NBA Draft Media Day Interview Transcripts (Part One) June 24, 2009 Reporter: How well do you think your workouts went?
Austin Daye: They went pretty well. Some not as good as others, but I think I did well overall. There were good things said so that’s all I wanted to see.
Reporter: Where did you have your best workouts?
AD: The Warriors and Detroit. There were so many workouts, though, it’s hard to remember.
Reporter: Do those teams come to mind because of how you played or how they structured the workouts?
AD: I think it was just how I was feeling that day. I got up a lot of shots beforehand and it definitely helped. And throughout the next couple weeks I was doing well through all my workouts.
Reporter: Do you feel that your stock has gone up or down since you left school?
AD: I think it went up since school because of what I did at the combine and other things in my workouts. I think the GMs and scouts were able to see some things that they weren’t able to see when I was at Gonzaga.
Reporter: How are you going to get some meat on your bones?
AD: I’m definitely going to have to bulk up, but there have some frail guys who have had success: Kevin Durant, Tayshaun Prince, and there are other guys as well. They are able to adjust and I think I’m going to have to put on some weight as well.
Reporter: Have you talked to Adam Morrison about the transition from college to the NBA.
AD: Yeah I’ve talked to Adam, but I talk more to Ronny Turiaf because I’ve known him for a long time. He said it’s a tough jump but he said I can do it. He thinks my skill set will definitely help me at the next level. He said it’s a lot different than college and you have to understand that going in. I think I’ve prepared myself for the NBA game with my ability to get open and get my shot off. Hopefully, we’ll see how it goes.
Reporter: Are you nervous or excited?
AD: Nervous is the main emotion for me and I think for a lot of guys too. They don’t know where they’re going to go and it’s a free for all. [Read Full Article] NBA Combine Media Availability Interviews May 29, 2009
Situational Statistics: This Year's Small Forward Crop April 24, 2009
• Austin Daye could be a first round pick if he stays in the draft based on his current production and potential, but he stands to gain more than nearly any other player by improving his game and returning to school.
Daye uses the third least possessions amongst college players on our list at 12.6 per game, but his 49% shooting percentage in logged games places him above average on our list. At 6’10, Daye’s 63% shooting as a finisher and 44% on both catch and shoot and pull up jumpers should give him excellent potential in the eyes of NBA decision-makers. However, his body gives them reason for pause, and will make them wonder if he can translate his talents to the much more physically demanding style of the NBA.
Landing in the top-5 in PPP (points per possession) on our list in spot ups (1.11), fast breaks (1.28), and isolations (.82) while adding .7 PPP in 1.6 Pos/G in the post, Daye is able to operate in a number of different scenarios—which really highlights his skill-level and versatility. His lack of strength obviously is hindering him from drawing many fouls or being able to utilize his excellent size in the post more effectively (he converted just 12/38 field goal opportunities down there), but there is no question that he is an exceptionally unique and talented prospect offensively. With three key players graduating, Daye could very easily use this summer to test himself against better talent and add weight before returning to Gonzaga to take a shot at the lottery. From a situational point of view, Daye obviously has distinctive tools, but he could boost his stock by simply adding weight before returning to school this summer since in many ways, the potential of his body is holding back the potential of his game. [Read Full Article] NCAA Weekly Performers, 2/19/09 February 19, 2009 Austin Daye is one of the NCAA's most fascinating prospects, with an outstanding combination of height, skills, and versatility. Coming off of an ultra efficient freshman year that had scouts salivating about his potential at the next level, Daye had a disappointing offseason, a summer filled with setbacks including a partially torn ACL and a bone bruise. Thus far, Daye's season has hardly met the lofty pre-season expectations, as he is scoring less on slightly lower percentages and is getting to the free throw line at a lower rate. In greater minutes, however, Daye has had the opportunity to put his game's positives and negatives on full display as one of the focal points of Gonzaga's offensive attack.
Standing at what looks to be a legitimate 6'10, Daye possesses excellent size for an NBA wing, not to mention a gigantic wingspan. Taking his brittle 190-pound frame into consideration, however, somewhat hinders his potential, as he lacks the bulk to compete alongside of the bigger and stronger opponents both at this and at the next level. Getting stronger is absolutely essential for a player like Daye to cash in on what looks to be a bright future, although there are concerns about just how much weight his poor frame can put on. Athletically, question marks also exist, as he is noticeably a step slower following his eventful off-season. He was not an elite athlete to begin with and considering the unknown status of his recovery process and the massive knee brace he has sported throughout the season, the extent to which his injury has permanently affected his athleticism is something that teams will need to look at closely.
