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NBA Media Day Interviews

NBA Media Day Interviews
Jun 28, 2007, 01:53 am
Kevin Durant

Q:In response to if he ever lifted weights before in his life:

A: We lifted weights. We bench pressed, but we never did just heavy weights so I could go to the combine and lift 185 lbs. We never did anything like that at Texas. We lifted almost every day in the summer, and throughout the year we lifted three or four times a week. It’s not that I never lifted, it’s just that I couldn’t lift 185 lbs. (laughs)

Q: So when they question your bench press, do you just point them to your vertical leap?

A: Well my vertical leap in those test wasn’t that great either. I tested again and it was higher then camp, so I guess you can tell them that.

Q: What kinds of shoes he wore as a kid:

A: I wore everything. I had Filas, I had some Grant Hill’s. I wanted some Ken Griffey’s, but they cost $140 so I couldn’t get those. I had shell toed Adidas…I had just about everything.

Q: Any players you idolized growing up:

A: Vince Carter. He’s a guy I watched all the time. I loved his game. The way he played with passion, the way he scored, the way he dunked…everything. It’s going to be awkward playing against one of my idols next year.




Rodney Stuckey:

DraftExpress: So when you were sitting at Eastern Washington in 2004 as a prop 48 student, can you honestly say that you envisioned yourself being in the green room for the NBA Draft three years later?

A: I didn’t expect being in the green room, but I pictured myself being in the NBA one day. It all goes back to my ninth grade year when I went to team camp at Eastern Washington. Mike Burns was an assistant coach there and told me that I would be in this situation one day and I’m excited for it.

DraftExpress: On if players know who he is going into workouts:

A: “Some players don’t know who I am, but the majority of their players do because their agent is telling them who I am. I don’t really pay attention to that stuff. When I go to these workouts, I just go in really confident and do whatever they tell me to do.”

DraftExpress: How did you go under the radar so much in terms of your recruitment, to the point in which you landed at a program like Eastern Washington?

A: “Probably just because of the situation that I had with my grades. I think that if I would have been coming out as a qualifier, I would have had more recognition from higher teams.

DraftExpress: So is it true that you have a promise from Detroit at pick 15?

A: “I haven’t heard a promise from them. It would be good to go to an organization like that. They’ve got a really good group of guys there and they play really good basketball. They’re a really good team and they’ve went to the eastern conference finals the last five years. It would be a blessing to go to a team like that.”

DraftExpress: Why did you refuse to work out for the Clippers?

A: “Oh yeah, I worked out for the Clippers. I never refused to work out for the Clippers. Any team that wanted me to work out for them, I would do it.”

DraftExpress: On whether or not he thought he faced any NBA players at Eastern Washington:

A: “No, not at all. Our conference wasn’t that good. I know I can play with the best, and that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to prove it and we’ll just see what happens.”

DraftExpress: You’ve surely seen all of the Rashard Lewis green room videos that they’ve been showing all week on TV. Has the thought crossed your mind of what it would be like to be the last player sitting in the green room, given that you‘re one of those guys who is projected as being towards the end of the green room candidates?

A: “No, not at all. If I’m the last guy, I’m the last guy. I’m still going to be on a team and I’m still going to be drafted in the first round.”

DraftExpress: What is the range that you’ve heard you might be picked tomorrow?

A: “To tell you the truth, I really don’t even know. I’ve heard…I have no clue, to tell you the truth.”

DraftExpress: Well if you were a betting man, where would you guess that you will be picked?

A: “To tell you the truth, I don’t even know. I have know clue. I wish I could tell you.”




Acie Law

DraftExpress: Why did you refuse to work out for the Hornets, given that they are picking in the lottery?

Law: Umm…I went to Philadelphia.

DraftExpress: Now did you feel that the Hornets’ wouldn’t exactly be the best fit for you, given that they already have a young all-star point guard in Chris Paul?

Law: Yeah. I didn’t know that they had a lot of interest to begin with. Like you said, Chris Paul is a young, all-star point guard and they have their minds made up with which way that they are going. I want to have the opportunity to come in and play, something in my best interests. I wouldn’t have any problem playing there, but at the same time I’m trying to look out for my best interests in going in somewhere and getting some playing time.

DraftExpress: You’ve surely seen all of the Rashard Lewis green room videos that they’ve been showing all week on tv. Has the thought crossed your mind of what it would be like to be the last player sitting in the green room, given that you‘re one of those guys who is projected as being towards the end of the green room candidates?

