Wolters: “When you do what Saras says, you’ll have success on the court” 0
It didn’t take long for Zalgiris’ main point guard Nate Wolters to become an imperative part of Sarunas Jasikevicius’ system. In an exclusive interview with Zalgiris TV, Wolters looked back at the beginning of his basketball career in the small town of Saint Cloud, Minnesota.
Wolters took up basketball at a very young age, picking up his father’s favorite sport. He didn’t have too much hopes of becoming an NBA player up until his latter years in the University of South Dakota, though.
“Growing up I never really thought that it was even a possibility to play in the NBA. I just wanted to play college basketball at some level, despite being lightly recruited. After my junior year, scouts started coming to almost every game and I had a lot of buzz around me. Our team was going to be good. It was a fun senior year and after that I thought I had a pretty good shot at being drafted.”
Wolters ended up being drafted by the Washington Wizards with the 38th pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. Eventually, after several draft-day trades, he ended up making his NBA debut for the Milwaukee Bucks.
“As a rookie you’re just looking for a chance and an opportunity to play, especially if you’re a second round pick. Sometimes you don’t even get that. I had a really good chance early on, as we had a lot of injuries and the team wasn’t doing so well, so they tried to play a lot of the younger guys. I think I had a good rookie season.”
After two seasons in the league, Wolters went on to play overseas for the first time, joining Besiktas in Istanbul. Later on, he had stops in Belgrade, playing for Crvena Zvezda, and a stretch of a season playing in France. After receiving an offer from Zalgiris, he jumped on the opportunity to play for Sarunas Jasikevicius.
“Obviously, I knew that their coach was incredible and they had a great year last season, so I was pretty familiar and knew it was going to be a good situation. Right when they showed interest, I was very happy. I reached out to Aaron White and he said nothing but great things about the organization. I knew Brandon Davies from before, too. Even before asking them, I kind of knew that it was going to be a good place to be.”
After a slower-than-expected start, Wolters has become a key instrument in the offense, averaging 14.3 points and 5.6 assists in the EuroLeague, making him one of the top playmakers in the league.
“The point guard is a really important position. When things aren’t going well, usually it’s because you’re not doing well. Saras is a really smart coach and I’m just trying to learn from him, trying to do what he says. Usually, when you do what he says, you’ll have success on the court.”