Whether as a result of his off-season injuries, his lack of strength, or merely because expectations were too high in the first case, Daye's offensive game has not taken off in the ways that many scouts thought. For one, despite getting three more possessions per game, he is not getting to the foul line as often as he did last season, and when he gets there; he shoots a respectable 72.7%, down from 88.1% last year.
Daye's jump-shot, where he gets over a third of his offense is still very nice, boasting very good form including fluid motion and a consistent, not to mention high, release point. Though his release is not the fastest and he does not get a tremendous amount of elevation on his jumpshot, his size and length should allow him to develop into a very good perimeter shooter at the next level.
Most impressive, however, is that Daye's ability to create shots for himself has seemingly improved, showing a tighter handle that could definitely stand to improve, but has allowed him to expand his mid-range game with a variety of crossovers, fakes, and jab steps. The fact that he is a 6'10 player with lethal ability operating out of the triple threat position makes his increased versatility that much more valuable at this level. While sometimes it seems as though he defers to his mid-range game instead of taking the ball to the basket, which likely accounts for his sub-50% shooting percentage, he is a very effective scorer with the ball in his hands with the potential to be even better if he can start taking the ball to the basket more often.
Aside from his noticeable athletic deficiencies post-knee injury, his offensive game is most stunted by his lack of strength. It hurts him off of the dribble, where he cannot absorb contact around the rim, but it also makes him fairly ineffective in the post. This is unfortunate because his combination of size, solid footwork, and fluidity could allow him to be an inside-outside threat at the collegiate level and allow him to better exploit the mismatches that he creates almost every time that he is on the floor. Basically, adding strength looks to be the key to opening up his offensive game even more and a major concern shared by scouts in terms of evaluating his potential at the next level.
His lack of strength and his athletic concerns have not helped him on the defensive end, either. His lateral quickness looks below average and he gets beaten off of the dribble on the perimeter and out muscled in the paint. It's not rare to see him being pushed around inside by marginal college big men, either backing him down in the post or stealing offensive rebounds from him. This deficiency naturally leads to foul trouble, usually in the form of frustration fouls, which has been a bigger problem this season than in the last. He does use his length effectively, though, often blocking shots from behind his man, and showing solid anticipation while blocking shots in the post.
One area that does seem immediately repairable, however, is his body language, which at the present moment leaves much to be desired. Whether it's appealing to referees after every call made against him, sulking if things aren't going his way, or complaining to his teammates, Daye doesn't look like the most mature player on the floor. With scouts watching his every move, particularly how Daye lets the flow of the game get inside of his head, it is essential that he prove that while emotional, he can step up and deliver in the clutch.
Thus, Daye is a complicated prospect, showing flashes of excellence alongside of many potential areas of improvement. He has the size and offensive game of an NBA wing, but needs to get much stronger and prove to scouts that his knee injury is a thing of the past on both ends of the floor, primarily on defense. NBA teams we've talked to report that he is expected to at least put his name in the draft this summer, for better or worse. With Gonzaga back in the top 25 and looking to make a deep run in March, there should be plenty of opportunities left this season for him to prove himself. [Read Full Article]
Top NBA Draft Prospects in the Non-BCS Conferences (Part One: #1-5) November 10, 2008 The last time we wrote about Gonzaga sophomore Austin Daye, he was in the midst of one of the most efficient freshman campaigns in the country. Once the regular season ended, however, things took somewhat of a turn for the worse. First, Daye ran into the freshman-year wall during the post-season, averaging 6.0 ppg on 29% FG, 10% 3FG, and 60% FT in a three game time span which included upset losses to San Diego and Davidson. Then, during the Nike LeBron James Skills Academy last summer, he suffered a low-grade ACL tear and bone bruise that sidelined him for a month. With this in mind, this season is essential for Daye to prove that he can distinguish himself on a stacked, pre-season top ten-ranked Gonzaga squad. If last season was any indication and his rehabilitation went as scheduled, it’s entirely possible.
Daye is a mismatch waiting to happen at the collegiate level because of his size, skill, and athleticism. Standing at 6’10, he can play multiple positions, even if his wiry 190-pound frame is more suited to the perimeter rather than the post. He is not an explosive athlete by any measure, but he is smooth in his motions and has an above average first step for a player his size. Adding muscle onto his thin frame, though, is absolutely essential should he want to be a factor at the next level.
We have written extensively on Daye’s offensive game, and he remained fairly consistent throughout the rest of the season. By the numbers, there were few freshmen who matched his level of efficiency on the offensive end. In just 18.5 minutes per game he averaged 10.5 ppg (47.5% FG, 41.3% 3FG, 88.1% FT) with a .60 TS% and .53 eFG%.