Law: Yes I have. I can’t lie to you and say that I haven’t thought about it. I’m trying to stay positive and I’m happy to be here. I’m just hoping for the best tomorrow.

DraftExpress: On if he would draft Oden or Durant if he were a GM:

Law: “ It just depends. Without question, Kevin Durant is the most talented player in this draft. If you’re building a franchise, which most of the teams at the top of the draft are, you just can’t pass on a guy that you could build your team around. There’s guys in the league that can score 20 or 25 points a game like Kevin Durant can, but you’re not going to find a seven foot man-child who can patrol your lane for 10, 12 years. I just don’t see a team passing on a guy who can patrol their lane like that.”




Spencer Hawes

Q: On whether he follows the mock drafts:

Law: “I check it from time to time. I think my buddies check it more then I do. They’ve got ESPN and have the little play the lottery button. They just let me know if I’m going up or down.”

Q: On what he and Kevin Durant did during Durant’s extended stay in Seattle:

A: “We went everywhere. We went to a couple of parties, we hung out at my house, we hung out at his hotel, we went to a couple of my friends’ houses, we went a casino…we just really had fun.”

DraftExpress: You’ve mentioned how selective you were in the teams that you worked out for. Is that because you want to get in a situation where you can play and you realize that your money is going to be pre-determined wherever you are drafted this year, and the earning potential is so much greater on your second contract?

A: It’s not only that, but it’s an opportunity to develop. If you go somewhere where they already have established big guys and you might not be able to make a contribution right away, that might not only hamper your second contract, but also your future development as a player.

DraftExpress: You said that you would be very surprised if one of the teams that you didn’t work out for drafted you….would you ask for a trade if you were selected by a team that you didn’t work out for?

A: No. Wherever I go, I’m going to be happy. I think if you come in as a rookie and are demanding a trade, I think you’re hopping off of the wrong foot.

DraftExpress: On whether he would like to play with Kevin Garnett:

A: “I think that would be a great person to play with. I think any time, especially as a big man, the two types of players that you would like to play with are a good point guard to get you the ball and a good big guy to take some of the pressure off of you. Playing with someone like him, would definitely do that. If he gets traded though, it’s out of my control.”

DraftExpress: Tell me about how your second workout with the Bulls went.

A: I think it went well. It was a little different this time because I was by myself. I went out there and they saw what they wanted to see me do, so I think it went well.

DraftExpress: What do you feel the likelihood that is that Minnesota will draft you at number 7, given all of the rumors that they have promised to take you there?

A: There’s been no guarantees, but I think it’s a very realistic possibility. We’ll see how it plays out tomorrow.

DraftExpress: With as selective as you’ve been with your workouts, have you prepared yourself for the possibility of being drafted by a team that you didn’t work out for?

A: I think it’s something you have to prepare yourself for. I think that organizing it, we tried to cover all our bases the best we could. If that happens, I can say that I would be surprised. I think we went all of the places that we thought were most necessary and I think if someone else drafts me, I don’t think it will have that big of an effect.




Mike Conley Jr.



Reporter: Now a day before the start of your NBA career, is there a sense of nerves? What is your mindset right now?

Conley: No nerves, more just anxious to get it over with, anxious to get things started. I feel like I’ve been waiting a long time, just working out and waiting for this day to come so I can go down to the team and start working out for them.

Reporter: Have you talked to any current NBA players about what life is like in the NBA?

Conley: Yea, Michael Redd, I know him pretty well from the Bucks, he went to Ohio State. He came to a lot of our games in college and definitely talked to me a lot. In the last couple of weeks I’ve gotten to talk to him and meet with him so I can learn about how to handle myself and learn about what I’m going to go through. So he has really helped me out like a friend.

Reporter: You had the chance to play with Greg Oden in college, what do you think his ceiling is in the NBA?

Conley: I don’t think he has one. I think he can be as good as he wants to be, he has the kind of talent and upside. With the size he has, his athletic ability and the way he moves his feet, it’s something that a lot of people won’t be able to stop. If he keeps working at it he’s going to be an NBA All-Star and have as many rings as he wants.

DraftExpress: There’s been some talk that Portland might try to move up in the draft to get you. What are your thoughts about the possibility of playing with Greg at the next level?

Conley: It’d be fun to play with him again. At the same time though, I try not to think about it because I don’t want to get my hopes up at all, especially in the NBA draft. You never know what’s going to happen; there could be trades on the day of the draft, so you never know where you’re going. So I just keep trying to look at it like that and worry about myself, keeping working out and all that.

