THE LEFT TURN

Five high-octane questions for Ryan Truex

Be sure to listen to the entire interview below. Photo by WikiCommons.

I am joined today by NASCAR Camping World Truck Series regular Ryan Truex. We talked a little bit about the 2021 season and how everything came together at Niece Motorsports. We also discussed last week's Bristol dirt race, his experience, and what races he looks forward to this year.

SportsMap: I am joined today by one of my favorite drivers in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Ryan how are you?

Ryan Truex: I'm great thanks for having me on!

SM: It's an honor to talk to you. I have been following you since your K&N East days and am glad to see you at Neice Motorsports!

RT: I appreciate it! It's been quite a journey, I am happy to still be doing it.

SM: It's been great to see you sign with Niece Motorsports. Talk a little bit about how that deal came together.

RT: Yeah, the big thing for me was I wanted to go back to racing full-time, and I figured this team would be a good fit for me. I talked to owner Al Niece about it, and they were willing to commit to it and my sponsors were willing to commit to it, so it was good to get a deal done early. Usually deals get done for me in January.

SM: So, I wanted to talk about that Bristol dirt race. What was your take on the race overall?

RT: Yeah, I had a lot of fun. It was really a big unknown for me, I didn't know how I would do. I have never raced dirt, so I really didn't know exactly what the track would do but luckily my spotter, Steve Reeves, is a champion sprint car driver, so he's been a big help with the track conditions. We really had a lot of issues with overheating and had to go to the back twice which really hurt us. And we ended up finishing twentieth but speed wise we had a really good truck, so I had a really good time and things look promising.

SM: Another big story that came to light yesterday was the announcement that NASCAR would be testing the rain tires at Martinsville. Do you think it would be possible to run rain tires on an oval?

RT: It's definitely possible. It just depends on what kind of race you would want to see. If you gotta go out there, and you're going 70 miles and hour and nobody can pass anybody, then I think you can do it anywhere. But that's not really a good show for the fans, but I think Martinsville is flat enough to where they can get it done.

SM: This 2021 truck series schedule is very diverse with many varieties of tracks, is there a race you guys have circled that you look forward to going to?

RT: Well our big focus is the mile and a half stuff as that's the bulk of our schedule and I felt like we had some work to do on those tracks speed wise and handling wise, so that's really been our big focus.

You can hear the rest of the interview below:


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The Rockets selected Jalen Green with the No. 2 pick. Photo by Arturo Holmes/Getty Images.

The city of Houston can finally rejoice as Jalen Green was selected as the number two pick by the Rockets at the 2021 NBA Draft. It was already suspected that the Rockets would draft Green from past reports. Shams Charania of The Athletic already reported that the Rockets narrowed their decision down to Green.

Green is an explosive shooting guard that can get in-and-out amongst the perimeter and paint. With the G-League Ignite, he averaged 17.9 points, 2.8 assists, and 1.5 steals per game. He is an excellent free throw shooter at 82.9 percent. Like James Harden, he is incredibly good at getting to the free throw line. Green has a good trigger from three by shooting 36.5 percent on 5.7 attempts a game. His mature status since high school has prepared him for the NBA.

"His down-hill playmaking is really hard to guard", as Joey Fucca, his ex-coach told TDS. "If he says he's going to get to the rim, good luck. He is very good at getting to the free throw line, he is also very explosive to finish above the rim. When his three ball is on, you're just going to have a long night. I wouldn't be excited to guard him."

Green has blistering speed with outstanding handles to blow by his defenders and score. Spectators have compared Green to a younger Kobe Bryant, Tracy McGrady, Bradley Beal, and Zach Lavine, which are superstar players. He is a particularly good midrange shooter underneath the perimeter, as he shot 35 percent on a small quantity of attempts in a shorter season.

"Jalen is a uniquely blessed guy. He's a transcendent athlete," as Rockets GM Rafael Stone said. "He can handle the ball, and he can shoot. Normally, people that athletic aren't as skilled. We think that combination of tools makes him an extraordinarily exciting prospect."

During his press conference on Thursday night, Green emphasized the achievements he wants to accomplish with the Rockets. Green even discussed his desire of being a better defender, as he wants to continue to get better. He has a great wingspan and lateral movement to stay with opposing players on defense and be disruptive in the passing lanes.

"They're going to say it's a great choice," Green said. "Rookie of the Year, All-Star, All-Defense, max contract. We're doing it big."

"Yeah, I think I can be that piece. I think I'm going to bring that dominant mentality, that defensive mindset…They already got a lot of star players"

As the draft continued, the Rockets sent future draft picks from the Wizards to land the 16th pick in the draft, which was 6'10 Alperen Sengun from Turkey. The 16th pick did belong to the Oklahoma City Thunder until Rafael Stone executed an interesting deal with Sam Presti.

"We did not think he would fall to us at 23, so we were really aggressive to try and move up all throughout the first round to acquire him," as Stone said.

Sengun's abilities on the court revolve around his post ups and skillful passing. He even maintains good feet along the baseline. In his press conference, he mentioned his passing skills can become better. There are clips of him looking impressive on shovel passes, passing the ball behind his back, and finding the cutting man towards the basket. Sengun looked good in double teams by showing he can still find the open man with his back turned.

While playing in the Turkish Super League, Sengun was an MVP at 18-years-old, averaged 19.2 points, 9.4 rebounds, 2.5 assist, 1.7 blocks, and 1.3 steals per game. He could be another huge figure next to Christian Wood on the court, and a safety blanket for the Rockets if they cannot bring back Kelly Olynyk.

Usman Garbua is similar to former Rocket Luc Mbah a Moute. He is 6'8 with a tremendous wingspan at 7'3 and can guard anyone on the court, which is 1-5. Garbua was seen guarding Kevin Durant in the Team USA vs. Spain matchup and had interesting battles. The Rockets will get a ton of energy out of the 19-year-old player. He knows how to run the floor in transition, so he can finish around the rim. As I see it, he could be on a defensive first team in the future as he matures more. Garbua will become a defensive nightmare against opposing players.

"I think he's the best defender in the world outside of the NBA, and he's just 19 years old," Stone said. "I think he potentially could be really, really impactful on that side of the ball."

As the Rockets made their last selection, they selected Green's AAU buddy, Josh Christopher from Arizona State. He impressed a ton of scouts during his draft workouts and scrimmage against other prospects. Christopher had a double-double during his third scrimmage, which was 16 points and 10 rebounds. He is a very shifty guard with a ferocious step back.

While playing with the Sun Devils, he averaged 14.3 points per game and shot 49 percent from the field. Just like Green, he loved the midrange opportunities, as he shot 49.6 percent underneath the perimeter. He is another shifty big body the Rockets will have in their back court at 6'5. Christopher is very good at rebounding and playing defense. Stone loves watching him in defensive one-on-one situations. Christopher has Sixth Man of the Year written all over him because of his stocky body type and upside.

Hopefully, the Rockets have an exciting summer league and training camp along with their season.

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