The last eight months have been somewhat of a whirlwind for Saddiq Bey.
The Detroit Pistons made a few deals ahead of the 2020 NBA Draft some so that they could select the 22-year-old with the 19th overall pick. He earned the Eastern Conference Player of the Week in February after making all seven three-point attempts during the Pistons win over the Boston Celtics.
By the end of his rookie season, he led all first-year players in three-pointers made. He earned All-Rookie First Team honors in June. USA Basketball named him to the Select Team in July, where he would get the chance to will train daily and scrimmage with the USA National Team.
Now he’s ready to take some of those lessons with him into his second season with the Pistons. Detroit just wrapped up its trip to Las Vegas for the MGM Summer League and ahead of the team’s final game, Bey checked in to talk about his style, alternate career aspirations and his summer.
To start off, what sparked the change with your haircut? I remember you had longer hair, and now you’ve got that kind of like stripe at the front.
The past years I usually change my hair like every year. I just want to have a different cut. So if you see me like, year by year, since high school, my hair is usually a little different so I kind of just want to switch it up
And with the blonde or, I guess, light brown, you kind of wanted to add a little, I guess spice to it?
I kind of ran out of haircuts, so I’m like, you know, let me just try it out and see what it looks like. You know I can’t experiment too much with my about haircuts, I think I’ve done all of it in the past six years.
And then the other thing that I kind of noticed is you kind of have like, I guess a relaxed fit or you kind of focus, I guess a little bit more on comfort when it comes to your style. So I guess what do you look to for your inspiration?
Oh, I think like you said at first comfort is big for me. I like simple stuff and like simple colors, but then something that pops fully. Like I have on something solid and then have some that like pops, whether that’s graphic, like a graphic tee or graphic label on my clothes or like jewelry, or whatever it is something that pops with like simple. I’m usually simple effort.
Yeah, I think that’s really cool I think we’ve kind of seen, you guys play with a lot of different textures and as you said graphics and everything like that. So I guess, what kind of pop culture references do you turn to when you’re picking out your graphic tees?
I’m kind of an old soul. I like a lot of different things. I’m a big scary movie guy. So I love horror films. I love old music or old movies, stuff like that I usually try to gravitate towards. So that’s the thing that I identify with, nothing too specific just whatever catches my eye.
Yeah, and I mean mentioning scary movies, what are your go-to flicks I mean, I’m not a big scary movie buff, but I know of, you know like the battles between Freddy and Jason and Mike Myers and everything like that.
Yeah, everything that’s a classic. I like the Joker, is not a scary movie, but that’s my favorite character. “Texas Chainsaw” (is) great. “It,” the clown movie like a great, great horror movie. I tend to watch everything though, like “The Conjuring,” just any scary movie, for real, I usually watch. So I’m a big advocate for the scary movies.
What is it about scary movies that draw you to them because it’s not exactly something that a lot of people would pick right off the bat?
I watched them when I was really young. I probably was too young when I first watched my first one. So I kind of got down to it and it’s just, I guess it’s the feeling, like it’s not normal, you know? I think in life everything is just normal or we try to be normal, but like that’s the only time I really see like, that’s a different reality because there’s nothing tied to it. I think because I started watching at an early age and too early, probably and I kind of got addicted to it.
That makes sense. I guess another thing that somebody might say, you’re addicted to is basketball. So when did you first get that love for the sport?
As soon as I touched the ball, I think I was like three or four. So as soon as I, you know, had like a little ball and a little hoop. So as soon as I start shooting it I was like “Yeah, this is what I want to do.”
And in terms of something else that people have kind of noticed about you, you know, is you look even stronger than you did last year. Coach (Dwane) Casey has praised Villanova for kind of getting guys really ready for the NBA. So when did it kind of click that, taking care of your body is very important?
Yeah, I think it’s very important to try to take care of. I think that’s the most important thing, every day is just staying healthy, staying strong. Another thing that I’m obsessed with is lifting. So, I really like lifting. I got obsessed with it since I was in high school when I first really started and I just like how I look. So I liked how it made me feel when I did it because I was really small at a young age and I was really skinny and everybody told me I should lift and eat and I’m telling them, I’m trying but nothing was working. So, it’s like that burning desire and anger in me, because everybody used to say so small. So you know just for me to start taking that seriously, and I just never wanted to stop. You know I tell everybody if I didn’t play basketball, I probably would try to be a bodybuilder or something.
