Marcus Zegarowski Q&A: 'I truly believe I'm the best PG in the draft'

Marcus Zegarowski Q&A: 'I truly believe I'm the best PG in the draft'

After shining at Creighton, Marcus Zegarowski proved that he belongs on an NBA roster. 

The All-Big-East First-Team selection averaged 15.8 points, 4.3 assists, 3.6 rebounds, 2.8 threes and 1.3 steals while shooting 46.4% from the field and 42.1% from three. The 22-year-old shot above 42% from three-point range in each of his three collegiate seasons. 

Our Senior NBA Draft Analyst Matt Babcock has Zegarowski going No. 51 to the New Orleans Pelicans in our latest 2021 mock draft.

Babcock’s scouting breakdown of Zegarowski reads: “Although a bit undersized at 6-foot-1, Marcus Zegarowski excels as a facilitator, playmaker, and shooter. He connected on 42.1% of his three-point attempts this season, while attempting 6.6 per game. He's reliable as a pull-up shooter and is solid as a lead ball-handling facilitator. The former Creighton Bluejay has potential to serve as a solid backup point guard at the next level.”

Throughout the pre-draft process, he has worked out for the Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Charlotte Hornets, Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Lakers, Milwaukee Bucks, New York Knicks and Toronto Raptors among others. caught up with Zegarowski to discuss his game, the advice he's received from his older brother (Michael Carter-Williams), his pre-draft experience, his off-court interests and more.