DraftExpress: Atlanta needs help at the point; they passed on Chris Paul a couple of years ago and he made them pay for it. If they pass on you this year are you going to make them pay too?

Conley: I hope so. I have the confidence in me that I can do that. Either way, wherever I go I think I can help out and make an impact.


Corey Brewer



Reporter: How much interest has Milwaukee been showing?

Brewer: I’m not sure, I think they’ve been showing some interest, but it’s not for sure.

Reporter: What about the Celtics in that respect?

Brewer: They seem to be interested but I couldn’t tell you what’s going to happen because of all the trade rumors going on right now.

DraftExpress: How did the workout in Phoenix go?

Brewer: It was a tough workout, it was a good workout. It was me, Joakim Noah and Jeff Green.

Reporter: Did you and Jeff actually go against each other?

Brewer: Yea we all went against each other head to head.

Reporter: How did you do?

Brewer: I don’t know, I guess we’ll see tomorrow.

Reporter: How big of an adjustment is it going to be for you going from a team with so much success to a team that is in the lottery and struggling?

Brewer: I don’t really look at it that way. I’m just trying to go in and help the team and good things will happen hopefully.

Reporter: What is your best guess as to where you will end up?

Brewer: I don’t even know. Everyone has different mock drafts and stuff; you have no idea until you hear your name called.

Reporter: What team fits your style the most?

Brewer: I feel like a team that gets up and down, a transition team fits my style the most.

DraftExpress: With the trade talks flying around right now and Phoenix being involved, what do you think of the possibility of stepping in right away and being asked to replace a guy like Shawn Marion?

Brewer: I feel like it would be a tough task but it would be a fun one. It’d be a great situation to go play in Phoenix with their style.

Jeff Green



David Aldridge (TNT): The decision to stay in or come out, what helped you make it?

Green: Just sitting down, talking with my family and Coach Thompson. I asked for his help in my process, and I felt like this was the right thing to do after having two weeks to decide that I wanted to stay in the draft. In my career at Georgetown I improved each season, I earned a lot of awards, being the Big East Player of the Year, and willing my team to make it to the final four. In three years under Coach Thompson we got better each year, so I just felt like it was the right thing for me to do.

Reporter: Besides Phoenix and Boston, who else did you work out for?

Green: Chicago, Philadelphia, Minnesota and Milwaukee.

DraftExpress: Jeff you tested out really well in the physical drills at Orlando, how much do you think that has helped your stock?

Green: Well hopefully it didn’t have to help it at all. Hopefully a lot of teams have seen how good of a player I am. But I think overall it probably helped me out a lot because people don’t look at me as being the strong guy that I am, so getting seventeen reps at 185 pounds hopefully opened their eyes a little bit. So hopefully it helped.

DraftExpress: Where do you see yourself playing in the NBA, at the 3 of the 4?

Green: I give this answer: any position that a coach puts me in. You know I look at it as a challenge if I haven’t played that position yet. But if coach puts me at the 3 I have to play the 3. If he puts me at the 4 I have to play the 4. So it just depends on where the coach puts me. I’ve been in all types of situations where I’ve had to play the guard or the power forward, so it really doesn’t matter.

Al Horford



Reporter: How do you feel about your chances tomorrow and about how the workouts have gone?

Horford: I feel very excited and I feel very confident. I feel like I had good workout routines, so it’s time to find out tomorrow.

Reporter: How many workouts did you do?

Horford: I ended up doing five.

Reporter: Did you turn down a second workout with Memphis?

Horford: I couldn’t make it. I was supposed to be here, and they wanted me to do it today, but it was too late.

Reporter: So did you work out with the top five?

Horford: Yea it was Atlanta, Memphis, Boston and so on.

Reporter: Did you get a feeling that it was going to be you going either third or fourth?

Horford: I mean I’m excited about it, we’ll see what happens. We’re pulling for that, but we’ll see.

Reporter: Do you have a preference for what style of play the team has?

Horford: Honestly I have to be open about it, even though it’s a day before. I don’t have control over that, so wherever I go I have to adjust to what style that team plays.

Reporter: Is Atlanta expressing the most interest right now?

Horford: I mean obviously they have a few guys to choose from, but pretty much all the teams I’ve been with have expressed some interest.

DraftExpress: Can you talk about the strategy behind not partaking in competitive workouts prior to the draft?

Horford: It’s not even a strategy. I feel like when you’re a proven player and people see what you can do, I don’t feel like it’s necessary for you to go out there and go against other guys.




