Matas Buzelis on G League Ignite season: "To grow you have to go through struggles"

NBA Draft Analyst Krysten Peek sits down G League Ignite forward Matas Buzelis at the Panini VIP Prism Lounge during All-Star Weekend to discuss the difficult season the Ignite have had and his growth as a prospect.

Video Transcript

KRYSTEN PEEK: I'm Krysten Peek with Yahoo Sports here with Matas Buzelis, G League Ignite. We're here at All-Star Weekend.

Matas, you're not even in the NBA yet. But before we get to that, we're at the Panini Prizm VIP Lounge. What's it like to be here at All-Star and partnering with Panini?

MATAS BUZELIS: Means a lot to me. It's a blessing, of course, to have them, you know, as one of my close, you know, friends and family. And it's awesome to see my face on a card, so--

KRYSTEN PEEK: Yeah. Like I said, I mean, you haven't even hit the NBA yet, and your face is already on a trading card.


KRYSTEN PEEK: What does that mean to you?

MATAS BUZELIS: It means a lot. I've been dreaming about this since a young age, so it means a lot, for sure.

KRYSTEN PEEK: Prior to the draft here with the G League Ignite this year, how has this whole season been going? I know there's been some growing pains, but how have you seen growth as a player?

MATAS BUZELIS: I mean, to-- to grow, you got to go through struggles. So we've been-- it's been a roller coaster of a season, but you know, all of our-- all of our coaches, you know, they believe in us. Our vets believe in us. And you know, we just keep on getting better every day.

KRYSTEN PEEK: OK. You're here for All-Star Rising Stars Game playing against guys that have already spent one or two years in the NBA and holding your own.


KRYSTEN PEEK: What sort of confidence does that give you going into the NBA next year?

MATAS BUZELIS: It gives me confidence for-- for sure. But you know, I'm still-- you know, I haven't achieved anything, so I still got to work. But it's good to just see and compare, you know, how close I am to those guys and, you know, how far I am.

KRYSTEN PEEK: Playing against Wemby and Chet last night, what was that like? I mean, they're-- you-- you are tall, you are long, but they take that to a whole 'nother level.

MATAS BUZELIS: Yeah. It's a little different when they're in the paint, you know. They're-- they can block shots so easily. They're both leading the NBA in blocks. But I take it as a challenge, and I love challenges.

KRYSTEN PEEK: And with this draft class, do you pay attention at all to anybody else that's either playing in college or overseas in just kind of your draft range? Do you watch college basketball or keep track of any of the guys that you might have known in high school?

MATAS BUZELIS: I don't really watch much college basketball since I'm a pro now, so I try to watch the pro-- pro game more. But you know, the draft-- the draft stuff, it's-- you know, it's always going to be there. It's going to pop up, you know, sometime when you're looking through, like, social media and stuff.

But I try not to look at it. You know, I'm trying to just improve as a player just myself, so--

KRYSTEN PEEK: All right. And for the rest of the remaining G League season, what are you hoping to show NBA scouts that are coming out to your game and keeping tabs on you?

MATAS BUZELIS: Just trying to show that I've improved throughout the season. Show, like, you know, I can shoot, I can dribble, do everything. Vers-- you know, versatility for me. And just show, like, consistency.

KRYSTEN PEEK: Yeah. All right, Matas. Well, thank you so much for the time, and good luck the rest of the season.