The march toward the 2009 NBA Draft started in earnest today with six
players put through the motions at the Trail Blazers practice facility.
It was the first of a two-day series of workouts that will conclude
tomorrow. The workouts kick into overdrive toward the end of May after
the Chicago pre-draft combine, but for one reason or another, the
Blazers decided to get 12 guys in early.
to Chad Buchanan, Portland's Director of College Scouting and the
coordinator of today's workouts, none of the six guys brought in today
are first round prospects, at least not yet, but their books are hardly
written at this point in the process.
"We’ll look at some of
them primarily as summer league guys," said Buchanan. "Tomorrow’s group
is kind of similar status as far as where their draft stock is at as of
today. Some of these guys could really help themselves over the next
month or so. If they get in their with a workout against, for example,
if a Garrett Temple gets into a workout with Ricky Rubio or somebody
like that, plays well, then his stock goes up and maybe he gets himself
into a lock for being drafted. But it’s too early to tell on a lot of
Which is why these workouts are conducted in the first place.
rather difficult to recap these kind of exercises in any sort of
meaningful way, so I'll let Buchanan's thoughts on the performances of
each player speak for themselves.
Cedric Jackson, Cleveland State
today, I thought he really competed defensively. I haven’t seen him
live during the year. We’d seen him in the NCAA Tournament, liked him.
Obviously coming from a smaller program, he wasn’t as exposed as some
of the higher-tier talent that you saw today. I thought he competed
defensively. He’s got a ways to go with his skill work and his decision
making, I think. Thought he competed today."
Wes Mathews, Marquette
is a great catch and shoot guy. Very smart, intelligent, tough kid.
Went through the rigors of the Big East for four years. He’s got to get
a little quicker, a little more athletic, but I think he knows how to
play. He’s been well coached."
Garrett Temple, LSU
we’ve liked him for quite a while. Always been steady, played for a
great programs, comes from a great family. Just a basketball kind of
environment he was brought up in. Athletic and he’s long, one of those
guys who knows how to play. Thought he played well today."
Demarre Carroll, Missouri
has always been an energy guy. We’re talking to Demarre after the
workout. I think he’s going to be a guy who’s got to find a niche of
being that energizer type, a motor who comes on the court and gives you
a little spark with his effort."
A.D. Vassallo, Virginia Tech
was similar to Wes. Great catch and shoot guy. He’s probably got to
trim down a little bit, get a little more quicker with his feet. But
good kid. His coach is a very good coach. All of these guys come from
great programs and great coaches."
Joe Krabbenhoft, Wisconsin
saw Joe a lot in high school and always appreciated his effort. Tough
kid. He’s not going to wow you with anything he does but he knows how
to play, knows what he is as a player. Had a great career at Wisconsin
playing for an unbelievable defensive coach. You can see that today. He
knows how to defend, he’s going to dive for loose balls, he’s going to
try to take a charge, he’s going to do the little things to help you
win but he’s not going to be anything that’s going to catch your eye as
the normal basketball fan."
It was interesting to hear that, in
some respects, these initial workouts are used by the team as a way to
get back into the groove of the pre-draft grind. The Trail Blazers will
bring in somewhere around 50 players over the next month, so it's
important to have a rhythm down so you're not wasting valuable time.
bring in a lot of guys," said Buchanan, "probably more than most teams
do, and we want to make sure we’re efficient with our time that we get
with these guys. A lot of these guys we’ll only get to see one time so
we want to make sure we’re seeing everything we need to see. It’s not a
trial run for us but it kind of gets our feet back wet just like it
does for these kids."
The workouts continue tomorrow, with the likes of Gonzaga's Jeremy Pargo and UConn's Jeff Adrien taking to the court.