Rob Reheuser (NBA Media Central)

COREY BREWER

Q: How does it feel for you to be in the draft?
Brewer: Exciting. I never thought I would be here in this situation.

Q: The projections are that they three of you [players from Florida] will be in the top 10. If that happens, how special would that be for you?
Brewer: I don't think that's ever happened -- three guys [from the same school] in the top 10. That would be great. Make some history; that's what Gators do.

Q: Talk about the transition from college to the NBA.
Brewer: It's going to be a lot different. The game's going to be faster and guys are going to be a lot stronger, [but] you just have to handle it.

Q: Talk about how it feels to have the "team" broken up and about your expectations collectively and individually.
Brewer: It's going to be weird not having the guys around. We've been together for three years, almost every day. But I feel like we're all maturing and ready to take on that task.

Q: Talk about the friendship you guys have, which is pretty rare ...
Brewer: A lot of people appreciate [our camaraderie] ... it's rare that we get along that we do, but it's good in a way. It's like we're brothers. It started when we first got on campus; an instant bond. And now we're like the best of friends.

Q: There were rumors about Minnesota getting the No. 5 pick. What do you think about the chances of two of you being on the same team?
Brewer: I hadn't thought about it like that but two of us could be on the same team. That would be unique ... We [would] bring a winning attitude to the team.

Q: Talk about what you have to improve on as you make your way into the league.
Brewer: Just focus and be mentally tough; just study the game and watch the players in front of me and learn. You have to learn from the veteran guys so you can step in and contribute.

Q: What do you feel you can contribute immediately to a team?
Brewer: A lot of defensive intensity and [playing] in transition with the offense.

Q: Do you feel the league, as it gets faster and smaller, is leaning a bit more toward your style of play?
Brewer: It's my style, getting up and down -- fast pace. That's what I like to play.




MICHAEL CONLEY

Q: Have you been to New York City before?
Conley: No, it’s my first time, first time here.

Q: Did you get a chance to walk around?
Conley: It’s crazy. It’s too big actually, I think. Too many people outside for me. Felt almost claustrophobic walking on the streets. I had a lot of fun last night. I just got to walk around and see Times Square and things like that and spent a lot of time with my family.

Q: Do you have your outfit picked out for tomorrow?
Conley: Yes I do. It’s hanging up in my room right now. I’m waiting to reveal it tomorrow. It’s pretty quiet, there are not too many colors involved. I’m not trying to go out there in a red suit; you know too much fire into it. I’m just trying to keep it casual.

Q: Who have you worked out for and what are your impressions going into tomorrow night?
Conley: I worked out for Atlanta, Memphis, Milwaukee and Chicago. Those are the four teams I worked out for and I felt pretty good after those workouts. I felt I did pretty good and put myself in a good position for the draft. I’m hoping that the best thing works out for me and the best thing for my family. I’m just thrilled to be here and I’m hoping for the best.

Q: Did getting two more weeks in the tournament change everything for you?
Conley: For me personally, yes it did change a lot. I definitely would have been back at Ohio State and I probably would not have had the opportunity to play in the next couple games and play the way I did and get to show people what I could do in those situations. I thank Ron [Lewis] and part of me is like “why did you make that shot? I could be back at school.” This is how the balled rolled and I’m just happy with the situation I am in.

Q: Did Greg Oden ever tell you that if you came back [to Ohio State] that he was coming back to?
Conley: No, he never told me. We were making our own decisions. Whatever decision he made was his decision and I was going to be happy for him.

Q: What is it going to be like parting ways with Greg Oden and not playing with him?
Conley: It’s going to be totally different. We are used to playing with each other. We are used to being on the same court at the same time with the same jersey. It’s going to be different. We’ve played without each other before during practices and stuff, but its something we just have to get used to and cope with because we knew this day was going to come so we are just going to have to do our best without each other.




KEVIN DURANT



Q: Can you talk about the process you are going through and your feelings about the draft tomorrow?
Durant: I’m more than excited. It’s all I’ve been dreaming about and tomorrow can’t come any faster. I’m just waiting to get my name called and it’s just going to be a joyous day..

Q: Do you care if you go one or two?
Durant: No, I don’t care at all. I can’t complain at all. Being in the first round is just a blessing for me. I’m just happy to be in this position. I’m happy my family is happy about me being in this position. I can’t complain.

Q: If you were the GM out in Portland, who would you take number one and why?
Durant: I heard this question a million times in two days. I’ve been telling everybody, I’m just a basketball player. I’m not a GM. I don’t know what the team needs or anything like that. I’m glad I don’t have to answer those questions.