Who were some players you grew up watching and studying?
Zegarowski: Growing up I've always watched, obviously, my brother Michael [Carter-Williams]. He's someone I've always watched and just learned from. I just followed him around all the time when I was younger. I know we're different players, but we're from the same fabric, so we have some similarities as well. Our mindset towards the game I took from him -- just stuff like that. I also like Steve Nash, Tony Parker, Chris Paul -- those are some guys I grew up watching, and found a love for the game because of them. And then now, Fred VanVleet I watched a lot of, [and] Kemba Walker. I try to take bits and pieces from every point guard because I can always learn and get better at it.
Has Carter-Williams been able to give you advice since he's been through the process?
Zegarowski: Yeah, having him go through high school into college, I kind of learned at a young age that that's what it takes to get there. I just saw his work ethic every day, I saw the sacrifices that he made and tried to literally copy what he did and just try and work even harder. I happened to achieve some things that he's achieved in his career, so it's just a blessing to even do that.
What are some areas of your game that you want to continue to improve?
Zegarowski: I want to continue to improve on, obviously, everything. I feel like I'm not perfect at anything, and I'll never be perfect at anything, so improving on everything is something I need to do at the next level. But specifically, probably just my athleticism, my pace and just getting to my spots early in offense. Defensively, I can get better at being able to guard multiple positions, being able to pick up full-court and change the dynamic of the game.
Are there any misconceptions about your game that you're hoping to disprove throughout this process?
Zegarowski: I think I'm really underrated and I think a lot of people just doubt me. That's how I've always been my whole career... and I've always proved people wrong. That's just how my career has gone through high school [and] through college. It's the easy road to say I'm not as good as people think I am, so I'm excited to prove those people wrong, and I just want to continue to work and just continue to showcase what I can do.
How do you feel like your game fits in today's NBA?
Zegarowski: I think it fits really well. I think I can shoot the ball. I can stretch the defense. I think I play fast, I play with pace, and I'm an unselfish guy who's gonna make players around him better; I'm going to get guys to where they want to get to and I'm just going to be a winning player. I've always won at every level and I just impact winning. Great team guy, I'll do whatever the team needs me to do, I really think today's game is perfect for me. I think just how fast it is, how many possessions in the game -- that's how we played at Creighton, that's how I like to play, and I'm excited to hopefully get to that.
What's the best piece of advice you've ever been given?
Zegarowski: That's a tough question because I've had a lot of great people [give me advice], including just my family -- my parents and my older brother, Michael. They just tell me, just keep working hard. Don't let a good game or a bad game dictate how you feel. Try to stay level-headed. From Michael, it's just always: love the basketball game. He's always just told me, like, once you get to this level, it's going to be different than just playing. There's more to it -- there's business, there's politics, you can be traded. There's all different dynamics that are in this league, so you just got to continue to love the game the same way you loved it when you were little, and good things will happen. He gives me a lot of advice, but that's one thing that really sticks out.
In your bio at Creighton, it says your first trophy was in football. Did you play a lot when you were young? Were you a multi-sport athlete?
Zegarowski: I played baseball, soccer, football and basketball until, like, fourth grade, but then once fourth grade hit, I just played football and basketball up until eighth grade. In high school, I didn't play football. Growing up, I used to like football more than basketball. That was one of my first loves. I just liked it more -- I was more of a football guy growing up. But as high school came around, with my body type, my parents didn't want me to play football, so I just took to basketball. I obviously love it more -- it's a sport that fits me.
Your bio also said you were a journalism major at Creighton. Has that knowledge helped you during the process with interviews and talking to teams?
Zegarowski: Yeah, 100%. That was one of the reasons why I wanted to take journalism, was to be more prepared in this field, being able to articulate, being able to speak well, have manners and just be advanced in that area, because it'll take you a long way. Originally, I wanted to take Communications, but Creighton didn't have that. So, I took classes that would kind of equal that. I took PR classes, I took broadcasting classes, I took interview classes, I took all kinds of different classes, so it was really good. I had a lot of great professors there that definitely helped me.
After you finish your career, would you want to work in media?
Zegarowski: That's definitely something I want to do down the line. And for me, it was something that I was afraid of. I used to hate speaking, I used to hate writing, and it was something I just wanted to get better at. I used to stutter a little bit growing up, and I just wanted to be able to kind of face that fear. Taking those classes really helped me grow in that area. Definitely down the line -- I don't know what I want to do yet, but obviously I know I want to be a player, and then once the ball stops bouncing, hopefully I'll either be in that, or coaching, or anything involving a basketball. But yeah, media definitely appeals to me.
When did you get into boxing and UFC?
Zegarowski: I kinda got the love for it from my dad and my older brother. Usually what they like, I usually like. I just remember them always watching boxing and UFC, and once I got to high school, I started to really fall in love with it. I just loved those two sports, especially UFC. I watch every fight that's on pay-per-view. I actually had tickets to the [Conor] McGregor fight, but I couldn't go because, obviously, I had the pre-draft training and I had workouts. I didn't want to mess up my schedule. But I just love the sport. I take a lot from it. I learn from a lot of those athletes. It's just cool to see how hard they work and how much they believe in themselves, and how they talk a lot of crap and then back it up. The mental aspect of it really appeals to me, and I kind of carry it over to basketball.
I saw that you write left-handed. Are you ambidextrous?
Zegarowski: Yeah, I really do everything left-handed. I'm holding my phone right now with my left hand.
Has it helped you from a basketball standpoint, being comfortable with both hands?
Zegarowski: It definitely does help me a lot. Growing up, people used to force me left, then after a little bit, they'll see that I'm a lefty. I like going left. If you watch me play basketball, I can dribble more on my left hand and I can pass better off the dribble with my left hand, just stuff like that. It definitely gives me an advantage, that I can finish as good with my left hand as my right hand. Some days I'm like, "Man, I wish my right hand was a little bit better..." I actually work on my right hand more often than my left hand when I'm dribbling and stuff like that. I like it; it's good to have.
If an NBA general manager asked you why they should draft you, what would you tell them?
Zegarowski: If you want to win, then take me. I feel like I can do anything on that court. I can score, I can facilitate, [and] I can lock down on defense. I can do whatever the team needs me to do and I'm just going to impact winning. I'm just going to figure out what I need to do on the team, I'm going to earn everything I got, and then I'm just going to try and win as many ball games as possible. At the end of day, I just want to win, and I think your best chance is [if] you're going to take me, because I truly believe I'm the best point guard in the draft.
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