Collin Sexton is making himself at home. At a Strongsville gym in mid- August, the Cavaliers’ first-round pick in the 2018 NBA Draft is beaming. In photos with young players at the Cavs Academy summer basketball camp, he strikes the viral #YoungBullChallenge pose which mimics his outstretched defensive stance. “Growing up, you always want that one player to come back and show some love and take pictures. Just take the time out, shake a hand and just talk to you,” says the 19-year-old point guard. The Cavs may be Kevin Love’s team when the season tips off Oct. 17, but in Sexton, already a projected Rookie of the Year contender, the team gets a youthful and crafty counterpunch. After camp, we chatted with Sexton about the upcoming season, his favorite player as a kid and his unique pregame snack.
CM: After LeBron James left, the Cavs signaled an intention to compete now, rather than bottom out, by doubling down on Kevin Love. As a rookie, what is your role on the 2018-19 Cavaliers?
CS: We have goals set as a team that we want to reach and try to accomplish no matter what the odds are. [My role is] just coming in and learning and being the best player I can be. Just bringing the team together and being a leader.
CM: What are you looking forward to this season?
CS: Playing against all of the good guards out there, just seeing where I compare and how I match up against those guys. Can’t wait. Can’t wait for the season. Can’t wait to get together with the guys and just build that camaraderie and that chemistry.
CM: Who was your favorite player growing up?
CS: Allen Iverson. He had a basketball camp. Me and my brother went, and he took the time out and signed [our] jerseys. I just like the swagger he played with, the passion he played with. Just the heart, because when he was out there, you knew he was going to give it his all, no matter what.
CM: Is it true that you eat Skittles before every game?
CS: Yeah, before every game I eat Skittles. It just gets my blood flowing, and it tastes good.
CM: Does anyone try to get you to stop?
CS: No, they tell me to do me. Whatever is going to get me out there and get me playing at my best.
CM: Do you have any other pregame rituals?
CS: I do, but I don’t tell.