Q: How did you feel about your workout in Portland?
Durant: I felt pretty good. I could have shot the ball a little better. I could have done some things a little better, but all in all I think I did okay.

Q: How do you feel about being compared to Tracy McGrady?
Durant: That’s a great comparison obviously. T-Mac is one of the best players in the league and I’m just honored to be in the same company as him. Next year it’s going to be kind of awkward playing against him.

Q: How has this experience been building up for you today?
Durant: It’s been hectic, but it’s been fun. I’m glad I’m going through this process. I wouldn’t want it any other way. I’m loving it right now. All you guys looking at me like I’m Michael [Jordan] or a rock star. I’m loving it. It’s been some of the best three months of my life.

Q: Is it true that whichever sneaker company you sign with, you want your shoe to be moderately priced?
Durant: Most definitely. Growing up as a kid, I couldn’t afford the $120 shoes. If I could, I would love to make a shoe that kids at 10, 11, and 12 could afford.

Q: What do you think the toughest thing is going to be after you go to the team after the draft?
Durant: Just adjusting to the game. It’s the pro level. I’m going to be nervous my first summer league game and my first pro game, but I just have to tell myself that’s what I work for. It’s all going to come true.




JEFF GREEN

Q: How much do people talk to you about playing either the 3 or the 4?
Green: Not often because hopefully they realize I can play the three and the four, multiple positions, so it’s not just set in stone at one position. I can do a lot of different things, off-the-dribble or down in the low post, so hopefully they’ll have me playing multiple positions.

Q: How was your workout in Phoenix?
Green: It was a good workout. I was there with Joakim Noah and Corey Brewer, we worked hard and went against each other, a lot of one-on-one. It was fun. I like to workout, it’s something I take a lot of interest in, you have to go all-in and I had a lot of fun down there and it was a great place to be. It was good to finally go against those guys and it was my first time working out against someone. You’re not by yourself anymore, so you have to do more to show your ability and prove that you can play against anybody.

Q: Being a 3 or 4, did you face off against Joakim and Corey?
Green: Yeah, all three of us went at each other. We didn’t hold anything back. You have to be able to play multiple positions in the NBA, because guys your size play the two, being 6-8 like LeBron James and Kobe Bryant. So I went against both of those guys.

Q: How has the draft process been so far for you?
Green: It’s something I’ve been wanting to have for a long time. A dream come true. I’m going to be all smiles when my name is called and its time to walk on that stage. It’s exciting but it’s been a long, long, long time from June 5 until now working out with teams. It’s going to be great to hear my name called but the next day I’ve got to get back to work.

Q: What’s going to be the biggest adjustment going from college to the NBA?
Green: Probably just going from 33 games to 82. That’s the biggest adjustment for anybody making that leap into the NBA – playing 82-plus games.

Q: What’s something you learned in college that’s going to help you at the next level?
Green: Playing under Coach [John] Thompson you have to be very disciplined and I feel like I’ve matured as a person playing under Coach. He taught me a lot of things about being not just a player but a person. You can tell everywhere I go I’m dressed up, growing up and presenting yourself well is one thing he taught me a lot about.

Q: What do you think you can add to a team?
Green: A lot, with my size being able to do a lot of things on the offensive end. I’m a big guy who can take guys off the dribble or play on the blocks or be able to make that pass.




SPENCER HAWES



Q: Why do you work out for only certain teams?
Hawes: I think the reason I chose those teams is because I thought they’d be good fits for what I do and what I bring to the table.

Q: What are your thoughts about the Sacramento Kings, who have the 10th pick?
Hawes: I really like how they run their offense, especially how they use a guy like Brad Miller. He’s a seven-footer, but they also let him pass and let him play to his strengths. I think playing with him I can learn a lot of things.

Q: What is your opinion of players having to spend a year in college?
Hawes: I think at the end of the day, it’s going to be good for the game. I don’t think it’s necessarily fair, or anything like that, but I think it definitely helped me out, and I think if you ask most players who spend time in college, I think they’d stayed the same.

Q: When did it become apparent to you that you were ready to make the jump?
Hawes: I think going through the whole process, and getting feedback, that’s when I really started to figure out that it was going to be the best thing for me.

Q: Some people have knocked your toughness and level of aggression. What do you make of that?
Hawes: I think that’s pretty typical. I think right before the draft, people want to look at the negative and start criticizing, and that’s something you’re just going to have to get used to as a professional. You just take it with a grain of salt.

