to try and accomplish my goals in life.
VC: How was it playing in Europe? How did you adjust with being away from your family and friends? Best memory/Worst memory?
CJ: It was tough for me because I had four different Coaches and it was difficult adjusting to each one. Once you felt like you knew what the Coach wanted, he got fired, so it was hard. It wasn't my first time being away from family or friends, but it was hard being so far away and not being able for them to visit randomly. The best memory would have to be just bonding with my teammates that were from another country. I never would've thought I would be able to communicate with them and talk with them, being from another country.
VC: How was it playing in the D-League? Best memory? Worst Memory?
CJ: The d-league was a completely different experience. It kind of reminded me of College. The worst memory was probably the bus rides and traveling, but at the same time they were fun rides cracking jokes with my teammates and the Coaches too. The best memory I had in the D-League was getting in touch with my Mexican heritage, lol. The place where I played was like 90% Mexican, so learning their culture and trying to learn Spanish was fun.
VC: You killed there in he D-League, did that help your confidence grow as a player?
CJ: It did help my confidence, but at the same time I was trying to work on things that the NBA people said I couldn't do and wasn't good at, so it helped me in every aspect.
VC: Name one thing about each league that is different from in the NBA.
CJ: I'd say overseas the biggest difference is the traveling rule. They get the Americans every time! In the D-league the biggest thing is the pay probably.
VC: Did playing in Europe and in the D-League help your game at all? Did it change your perspective in life at all? If so, how?
CJ: Playing in both leagues, it taught me to always be thankful and grateful for my situation. I was already, but being in different places and areas that I had never been in before, made me not take things for granted and made me make the most out of every opportunity.
VC: What’s one piece of advice that you can maybe give to another baller who didn’t get drafted, but is still trying to make the league through the DLeague or Euro ball?
CJ: Just keep the faith. You have to keep working on your game and not give up. It's really easy to give up, but it makes you a better man and person in the long run if you keep working hard and believe in yourself and believe in your goals.
VC: A lot of people say you aren’t a true PG, but a scoring PG or even a Combo guard. What would you say to them, or how would you respond to them?
CJ: I know I'm a true PG. I honestly don't want to score the ball. Meaning I'd rather make a good pass then shoot, but coming out of college and even in the D-league, I was told to score to have a chance in the NBA so I had to change my game around. Even while I was in Golden State, I was told to score or sit. I wanted to play, so I worked on my shooting and scoring ability and it paid off.
VC: Adding onto that, a lot of people don’t think you and DRose will be able to play together at the same time, something I disagree with. Have you had a chance to think about that at all on how it would be? Do you think it would work?
CJ: I have thought about it for sure. I think once people see us play together, they will see that we will compliment each other well. He does what he does well, and vice versa. Hopefully the chemistry will come along quickly and we can make some people into believers.
VC: To some Bulls fans that have not seen you play much, how would you describe your game in your own words?
CJ: I think I'm just an all around Basketball player. I try to work on all the aspects of my game, except for dunking, lol! But I like to get to the basket, I can knock down the jumper, and I like to get out and run on offense. I think defense creates offense, so I also like to gamble for steals.
VC: What’s one part of your game that people sleep on?
CJ: Just me finishing at the basket. In my first year, my finishing at the rim wasn't that good, but over the past two years it has been something me and the coaches on the Warriors staff have been working on, and it has gotten better each year.
VC: What part of your game do you need to improve on?
CJ: I think my ball handling could be better and something I could get really good at with more work.
VC: How was it playing Nellieball?
CJ: It was fun and frustrating at times, but I loved the way we played. It was fun to watch and it was even more exciting to play in that system.
VC: Do you prefer an uptempo offense, or half court sets better? Or does it not matter?
CJ: I prefer the uptempo offense, but it really doesn't matter to me. At some point, you are going to have to run a half court offense so you have to be good at both I think.
VC: You, yourself had a great season last year, and showed a lot of improvement, especially with that 40 point game. Tell us a little behind the work you put in, and what you did differently, if anything.
CJ: I don't think it was anything different I worked on during the season or during the summers, it was just all about confidence. Year after year, my confidence has grown being in the league and my contribution has grown too. I just want to keep that up and to continue to get better every year.
VC: How did it feel when you dropped 40 in a game last year? Were you in the Zone?
CJ: It was crazy. I actually could've had 50, but Coach Nellie took me out for like 10 minutes. We wont blame him though, lol. My shots were just falling that night, and I was being aggressive and attacking the basket.
VC: What did you do this offseason?
CJ: This off season I have been rehabbing a lot, and I have been making sure that my body is healthy. I've also been working on my shooting, dribbling, and 1 on 1 moves. Also I have been in the weight room trying to get stronger, because the East is different from the West in style and in terms of Basketball and the physical play.
VC: Do you train for the season, even during the summer? If so, how? Where?
CJ: Yes, I train in Vegas for the most part. I also go to Atlanta for 2 weeks every summer and workout there doing 2 a days to get ready for training camp.
VC: How did you first feel when you found out that you were traded to the Bulls?
CJ: I was excited! I knew about it a little bit before it happened, but I knew they were talking and trying to get something done. I just didn't want to jinx it and start thinking about it.
VC: What are you particularly looking forward to as a Bull next year?
CJ: Just enjoying the season, but most importantly winning. Hopefully we can get to the playoffs again and get out the first round
VC: Before becoming a Bull, what was your impression about the Bulls and Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah?
CJ: That they were a young, energetic team. They have always gotten better and better each year and I think that starts with DRose and Noah. Because as they continue to grow, the team does also.
VC: Were you a MJ/Pipp fan growing up?
