The Wings will lose Malik Monk in 2016, but if the Real Deal in the Rock is any indication, they have an ideal candidate ready to step up.
Exavian Christon, a 6-foot-4 guard from Hot Springs (Arkansas), took home Most Valuable Player honors at 'The Rock', and he did it in emphatic fashion.
Dubbed with the nickname "Juice", a very appropriate alias for the playmaking guard, Christon looks ready to take on a good load of the scoring duties.
D1's Nate Bucsko caught up with the talented guard, impressing with terrific answers about his upcoming circuit with the WIngs.
Nate Bucsko: How was this past winter in high school ball, on a team and personal level?
Exavian Christon: This past season went great for us. We lost in the semifinals by one-point, but I feel that I grew a ton as a player, both mentally and physically. I added some different facets to my game this season. I improved my jumper a lot and made a lot better decisions on the floor. Mentally, I grew a lot as well as a leader and was more under control. For me, I always made it a point to be the best player on the floor on both ends.
NB: Take me through a typical game day for you. Do you have a specific routine, music you listen to, etc?
Christon: I wake up, take my dog out to get the blood flowing. I listen to some music to get my vibe right - Young Thug before anything competitive. I love Thug’s style. At about 2:30 p.m., I get in some extra shots and make sure my teammates and I are on the same page as far as the game plan. Then I head home to take a nap, listen to some music again, warm up.
NB: Have you talked to any former players or coaches about what to expect this season in the EYBL? What have you done to prepare mentally?
Christon: I talked to my coach, my dad, my mom about higher experience in basketball. They have helped me to really prepare for the EYBL season coming up, and my uncle set me up with a trainer every day of the week.
NB: What skill(s) do you hope to improve on most this spring and summer? What are you doing to make it happen in terms of training?
Christon: I want to improve on every aspect of my game, but shooting is, in my opinion, my biggest weakness right now. Just being more confident in my shot so that I don’t have to pass up open jumpers. I get up AT LEAST 500-600 shots a day, in addition to building the strength in my arms so that my shots are a little bit smoother.
NB: What are some of your early goals for the season, both personally and for Wings?
Christon: Team-wise, we want to get back to Peach Jam finals and win it all, because we were so close last year (Lost to Georgia Stars in 16U Championship). I want to be the best player on the floor on both ends for my team and step up as a leader.
Photo credit: Courtside Films
NB: Recruitment for you is heating up big time. As these coaches give you their best pitch, what do you specifically want out of a program to make your decision?
Christon: The main thing I am looking for in a program is where I can fit in the best, and I would say that it comes down to the type of guys in the program and the culture. I want to be around players who will make me better and work hard with me.
NB: What are some of the advantages of playing grassroots ball, especially in the EYBL, once high school basketball starts up again in the fall?
Christon: There is a HUGE difference between high school ball and playing in the EYBL. You are going against the best every single night in the EYBL, and you honestly can’t take a single play off or you will get eaten alive. I know guys who may be talented enough for the league, but they just don’t understand the mindset of playing and battling against the best every day. I feel that the biggest advantage it gives me is that aggressive, attacking mentality that I can’t take a single play off.
NB: Was there an “aha” moment when you first realized basketball could open doors for you?
Christon: In the seventh grade, I really started to realize that basketball was something I could pursue and that I wanted to pursue. I really felt that I dominated and was hooked from then on.
NB: Is there a player, college or pro, that you study more than others? Try to take aspects of their game?
Christon: Buddy Hield and Paul George. George especially, because he plays both ends of the floor. In fact, I would say that I would rather get a big stop on defense than a clutch bucket on the other end.
NB: Who is your biggest inspiration?
Christon: My biggest inspiration is my late grandmother. When I was young, she always used to tell me I could be anyone I wanted to be. She always instilled the holy part of my life. The way she carried herself really inspires me a lot to this day
NB: Once your career finally ends and you lace ‘em up one last time, have you thought at all about a career after ball?
Christon: I’ve thought a lot about sports medicine and physical therapy to be around sports and keep that competitiveness.
NB: I know most of your time is spent working on your game, but when you aren’t doing that, what are you doing?
Christon: When I’m not playing, I just like to kick back with friends and travel with family. Normal kid stuff really.