Q: Do you follow mock drafts?
Hawes: I think if you pay attention to those, you’ll drive yourself nuts.

Q: How did you second workout with the Chicago Bulls go?
Hawes: I think it went pretty well. It was different this time, because I was just by myself, but I went out there, they saw what they wanted to see me do, and I think it went well. I think that everything we heard from them was pretty much positive, but there are no guarantees.




AL HORFORD

Q: Talk a little bit about what you’re expecting tomorrow night and how you think everything has gone thus far.
Horford: I’m very excited about it. I feel really good and confident. I feel like I had really good workouts for teams.

Q: How has the whole process been for you?
Horford: It’s been great. It’s been an exciting time just getting to spend time with all these guys and actually getting to know them a little bit – it’s really cool. It’s a neat process.

Q: Have your college teammates talked about how cool it would be to have three guys from Florida potentially get drafted in the top 10?
Horford: I thought about it. I haven’t particularly said anything to the guys, but I think that would be something really special for our group.

Q: Do you think it is possible?
Horford: Yeah, I think so. Definitely.

Q: Did you spend any time with Corey Brewer and Joakim Noah here (in New York)?
Horford: Well, they got in really late last night, but we’ve been hanging out all morning since we’ve had to do this (media availability) all day.

Q: How many workouts did you end up doing?
Horford: I ended up doing five.

Q: Did you turn down a second workout with Memphis.
Horford: I couldn’t make it. I was supposed to be here (in New York) and they wanted me to do it today, but it was too late.

Q: What kind of vibe did you get from Atlanta?
Horford: I went in there, worked out – they really liked my workout. Obviously they have the decision to make, but I felt pretty good about all my workouts.




YI JIANLIAN



Q: Does following Yao into the NBA make it easier for you or harder for you?
Jianlian: I think it makes it ... much easier having Yao Ming here in the NBA because the people in and outside of China will [now] have a better understanding of how I [am] as a player and [Yao's presence] has paved the way for me to play in the NBA.

Q: And how has it made it harder?
Jianlian: On the other hand, as you're aware of, the NBA has the fiercest competition ...

Q: You've been preparing for the draft for a couple of months. Do you feel you're physically and mentally prepared for the draft?
Jianlian: I feel I'm pretty ready for the NBA Draft. I've been here for two months and [have] been working out. I feel like I'm ready for the NBA draft.

Q: [Inaudible]
Jianlian: The purpose I came here for is for that -- to get better. And playing for the National Team this summer is also for this purpose. I'm just trying to get better.

Q: Who are you looking forward to playing with?
Jianlian: After the Draft, I'm going to play with the national team and I will have the chance to meet a lot of NBA players from this draft, so I think it will be fun to play with them.

Q: A lot of people are saying you've done a very good job adapting to American/Western culture. Thoughts?
Jianlian: I've been to the States a couple of times before, so it's not a big problem for me to adapt myself into the culture.

Q: What do you think about guys like Greg Oden and Joakim Noah being the future of the NBA. Do you think you guys will be competitors?
Jianlian: The competitors won't just be these two, there are more. Not just from this year, but next year and the year after. So I'm just looking into getting better for the future.

Q: Have you ever imagined playing against Yao Ming?
Jianlian: To me it's an expectation fulfilled. Two Chinese players playing on the same court in an NBA game will be very meaningful.




ACIE LAW, IV

Q: What do you think will be the biggest challenge coming into the NBA and leading an NBA team on the court?
Law: Credibility. You’ve got to practice and compete hard every day and they got to trust you. You got to come in and earn their respect. It’s not going to be given to you. You got to just compete hard and be a great player and great team guy and locker room guy and all of the above and be a great addition to a team.

Q: Which teams have shown the most interest in you?
Law: I’ve been working out with the Clippers, the Hawks. I mean, a lot of teams have shown interest, but you never know until tomorrow evening when it actually goes down.

Q: Do you have a preference of where you want to get drafted?
Law: I want to hear my name called early. I’m very excited. This is a dream of mine to get here to this point to be in New York and have the opportunity to shake David Stern’s hand and put that hat on and it’s a dream come true and I’m very happy and glad to be here.

Q: Which point guard did you grow up idolizing and still watch today?
Law: Today I like to compare myself to Chauncey Billups and Sam Cassell. I think that those are two big point guards who come through in the clutch for their teams and they can score, they can defend, they can pass. They are guys I like to compare my game to.

Q: What do you think is the best part of your game now?
Law: Leadership. I think with my teammates in college, they could always depend on me whatever it was even if it was off the court. They knew I’d be there for them and I always showed good leadership for my teammates.

