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PIT Interviews: DaShaun Wood, Ayinde Ubaka, Zabian Dowdell
by: Jonathan Givony - President
April 7, 2007
DaShaun Wood Interview



Jonathan Givony: Pretty good first game. Good way to start?

DaShaun Wood: Yeah, thereís a lot of talented guys out here. Itís just a privilege to even be here today. Iím just going to try to play as hard as I can and give the team a little energy.

Jonathan Givony: From what I understand you werenít even on the first invite list, you an alternate. Do you think you showed youíre qualified to play here today?

DaShaun Wood: I think Iíve proven that I can play. The thing is there are so many good players and itís hard for those guys to pick and choose who needs to come and who needs not to come. When you do get an opportunity like this you got to play hard and show people you shouldíve been here.

Jonathan Givony: What was your mindset going into this game? Did you have a game-plan, like what you wanted to show the scouts?

DaShaun Wood: I just wanted to change the tempo for my team, get out on the break, get some easy baskets in transition. Make sure we were a little organized. This is the first time a lot of these guys were together. I just wanted to try to run the team a little bit and make sure everyone was on the page. I think thatís one of the reasons we got some good shots tonight.

Jonathan Givony: How many practices did you guys get in before?

DaShaun Wood: One. We went over a few things. Itís such little time and thereís not a lot of chemistry between the players. You just got to put things in as fast as you can.

Jonathan Givony: How m any possessions out of what you guys ran were actually set plays and how much was just you improvising?

DaShaun Wood: We ran about five plays today. Everyone can make plays, one on one plays, plays without plays. Like they say, the players make the plays, the plays donít make the players.

Jonathan Givony: How do you like having two shooters on the wing? Like Russell Carter and DeíAngelo Alexander? Does that make things easy?

DaShaun Wood: It makes things very easy for me. I just try to penetrate and get them open shots. Thatís what I did early and once shooters get in a rhythm like that itís kind of hard for them to miss and I think that continued all throughout the night.

Jonathan Givony: Did playing in the tournament help your confidence and prove to you that you can play at this level?

DaShaun Wood: All throughout my life Iíve been playing against these guys and know some of these guys. We just went to different schools and different conferences. Me playing with these guys was never a question in my mind itís just getting the opportunity.

Jonathan Givony: What are you going to say to the people that are going to say ďwell he played an amazing game, but heís still to small to play in the NBA?Ē

DaShaun Wood: Like I told people earlier, Iím just going to keep playing until there is nowhere else for me to play. Whether itís Europe or the NBA, Iím going to keep playing until someone says they donít want me. Iím going to work as hard as I can to play at the highest level.




Ayinde Ubaka Interview



Jonathan Givony: How you feeling Ayinde?

Ayinde Ubaka: Pretty good, we just won the game.

Jonathan Givony: You had two solid showings in a row. What was the mentality you had when you came in here?

Ayinde Ubaka: Just getting the players involved, thatís the biggest thing I wanted to do. I wanted to win it all but we canít now. I just came in with the mentality of making my teammates better, and taking my shots when I had to.

Jonathan Givony: Is that the goal here, to show the scouts that youíre a true point guard?

Ayinde Ubaka: Just playing my game. Thatís all I can do, is be myself. Run the team, do what I can do for the basketball team.

Eric Weiss: It seemed like you were a lot more comfortable, yesterday you held back a little, today you let youíre game come out?

Ayinde Ubaka: Exactly, I wanted to get a feel for my teammates, get to know my personnel. I mean, being a point guard, for things to run well in a tournament like this I canít just look for my own shot. Every time, the biggest thing is just to look for my teammates. And today I just put it all together, I know where my shooters are, my big men, who has soft hands, who has hard hands.

Eric Weiss: From the first day to the second day, talk about getting familiar with them.

Ayinde Ubaka: Yeh, everyone is on the edge, I donít want to do too much and today everyone just played their game. I just try to orchestrate our team.

Jonathan Givony: Tell me about the preparation for the games, did you guys put plays in at the practices?

Ayinde Ubaka: We put a couple sets in, motion offense so we wouldnít get stagnant.

Jonathan Givony: Was there a lot of improvising?

Ayinde Ubaka: No, not really.

Jonathan Givony: How many of the plays you ran were actually set plays that you called?

Ayinde Ubaka: Every once in a while, when I see us getting sloppy, Iíd slow it down and call a play. Just to get some continuity on offense. Pick and rolls, screens pretty much, playing off of that. We read plays instead of being like robots. We played basketball like we know how to play, by using our instincts.

Jonathan Givony: What are your thoughts on the season that you had and Cal had? Is that what you expected going in?