While he looked tired in the post season, and therefore lacked the lift on his jumpshot that distinguishes it on such an elite level, our analysis of his shooting ability remains unchanged. He still needs to work on consistency concerning his release point when guarded, and he sometimes wastes motion by kicking out his legs during his release, but he still has an unbelievable feel for throwing the ball in the basket nonetheless. His shot-selection at times left a lot to be desired at times—settling for extremely off-balance contested looks early in the shot-clock for example—but there is no doubting the natural instincts he displays on this end of the floor.
Elsewhere, Daye’s offensive potential is extremely high. In limited minutes last season, he showed the ability to create his own offense off of the dribble from anywhere on the court. In addition, unlike most developing wing prospects, his mid-range game is very good, and as the year progressed, he got better finding spots in the offense for himself. Consistency is the key, and with an expanded role in the offense next year, he should take full advantage of available opportunities. Though he already gets to the line at a nice rate of 6.6 times per 40 minutes pace adjusted, his combination of size and athleticism make him a very effective mismatch threat. Add to the equation his solid ball handling ability and arsenal of body and head fakes, and Daye could develop into a lethal scorer very soon at the collegiate level.
One significant area of concern is his defense, which we have covered at length last season. While Daye looked passive for stretches floating around the perimeter on offense last year, he almost always looked out of his element of the defensive end. Despite his solid defensive numbers per 40 minutes pace adjusted, including 1.4 spg and 3.4 bpg, he is very much caught between positions on the defensive end. He does not have much in terms of fundamentals guarding his man on the perimeter, which renders his above average lateral quickness somewhat useless. His tendency to use his hands in order to compensate for being beaten off of the dribble doesn’t help his cause either. In the post, he possesses neither the bulk nor the toughness to be effective, though his fundamentals look much stronger and he uses his body more effectively.
Daye is by no means a complete player. He showed enough interesting and promising flashes during his freshman year, however, to suggest that he can develop into a very promising player if works to overcome some of his shortcomings. Improving his body, decision-making ability, and his defense seem to be his most significant obstacles at this point. After an offseason of injury and speculation, these concerns are still quite relevant and will be factors throughout this season, as well.
Similarly, Gonzaga’s roster is full of borderline NBA prospects with something to prove, and there will be a lot of pressure for Daye to carve out a niche for himself on the offensive end. Daye and Gonzaga enter this season pre-ranked in the top ten, which means scouts will have plenty of opportunities to watch him progress. As we have said before, there are few players in college basketball with Daye’s combination of size, athleticism, and skill. Should he show scouts that he is ready for the next step and looks likely to reach his high ceiling of potential, he will have an opportunity to be drafted pretty high, either this year or next. [Read Full Article] NCAA Weekly Performers, 1/17/2008 -- Part Two January 17, 2008 Freshman forward Austin Daye isn’t getting nearly as much hype as some of the more highly touted freshman in his class, and he’s not getting as many minutes either, but he still has shown some outstanding potential in the early going this season, and is definitely a player to keep an eye on in the years to come. Standing 6’10 with outstanding length while being a very smooth athlete, Daye is very intriguing as a prospect. At first look, the 190-pounder with the baggy t-shirt may look very raw, but as you spend more time watching him, you start to notice the various offensive skills he’s already developing in his arsenal.
When analyzing Daye’s game, one of the first things to stand out has to be his jump shot. With his length and elevation, Daye has an extremely high release point on his shot, and it doesn’t hurt that he completely maximizes that release point with the upward trajectory of his shooting motion. Strong, complimentary adjectives get thrown out a lot when assessing prospects, but in this case, there are only a handful of three-point shooters in the NBA today that have a higher release point on their shot than Daye (Dirk Nowitzki, Rasheed Wallace, Mehmet Okur, Andrea Bargnani, James Jones), and we’re talking about a player that projects primarily as a small forward. It doesn’t hurt that he’s also been very effective from deep in the early going, hitting 43% of his shots on 30 attempts. When he gets his feet set and has time to be deliberate with his motion, Daye’s shot looks as smooth as it gets. That shooting ability has also translated to the free-throw line, where he’s shooting a very strong 91% in the early going, on a noteworthy 67 attempts.
Daye’s shooting is not without flaws, but his effectiveness in the early going has been pretty strong and his overall potential in this area is immense. To reach that potential, one thing Daye will need to work on is better consistency with his release, specifically when pulling up or being rushed by a contesting defender. In these situations, he often doesn’t hold his follow through and doesn’t always have a picture perfect release, and his accuracy suffers because of it. It should be noted, though, that with his upward motion and high release, Daye doesn’t need much space to get off his shot, and shows some nice flashes of putting up shots when closely guarded, having good, but very inconsistent success with it.