Q: What kind of feedback have you gotten from NBA teams regarding your game?
Law: The biggest thing with me is everybody says I was a scoring point guard in college. My response to that is the team I was on I was the best scorer, so I was called upon to score the majority of our points. But I was still third in our league in assists. I’m just looking forward to getting the opportunity to play at the next level and show people that I can run a team and score and do a lot of different things.

Q: How difficult is the transition from college to the NBA for point guard?
Law: I think point guard is the most difficult position to transition in to because you’re the leader of a group of grown men and superstars and you have to earn their respect and you have to dictate the tempo and learn the speed of the game. There’s just so much that goes with it, learning the play book and all that stuff, and its going to be a difficult situation.




JOAKIM NOAH



Q: Does this feel special?
Noah: I think this is every kid's dream. This is unbelievable; I'm going to the NBA -- I'm going to play in the NBA. It's just an unbelievable feeling. I had a great time in college, [but] I never knew it would get this crazy.

Q: Talk about your progress in Florida ...
Noah: I feel like I learned at the University of Florida. I feel I'm a player who experienced a lot -- freshman year, not playing a lot of minutes, that was very tough, but it was definitely humbling and something that I'll never forget. I think it helped fuel a fire inside of me to work even harder and [provided me] with a very strong work ethic and be ready for whatever tasks are ahead. I feel like my sophomore year got a lot of attention after winning the National Championship and being the Most Outstanding Player my sophomore year, the expectations were really overwhelming. And I feel like my junior year I was really under a microscope [with] everything that I did. Just even living on campus, crazy with all the students. It wasn't like an NBA environment where you're secluded and have security. We were living with all the students and everything. Just having to say "no" for the first time in my life … having to say "no" to people, that wasn't something I was used to doing. So I feel like I'm the college player who's experienced the most in three years and I feel like it's definitely going to help me at the next level.

Q: Talk about the people who've said great things about you in the past and then started saying negative things about you ...
Noah: Well I feel like [my] sophomore year was a lot easier than [my] junior year in the sense that, sophomore year, I could just be who I was -- like it didn't matter. Nobody said anything just because the Gators were a team that everybody thought was going to lose in the first or second round and nobody really gave us a chance. You win a National Championship, though, and you have all the expectations in the world on your back. People are going to criticize you. You say one word wrong and people are going to be critical of it. I think that just comes with the territory and I don't think I was prepared for that ... I feel like I've definitely learned a lot ... Sometimes when you're young and you play for that praise and [for] what they say in the newspaper ... which is a normal reaction. But at the same time, I feel that, even yesterday, I'm listening to ESPN Radio and they just killed Lamar Odom. It was the craziest thing I'd heard in my life. I was like, "Wow, this guy probably can't even shoot a free throw," and he's killing Lamar Odom, talking really bad about him. It's just unbelievable. I feel like as a player you have to be strong and just block all that out and it's unbelievable. I just feel the media is there to write stories, and that's your guy's job, that makes sense. But as a player you have to just realize that what's important to you is not what people write about you, but playing for your family and playing for the right people.




GREG ODEN



Q: How is important is it for you to go No. 1 overall?
Oden: Important? It’ll be nice, but really, to play in the league, that’s been a dream of mine and wherever I go it’s going to be fun and playing basketball is what I want to do. But number one, that’s always nice.

Q: Have you had a change to enjoy this whole experience or has it been overwhelming?
Oden: I’m sick right now, so I’m enjoying it but my head is blasting, my throat’s swollen and my nose is running, so I probably got everybody in New York sick right now.

Q: What do you think you’ll bring to a franchise as far as marketability?
Oden: I bring a smile, I bring some dance moves, I come in and I’m walking around, doing all that stuff, that’s what I do. I’m just going to be a nice guy who likes to have fun. The smile says a lot, that always works.

Q: You hear that you’re the next Hall of Famer and great center. Is that a lot of added pressure for you?
Oden: I started to think about it, but then I had a chance to meet Mr. [NBA Commissioner David] Stern, and the first thing he said to me was, “All that stuff, throw it away. I’m not going to talk to you about advertisements for basketball. You have fun with basketball and all that other stuff is just extra, it’s not going to be bad because you need to worry about basketball at first.” When you have that man say it to you, you’re like, whoa.