Ayinde Ubaka: No, not at all. I didnít expect our two seven footers to go down. Thatís the biggest thing we had, they could rebound and block, people would just take it to the hole. We had our solid guard play. I mean Ryan Anderson stepped up for me this year, heís a 3 or 4 playing a 5 and him being only a freshman. I canít say anymore, I mean he did a great job for us this year.

Jonathan Givony: What do you think Devon Hardin is going to do in terms of the draft? Any ideas?

Ayinde Ubaka: I donít know, heís just working hard to get healthy right now. I know he would love to play at the highest level, like everybody. Right now heís just trying to get his game polished and get into shape.

Eric Weiss: How did those injuries affect your game and what people saw what you did on the court?

Ayinde Ubaka: A lot of folks were on me. I got frustrated halfway through the season. I really couldnít do anything, they would just trap me every time. Coach just told me, what would you do to Cal if you were playing against them and that would be to stop me. Theo, Ryan, Jerome Randle, they all stepped up.

Jonathan Givony: If Iím a GM and Iím looking for a scouting report of you, what do you think your strengths and your weaknesses are as a player?

Ayinde Ubaka: I think I bring energy. I make the right basketball play. I guess I had nine points at the half and 22 at the end, I donít know what it was. I can do whatever you want me to do. Just run the ball club and be a calming effect on the team.

Jonathan Givony: What are the things you need to work on, your weaknesses?

Ayinde Ubaka: Everything, I need to polish everything, work on my shot, on my defense. I mean, nobodyís perfect, I need to work on everything everyday. And just try to outwork everybody. Thatís what I do. Iím going to work harder than everybody. Get in the gym everyday.

Eric Weiss: Whatís it like with the atmosphere of all the scouts and the players you know and the players youíve seen on TV? What has that experience been like so far?

Ayinde Ubaka: Actually, I really wanted to play with the kid from Boston College, Marshall, Iíve seen on TV, he hit a couple threes, and I thought that Iíd love to drive and kick to him. Things like that. I mean, itís a good experience. I mean Iíve never been to summer camps, Iíve played in a couple AAU tournaments, but nothing like this, Iíve never had an experience like this before. Just being around new guys, seeing how people are.

Jonathan Givony: You think you showed enough to get to the pre-draft so far?

Ayinde Ubaka: I think so. Iím just playing and having fun. Iím just trying to make my team more successful. Thatís all I can do. Just be me, play how I can play.




Zabian Dowdell Interview



Jonathan Givony: You look pretty disappointed. How do you feel right now?

Zabian Dowdell: Obviously Iím not happy, we lost the game. In this tournament you got to work hard and have fun and I think we did that today.

Jonathan Givony: You guys put in a better effort today than you did yesterday. Was it kind of embarrassing for you guys to lose by 50 in the first game?

Zabian Dowdell: Yeah, I donít think Iíve ever lost a game by 40 points, not that I can remember. But, there were a lot of guys disappointed with the loss yesterday. We just wanted to come out and have a better showing today.

Jonathan Givony: Are you happy that you get a day off tomorrow and then you have a third game? In years past, youíd be going home right now.

Zabian Dowdell: Yeah, itís definitely a plus knowing that we have that third game. A lot of guys came here to play basketball and we want to have as many opportunities as we can to play in front of the scouts. Having that third guaranteed game is something that we like.

Jonathan Givony: From an individual standpoint how do you think youíve done so far in the two games?

Zabian Dowdell: I think Iíve done okay. Weíve lost both games so you canít really look at it from an individual standpoint. Itís a team game and all the guys are out there playing hard. Weíre out there fighting for the win.

Jonathan Givony: A lot of guys decided to pull out; guys that were better prospects, worst prospects, who knows at this point three months before the draft? Did that ever cross your mind at all?

Zabian Dowdell: No, Iím not that type of guy. Any opportunity I get to showcase my talent Iím going to take it. Iím not afraid of failing. Growing up I always looked for a challenge. This is a challenge and I just go out there and try to attack.

Jonathan Givony: Is this what you expected so far at Portsmouth; the style, the tempo?

Zabian Dowdell: Well the guards pretty much dominate the game. There are some good players and the games are close games.

Jonathan Givony: We enjoyed the matchup yesterday with Dashaun Wood and today with Ubaka. What did you think about those two guys, going up against them?

Zabian Dowdell: I think theyíre some good players. Obviously if they werenít they wouldnít be here. They were too comfortable tonight. We did a lot, and put a lot of pressure on those guys and wore down.

Jonathan Givony: So is the next stepÖthe pre-draft camp?

Zabian Dowdell: Yeh, hopefully Iíll get invited. Iím looking forward to that. Hopefully Iíll get a chance with somebody. Right now, though, Iím just looking forward to the next game.
 


Feedback for this article may be sent to jonathan@draftexpress.com .

 

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