CJ: Who wasn't? I was definitely a MJ and Pippen fan. I liked Pippen a little more, because he could do it all.
VC: What are your first impressions of Coach Tom T? John Paxson? GM Gar?
CJ: I like Coach. He seems like a great guy. He even looks like a defensive guy, so I know that's going to be always what he harps on. But I think we are going to do great things with him as our leader.
John and Gar are great too. Everyone in Chicago has welcomed me with open arms so I should be in good hands.
VC: Were you friends with any of the Bulls players before this season?
CJ: No, I wasn't. I only knew of them from watching them play or playing against them in the NBA.
VC: Ok, so let's change things up for a minute here. Tell us a little bit more in your own words if you can, about your Quiet Storm Foundation.
CJ: The Quiet Storm Foundation was started by my parents and I. The foundation has been going on for 2 years now. My vision was to give kids an opportunity and a positive outlook to keep them off the streets and to give them a chance to succeed in life. Just like someone gave me the opportunity when I was coming up myself.
VC: How did you come up with the idea and get it started?
CJ: I always wanted to give back to kids and the community, and it was always my goal to do so whenever I made it to the NBA. So now having the chance to do so, and to make another kids day and see them smile is all I do it for. I really want to give them an opportunity to succeed in life like I had the chance to.
VC: Is there a website for the Quiet Storm Foundation, so people can learn more about it?
VC: Who runs the Foundation for you when you are busy with the season?
CJ: My parents and a board team of members. They keep me updated, even if I can't make the meetings.
VC: Are there any Events coming up for it?
CJ: We just recently had a back to school event where we gave out backpacks and school supplies for the kids. We also had face painting and different activities for them to do for a few hours. It was a lot of fun.
VC: So let’s find out a little bit more about you now. Where did you grow up? Where did you play your High School Ball at?
CJ: I was born and raised in LV, Nevada. I played ball at Bishop Gorman High School.
VC: Why’d you pick Tennessee to play at over the other offers you had?
CJ: My choice was between UCLA and Tennessee. UCLA was my dream school and I love LA and California, but my family was from Tennessee and I had a better chance of playing early there. Also the coach at UCLA was about to get fired too, so I just decided to go to Tennessee.
VC: What’s your major at Tenn?
CJ: My major is Psychology. Two more classes, then I'll get my degree! I can't wait!
VC: Who is your agent and which Agency are you signed with right now?
CJ: My agents right now are Michael Higgins and derrick Powell
VC: What is the craziest fan story you have?
CJ: I don't really have one yet. I'm not that big yet, lol.
VC: What’s the rowdiest stadium here or in Europe you have ever played at?
CJ: I think Rome had to be the rowdiest fans that I have ever encountered.
VC: What is the rowdiest thing opposing fans ever did to heckle you guys there?
CJ: Throw pennies at you!
VC: Last but not least, we need to get to some personal/random questions in. Everyone gets these, so here goes…
VC: How would you describe your personality and character?
CJ: I'm very shy, reserved, and laid back.
VC: Is your personality the same on and off the court?
CJ: It's actually a mixture. On the court I try to be aggressive and cause some ruckus.
VC: I know a lot of athletes are superstitious. Are you a superstitious guy? Do you have any superstitions you follow during the season or on game day?
CJ: I try not to be, but I am. If I play a good game, I try to do everything I did the last day, just the same. Like take the same route to the gym , etc.
VC: I follow you on twitter, and we all know you love your twitter account! Tell us the truth, how often do you update it everyday? And do you write back to everyone? (CJ's twitter handle is Quietstorm_32, in case you aren't following him yet)
CJ: Lol, I don't write back to everyone, but I try to. I try to use twitter and facebook to keep in touch with friends thats I may not talk to everyday or family members I may not see often. It's also good to get people to know about different things I do with my foundation, so in essence, it's all fun.
VC: What are you doing when you are not on twitter? Are there other hobbies you have when you are not balling?
CJ: I like to spend time with my family and just relax. I like to go bowling and to play pool. I love to also site see and people watch too, it's funny.
VC: Do you think social media has changed the way that fans and athletes can interact now? Just a few years ago, this interview probably wouldn't have even happened. But because of things like twitter, we were able to get in touch.
CJ: Yea, it has for sure. You don't have to be the biggest athlete in your sport, but you can be just as big as anyone popularity wise if you interact with your fans and they love you. It also helps because people get to see you as a person and not just an athlete.
VC: Who would you say is the biggest influence and/or role model in your life?
CJ: My grandparents and my parents have had the biggest effect on me both on and off the court. They are my biggest supporters and biggest critics.
VC: Who were some of your inspirations growing up, on and off the court?
CJ: Martin Luther King, MJ, Magic Johnson
VC: Any opinions on the whole Lebron James “Decision”? And about the Miami Heat?
CJ: To tell you the truth, I didn't even get a chance to see it, I just heard about it after. I think that's his choice and it's not really my place tot say anything about it.
VC: What's on your Ipod right now?
CJ: Rick Ross, Fabolous, and Jasmine Sullivan. Just a little bit of everything.
VC: Tell us one other random fact about you that isn’t well known about yourself.
CJ: I'm a neat freak! I might have a disorder, lol.
VC: Lastly, I'm sure you have played vs. a lot of tight ballers in your life. Who would you say is the best player you ever faced on any level?
CJ: Lebron is probably the best player I have played against. I played against him in High School and to see him then and now is a shock.
VC: Thanks a ton for doing this interview with us CJ. Good luck this season for sure! And GO BULLS!
CJ: No problem, thanks a lot for taking the time out to have me...