Q: What about the pressure to be good right away?
Oden: That’s hard and I know its going to be difficult, but I had a chance to talk to David Robinson and what he said to me was you just need to take time. There’s going to be a lot of pressure, don’t put it all on yourself. You’re going to get it from everywhere, but you just have to take time. It’s very difficult to just come in here and dominate right away. Take your time, get better every time you can, but for you to be dominant, it’s going to take some time.

Q: What has this whole experience been like coming to New York and preparing for the biggest day of your life?
Oden: New York’s great, I actually had a chance to go to Ground Zero and that was amazing. There’s a bunch of construction and a fence put up around it, but we got to see the Memorial, we got to drive by on our bus and got to think, this is a big huge space and I’m remembering what happened when I was in the 8th grade, and that was just amazing.

Q: How are you able to handle all this pressure being a young guy?
Oden: It’s not that bad. I’m just staying calm and I’ve got great people around me that take care of everything else. Everything is good.




RODNEY STUCKEY



Q: What do you make of some of the questions about you being from a smaller school?
Stuckey: I get that all the time. That’s probably the question I’ve heard the most since this whole process began. I think I’ve proven myself so far. I’m here for a reason, right? I know I can play with the best. I feel like I’ve proven that in my workouts. I did a pretty good job at the combine with the physical part of it as well.

Q: What’s the feedback you’ve been getting?
Stuckey: The type of player I am, I’m a combo guard. I can play the one or the two. That seems to be what this draft is lacking this year. That’s what teams like. They like a guy who can play the one or the two. I can set the offense up, or come off screens and create for my teammates, or myself. The feedback I’ve been getting is really good. Like I said, I think I’m in this position for a reason.

Q: Do you have a bit of a chip on your shoulder?
Stuckey: I always have a chip on my shoulder. That’s just the type of player you need to be. You need to have a little confidence and cockiness to you, to be a great player. You’ve got to want to be great.

Q: What is your opinion of players having to play a year in college?
Stuckey: It doesn’t really matter to me that much. If you’re ready to play, you’re ready to play. For me personally, I benefited from college. I’m happy went to school for two years, and also getting three years of college out of the way is a good thing, because it won’t be that hard to go back and get my degree.

Q: Can you talk about your visit with Detroit?
Stuckey: Detroit’s a really great organization that I would love to go to. Just the group of guys they have there. They work hard. They’ve been to the Eastern Conference Finals the last five years. That’s the type of team I want to go to. That’s the kind of team that’s going to win. Joe Dumars and I sort of have the same background. We both came from smaller schools, and he was able to overcome that and do really well in the NBA. When I went there, I felt I worked out very well and they liked me a lot. They’re a really good group of guys. And we’ll see what happens.

Q: Is that where you expect to go, in the middle of the first round?
Stuckey: I’m thinking that’s where I’m expected to go. If anything else happens, I’ll be happy.




JULIAN WRIGHT

Q: There have been some rumblings of you possibly sliding down (on people’s Draft boards). Do you think about that at all?
Wright: I’ve heard I’m moving up, sliding down, moving up. That’s why this Draft is so inexact in terms of it’s not concrete. It’s based on team needs, not just talent. So if I slip to seven and that’s where I need to be, that’s fine. If I slip to twelve and that’s where they need me, and they feel like I can be of use to them, then it’s fine. It’s not about telling my kids I was this pick or that pick, I just want to be successful where I’m going and hopefully be a good pick for that team.

Q: Is there one place in particular that you’re interested in?
Wright: I feel like I possess a lot of skills that hopefully in some way is attractive to any organization. I feel like I don’t have one thing to hang my hat on that if I don’t do well in these workouts, (it’s not like) I wouldn’t get picked.

Q: Inaudible.
Wright: It’s a business process as well. You have to make sure you put yourself in the best position to be successful. Obviously, you have to be successful on the court as well, but in terms of draft positioning -- in terms of workouts, I started workouts late, so I couldn’t workout for everyone. I started in late June, and just finished yesterday.

Q: So it’s been the last week?
Wright: It has been the last 10 to 12 days.

Q: Were you working out back home in Chicago or were you in Lawrence, Kan.?
Wright: I was working out in Chicago.

Q: Did you stay and finish the semester at Kansas?
Wright: Yes.

Q: Do you feel like you’re learning a lot in this process?
Wright: I’m picking up pretty quickly. I have good support around me that is keeping me focused, so that’s definitely a plus.

Q: Who is going to be in the Green Room with you tomorrow night?
Wright: My mom, dad, agent, one of my brothers, an older brother. I have four brothers. Another one of my brothers might come, but two of my brothers couldn’t make it.

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