On Proving Himself…
LN: After Summer League and workouts, did you see room for improvement this summer and how you have worked on that area now?
GS: The main thing for me has been the level of activity I have on the court. I need to improve my second and third efforts in rebounding and shot blocking. I also have tried to improve offensive post moves. A lot of coaches have been helping me and guiding me to improve me in these areas. All in all, I’ve seen an overall change because I’ve been working really hard. Other people seem to notice as well.
LN: Training camp has started for you. Can you tell me about your first few days?
GS: It was a shock. Everything started with the fast pace of the media on Monday’s Media Day. I saw a whole other side to basketball which was the glamor of the game and the attention we all get with the media. I mean, there was a red carpet on Monday. And then the next day, Tuesday, was practice; back to work. It was interesting to see the attitude of everyone and how it changed back to this focus. The players, the coaches, the staff have all been explicit on saying this year’s goal is a championship. Everything has been really thrilling.
LN: Where are you going to stand out above the rest of the guys trying for that last roster spot?
GS: I will keep working hard like I have been and try to show my up sides. I want to show the coaches that I can really help the team, especially defensively.
LN: How has the competition been with the other players?
GS: Friendly. It is always friendly competition between the guys who are on the verge of making the team. Overall, I’ve been in a supportive environment while still being competitive.
LN: Do you notice one guy being more competition than the others?
GS: Sacre, mainly because we play the same position. It really depends on what the coaches are looking for.
LN: Give me one thing that you can bring to the table that the others can’t.
GS: Well, I am 7’3’’. So shot-blocking, for sure.
LN: How do you stay motivated?
GS: Simple. I look down at chest and see the Lakers name on there and it makes me remember why I am here and what I am trying to do. I get reminded that I want to be a part of this. It’s a dream for me and I will do whatever I can to accomplish that dream.
LN: What do you expect from the rest of this training camp?
GS: It’s going to be a great experience, and a lot of learning for me. I just look forward to the whole experience, as it’s something a lot of people don’t get to do.
On Basketball In General…
LN: So, you are from Hungary, correct? How long have you been in the U.S.?
GS: Yes, I am from Hungary. I have been in US for six years now; two years of high school here and four years of college at UCSB.
LN: Who do you think is the Lakers biggest competition this year?
GS: Obviously Miami and OKC come to mind.
LN: Which NBA star would you most like to defend?
GS: Tim Duncan of the Spurs so I can learn some moves. He has an interesting game.
LN: Who do you predict to get MVP after this 2012-2013 in the NBA?
GS: No idea. There is great talent this coming year.
LN: How about who you think will win the championship?
GS: Of course it’s going to be the Lakers.
LN: Let’s end this interview on something fun. Can you tell the Lakers Nation readers one thing about yourself that no one knows?
GS: Well, if I tell you, then you are going to know. *Laughs* My favorite TV show is The Bachelor and Bachelorette. I watch it with my fiancé.
LN: Perfect. Thanks for taking the time to chat with us.
GS: No problem. Thank you, too.
Knowing Greg was from Hungary, I expected this interview to be difficult. But I must say, Greg is one of the more intelligent basketball players I have met. Not only is he book smart, he has street smarts and wit that seems to be uncommon in today’s modern athlete.
Well-versed, and clearly well educated, it wasn’t surprising that Somogyi had all his ducks in a row. Humbled by his Lakers experience, Greg has been working on himself to be the player the Lakers need. Not stubborn, he prides himself on his room to grow and mold. And that is a great quality to have.
You look at Somogyi and directly see the difference between him and the other three hopefuls; he’s 7’3”. That translates to defensive and offensive benefits that are easier with height; dunking, shot-blocking, and rebounding. As a probable relief player, he’s beneficial to the other big men in times where they may need a rest. The 30 seconds to a minute of play time he will get a game will be full of energy, drive, and hard work -values Somogyi prides himself in emulating.
All in all, Greg brings a basketball intelligence and a defensive prowess the Lakers need. It’s hard to come by men who back away from the lime light, in something like a high PPG (points per game) in favor of being a defensive gift. But Greg isn’t expecting to be the star or play many minutes; all he wants to do is help the Lakers team. And that’s okay with me.