That would be pretty cool. I totally understand like that feeling or addiction to the feeling post workout and everything. But to those who are kind of wanted to “subscribe” to the Saddiq Bey diet and conditioning plan, what does it entail?
I think breakfast is most important for me. But I eat as much as I can. Like, I don’t really have a strict time period. But I think I try to eat as much good food as I can. So proteins, you know starches for like rice or any vegetable and just keep up. So like whenever I work out I try to eat something before and after. Every workout I try to do that and then at night eat another big meal so that I’m always gaining but I never lose (weight). So I think a (lot) more of that, just protein, simple protein, starch, vegetables with a smoothie and protein shakes. I do that throughout the day.
And in terms of the other off-season training that you got to do that not everybody else might have had access to is being a part of the US select team. When we got to talk to you earlier, I guess it was a couple of weeks ago before summer league, you mentioned how much of an honor it was. But were there any particular moments or pieces of advice that those veteran players or the coaches kind of offered you?
I’m a pretty quiet guy. So I think most of my experience was playing against them like the first scrimmage. When scrimmaged them, it was just a big moment for me, you know being able to go against those guys, being able to showcase what I could do and just learn, like you said, just some little things I learned from different players, hearing what their workout regimen is, what do they do to help them and so a lot of those individual conversations you know, really are gonna help me for the future.
Yeah, and was there anyone who kind of took you under their wing?
I think that they did a great job, I know it’s kind of cliche to say, but the whole team actually you know, in the locker rooms lik, would give their little piece to all of us young guys. So I wouldn’t say one specific more than the other but I think, you know, each, each person that asked or talked to or was around, just gave their little two cents, I think. And I think really helped.
And in terms of now of looking ahead to next season. What part of their games or the advice that they gave you are you looking forward to kind of putting into play when the season starts?
Oh just literally the mental, a lot of it is the mental consistency of it and just really focusing on the little things to help win and just to expand my game and expand the team. And you know, coming into this summer, as soon as we lost our last game of the season that’s all I was thinking about was, how can I help this team win next year. So a lot of those things I’ve been dialing into my head, just like the little nuances of NBA that I didn’t know before, but all just to help us win in the future, man. I’m really locked in, for sure.
And, you know, obviously, the big event of this past summer was the team drafting Cade and everything like that. I think I saw on social media that you guys are repped by the same agency, and I think I saw that you might have been one of the first people to call him after the draft lottery (in June) when you guys found out that Detroit had the No. pick. What was that like being able to kind of reach out to him right after that happened?
The story’s a little different, not different, but my agent is called me when we won the lottery, saying, ‘congrats.’ And then (Cade) was right next to us. So it wasn’t like that deal but you know to get a chance to talk to him, though, just talking to him early on, you know, while I was working out and meeting him you know with my agent, you know, I just thought he was gonna be a great guy and a great player. You know obviously didn’t know what the future is gonna hold for the pick but you know I knew that if we did get him that we would get a special guy, a special player, especially young guy. So I think, you know, it’s a great fit and you know he’s a great player and person.
We’ve talked a lot about, what you did this offseason to prepare for, for year two, but what did you do to have fun> I know you were in Detroit but what did you get a chance to get out and do and see?
That’s tough. You know, basketball is so much over the summer for me. You know, I got a chance to spend some time a little bit with my family when they came and going out of town for a little bit. So just spending some time with them and you know I started picking up a little bit of going to the golf range and, you know, I practice my swing, and stuff like that. But mostly just basketball, chill and just kind of enjoy what I can.
Have you been able to at least kind of see a little bit of Detroit? I know last year there was the pandemic (protocols). There wasn’t the ability for you guys to go out and explore the city. So, what have you gotten a chance to see so far? I know you went to Belle Isle with the Grand Prix, but what else did you get a chance to check out?
Some of the restaurants around the city and Even outside of the city a little bit. Just some of the hangout spots, inside and outside the city, and then some stores. You know there’s the Somerset Mall. Just little stuff like that but mostly restaurants.
And what was your favorite one?
Favorite restaurant, it’s tough. It’s tough. It was actually this little soul food lounge area that I picked up some food from, I forgot what it’s called, in the city. Let me think, what others good. SavannahBlue was pretty good. I can’t even remember right now.