Gradey Dick talks family, desire to work and Fred VanVleet

On Monday, Grady Dick moved his father to tears.

The Toronto Raptors’ rookie sharpshooter, who was selected 13th overall in last Thursday’s NBA Draft, visited his new basketball home over the weekend after a morning workout at the team’s practice facility with head coach Darko Rajakovic. It was heavily criticized by the press.

Dick, 19, was asked if he had a lot of contact with Raptors guard Fred VanVleet, who played for the Wichita State Shockers during college in his hometown.

He said he first met VanVleet when he was young, working at his school’s summer camp. The last memento he glanced at as he left his bedroom, he added, was a poster-sized enlargement of a newspaper article about VanVleet with the headline “Undrafted.” This was a gift from his father.

The story resonated with Dick’s father, who wanted his son to be motivated by VanVleet’s basketball journey.

“He’s getting a little emotional,” Dick, 19, said with a smile, pointing to his father, Bart.

Dick left few questions about how important family was to him. The confident teenager, who stands 6-foot-8 and weighs 205 pounds, credits Bart with his on-court demeanor, the importance of body language and other technical achievements.

But Dick also admires his mother, Carmen, who is 6-foot-3, for her shooting prowess. She was Iowa State’s Women’s Athlete of the Year in 1989 and still holds the school records for her second career shot percentage and number of free throws made in a game.

The Raptors’ new guard and forward also noted how much he’s learned from watching his brothers Riley and Brody and sister Kelsey on and off the court.

“We are a close-knit family,” Dick said.

Dick got a lot of attention when he took the stage on draft night in a red sequined jacket. She explained that the costume is a tribute to Kansas’ most famous fictional characters, Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz and her Red Shoes.

Grady Dick poses for a picture with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver after being selected 13th overall by the Toronto Raptors during the NBA Basketball Draft, Thursday, June 22, 2023, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

He also revealed that he enjoyed wearing a bright ensemble.

“I could have done something a little more crazy,” Dick said. “We toned it down a bit, but it still sounded pretty loud.”

On Monday, he announced that he would tone down his style, wearing a beige pinstripe suit and a white T-shirt and wear number 1 in Toronto. He wore No. 1 jersey at Sunrise Christian Academy, but wore No. 4 jersey during his one-and-done season at the University of Kansas. Because his junior guard, Joseph Yessuf, already had the number 1 jersey.

Dick and his family arrived in Toronto Friday night to get acquainted with the city.

On Sunday, he attended a Toronto Blue Jays game and enjoyed the quick high-fives and “Welcome to Toronto” from fans across the city to the young players.

“I think it was a big hit to be here,” he said.

Dick’s 3-point shooting and basketball IQ drew him to the Raptors.

This fact is evident in his opinion about the game. For example, he believes Larry Bird and Stephen Curry were two of the best snipers in the game’s history.

Dick also likes studying the skills of Basketball Hall of Famer Reggie Miller and Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson and Curry, and continues to work on his craft.

Dick hopes to improve his conditioning this summer. Because he feels that the best shooters in the game are at their best at exhausting opposing defenders.

He’s also open-minded about his role with the Raptors this fall.

“Confidence comes from preparation,” he said.

“I just want to be a man who does the role perfectly.”

This report by the Canadian Press Agency was first published on June 26, 2023.

First round draft pick Grady Dick of the Toronto Raptors wears a jersey for a photo after being introduced to the media in Toronto Monday, June 26, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Lahodynskyj

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