Why Raptors' Jeff Dowtin Jr. hates being scored on
Raptors guard Jeff Dowtin Jr discusses his defensive identity and the roots of his laser focus and knack for making the right plays when he's on the floor. Listen to the full segment on the 'Raptors Over Everything' podcast feed or watch on our YouTube.
- Why do you hate being scored on so much? Why does it bother you? It seems like it hits you right in the core of your heart when you get scored on. I see you on the court sometimes, and someone scores on you. It happens in the NBA. And it's like you just want to stomp your foot when that happens.
JEFF DOWTIN JR: Yeah, no, it definitely happens. I mean, it's hard to stop somebody from scoring on you. But just for me, I've always been the type to just dislike when people are scoring on me. And I take pride in defense, being able to stop the next guy in front of you. And I think that goes a long way with basketball. If you can stop the other team from scoring, then you can find a spot for you on the court any time.
- So going back to your high school days, and your coach, it was Devin Williams, right, was your coach?
JEFF DOWTIN JR: That was my coach.
- Yeah. I was listening to some clips from the photo that I showed you, and they were saying things like, this guy is a floor general. He's a talker on defense. He's a true leader, a born leader. So these are all characteristics that we're seeing on the court now. So where did that come from? You're young in those days. But you're already gaining those valuable aspects of basketball.
JEFF DOWTIN JR: Yeah. Probably just I was just born with that at the end of the day. You know, I always had a knack for playing basketball, for being so calm and collected on the court, just being that point guard, getting my teammates to their open spots, making sure they're comfortable on the court as well. And I think that's just how my game was when I was little, and it just slowly evolved, like I said, just having more confidence in myself, just being able to be that leader and distributor on the court.
- Do you consider yourself a very focused person?
JEFF DOWTIN JR: No, definitely. And when I step on the court, I'm 100% locked in at the task at hand, which is winning this ballgame, helping my guys become better basketball players on the court, instilling confidence in them, making sure those guys are locked in as well. I think for me, it's just all about just staying focused off the whole game.
- Again, where does that come from? Because that is-- that's not something that I think you can necessarily gain, or maybe you developed your focus over time. But it seems like this is just part of who you are as a person. Did it come from your mom and dad? Or was there anything that entails this ability of yours? Because I see, like as soon as you step on the court, it's like you just lock into something.
JEFF DOWTIN JR: No, definitely. I would definitely say it's family-oriented, coming from a strong family. We've always been focused and locked in on anything that we go through. And I think it just crosses over to the basketball court, like you said, just being locked in, just being focused. When I step on the court, it's time to play. It's time to get going, so just staying locked in at all times.
- So you go down to the G League every once in a while. And then you drop 20 and 8, and then you come up to the Raptors. Well, I mean, it's kind of what your numbers are when you're in the G League. And then you come up here, and obviously your role is very different. What goes into changing that mindset of in here, in the G League, this is my role. But up here, this is what I got to do to help my team win.
JEFF DOWTIN JR: Yeah, just honestly, just finding your niche. In the G League, I'm just being able to score a lot more. A lot more opportunities come in. Coaches have asked me to just be aggressive, but continue to play my game at the end of the day and just find my spots, find my niche throughout the course of the game, and then just coming up here, just kind of similar things, doing that same thing, but as well as getting these guys more open looks, getting these guys more open shots, being a pest on the defensive end, and just finding ways to stay on the court.