Key takeaways from new Alperen Sengun podcast with Paul George

On “Podcast P with Paul George,” the veteran Clippers star has often shown an affinity for rising star Alperen Sengun — now in his third NBA season as a center for the Houston Rockets.

In mid-November, Sengun and the Rockets were in Los Angeles for a game against George and the Clippers. While there, it appears Sengun stopped by George’s studio for an in-person chat.

On Monday, George dropped an hour-long podcast interview featuring a wide range insights from Sengun. From the episode description, presented by Wave Sports + Entertainment:

In this week’s episode, Alperen Şengün talks about his unique free-throw routine and the decision he made at age 18 to leave Turkey and join the NBA. Alperen also discussed how losing affected his mindset during his first two seasons in Houston.

He emphasized the positive impact that the first-year Rockets head coach Ime Udoka and teammate Dillon Brooks have had on the team’s overall mindset, since their arrival.

Finally, he shares his experience working out with Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon, his personal goals this season, and picks his GOAT [greatest of all-time] international player starting lineup.

Here’s our look at key takeaways and interview observations, which included several tidbits that were not previously known.

Alperen Sengun on his height

Alperen Sengun’s all-time international lineup

Alperen Sengun on 2021 draft night

No, I didn’t know [I was going to be traded], actually. It was like, everyone is talking about [the] draft who’s going to go this pick, this pick. I expected that I was going to go before 10. It was like Orlando, Sacramento, eight, nine.

We passed that and they said Washington, and Charlotte, were other teams… but I knew they [are] not going to pick me, because I did not work out with them. I didn’t even work out with Houston, actually. My agent was telling me all the time they calling me for you, they want to learn what you do, they calling everybody, you know? I was getting bored because I was getting nervous because they’re not gonna pick me, you know. I was going [to be a] high pick, I didn’t want that.

Actually, I didn’t want to go to OKC that much. How I can say… my OKC workout was, like, maybe somewhat my worst workout since coming here. It was really so hard. My agent was in my table saying you’re going to go to OKC, but they’re going to trade you to Houston. I don’t even know anything about Houston, because I didn’t even talk to them. But they were telling me [that] OKC is so boring, I hope you’re not going there.

When they told me you going to Houston, I was happy because there’s something to do over there, people said. I was lucky, a lot of Turkish people were there, too, which has helped me a lot.

Alperen Sengun on Jalen Green

Alperen Sengun on moving to the NBA

Alperen Sengun on Oklahoma City

Alperen Sengun on his goals

Alperen Sengun on free-throw routine

That routine started a couple of years ago. I was talking to [the ball] all the time… I’m not going to tell the world [what I say]… but I’m just talking to the ball, nicely, and spinning it like this. If it’s not getting in, I’m talking bad next time. I’m talking shit next time. … When I was playing in Turkey my last year, my free throw percentage was like 85-86, something like that. I just didn’t want to change it. Right now it’s not doing real well, like 65 or something, but I just don’t want to change it.

Alperen Sengun on relationship with Nikola Jokic

You know, Jokic is not social media guy, he care about basketball and family. But he’s great guy and European. I can say all European bigs and other players so close to each other. … After the game, he’s coming up to me, saying ‘good job, great job, keep it up.’

All this great stuff, it’s great for me. I’m not, like, trying to play like him… but you know, our games are similar.

Alperen Sengun on working out with Hakeem Olajuwon

Alperen Sengun, Paul George on Dillon Brooks

Alperen Sengun on former Rockets star James Harden

Alperen Sengun on new coach Ime Udoka

He’s great, off the court and on the court. He’s not that old, you know, he’s young. He’s acting like a player still. I can see the biggest part is he’s so professional. On the court, he knows what we’re gonna do off the court, like having fun with us, laughing with us, doing everything.

He’s not going to lie to your face, which I like, because I grew up in Europe and… if you guys know, Europe is tough. Like I said, the biggest part right now is being professional. … He brings a lot of things. I can say he even brings happiness to us.

Alperen Sengun on learning English

Alperen Sengun focused on winning

Paul George on Alperen Sengun’s spin move

Alperen Sengun on Rockets’ culture change

KJ Martin welcomes Alperen Sengun to NBA

After I got drafted, before summer league, we were working out with the team, and KJ dunked on me in practice. I used to get every shot in Turkey, I was the block leader… but I gave him space. I didn’t know who KJ was before I came into the NBA and I gave him space so I could jump with him, and he went too fast… and I was a little late, and he dunked on me. I didn’t even see it, I just fell.

Alperen Sengun on Houston’s transition to winning

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Story originally appeared on Rockets Wire