Looking further at his pull-up shooting, Daye definitely has some problems with decision-making at this stage in terms of shot selection. He can be prone to taking unwise shots, such as spotting up from NBA three-point range in transition with no one on his team under the basket or forcing up a 15-foot jumper off the dribble when guarded by two or three defenders. To his credit, he’ll occasionally swish some of these shots and make them look easy, but more often than not at this stage, it winds up in a bad miss, especially against top conference competition. Daye in general has shown less success thus far with his dribble-drive and pull-up game against stronger competition, looking much better against weaker competition. It’s no coincidence that four of his five single-digit scoring games on the season came against Washington State, Texas Tech, UConn, and Oklahoma.
Moving on to the rest of Daye’s dribble-drive game, he shows very nice potential here, and shows flashes of nice ball-handling skills for a 6’10 freshman. He looks fairly comfortable in space with both his left and right hands, can mix in some crossovers and hesitation dribbles, and can take the ball to the basket or pull up from mid-range off the dribble. This aspect of his game is not without problems, though, as his dribble isn’t especially low to the ground, he has trouble adjusting directions at times, which has been exploited against tougher competition with him committing charges, and he can struggle a bit with his timing when going into his first dribble, often faking and then moving his foot before putting the ball on the ground, or carrying on his first dribble, resulting in traveling violations. All in all, he shows some very nice flashes in space, and definitely shows nice potential here, but really needs to work on refining his dribble to consistently use this facet of his game against strong competition.
Daye gets to the basket a decent amount, usually on his dribble-drive or in transition, and he shows very good touch at the rim along with the ability to score with his left and right hand at times. He makes good use of his athleticism and length here, and will take advantage of using the glass when necessary. He also shows a very nice right-handed floater in the lane, which is of great use to him with his body not being up for much physical contact just yet. One especially impressive play against Pepperdine that illustrated his potential around the rim was a pushed ball situation where Daye waiting on the right block for the ball; he caught a pass and on one small step without much momentum, and easily jumped from outside the painted area on the right block, only to reverse it off the glass on the other side of the rim by using his hangtime and length.
As for the rest of his offensive game, Daye shows a strong desire to get the ball whenever he’s on the court, moving fairly well without the ball and constantly calling for the ball. He’s shown some bad tendencies in seemingly making his decision to shoot before he puts the ball on the floor, but has done a much better job in his past two games of using his pretty good court vision by making some quick passes to open teammates for assists.
On the defensive end, Daye has shown quite a few disturbing tendencies early in the season, in terms of both fundamentals and effort level. With fundamentals on the perimeter, while he occasionally shows an aggressive defensive stance, he’s not consistent in shuffling his feet to move laterally, makes some unnecessary swipes at the ball leading to blow-bys, doesn’t consistently keep his center of gravity low, and doesn’t seem to have the best reflexes yet. In the post, Daye does a better job maximizing his effectiveness, being active with his quickness and length in switching from fronting to straight defense, while also using his length to deflect entry passes when he’s behind his man. He might be able to get away with some gimmick defense like this for a little while at the next level if forced to defend post players, but if he wants to play the power forward position, he’s going to need to improve considerably in standard post defense. When he does get caught in the backdown situation on the block, he shows no concept of leverage or fundamentals, and with his very small build and lack of strength, he is backed down with virtually no effort whatsoever. To Daye’s credit, his defensive effort seems improved as the season has gone on, and he’s showing a better effort moving his feet on the perimeter and making better use of basic fundamentals. Daye also has some nice potential in terms of blocking shots and making deflections with his length, athleticism, and pretty good sense of timing on shot blocks, showing some proficiency already in this facet of his game.
All in all, Daye shows some outstanding potential, though he definitely has some notable concerns with his game right now, primarily in his decision-making and his slight build. Part of the decision-making can be attributed to normal freshman mistakes, and it’s something he can improve on as the season goes on, but he is very lacking in strength and size, and he definitely has a lot more room to put on weight, which is why he should probably stay at least another year in school, where he could also do a good job further refining the fundamentals of his game. He also hasn’t been given a huge role yet with Gonzaga, as coach Mark Few appears to be taking his time rather than just handing him the starting job, though Daye has averaged 19.6 minutes per game and played in all of Gonzaga’s games thus far coming off the bench. Daye could always make a bold decision and come out after this season, where it’d be tough to see him falling out of the lottery with his tools and physical attributes, though he has a chance of being a top-5 pick next year if he makes some nice strides with his game, and that would probably be best for his long-term development, as it’s tough to see him competing in the NBA so soon with his very lacking strength and size. [Read Full Article]
Say No Classic - LA's Collegiate Summer League August 17, 2007 CABC was led by three players scoring 20 or more. Derrick O’Neil (Florida Community College) had 21 points on 6-of-10 shooting and 11 rebounds (6 offensive). Guard Josh Sanderson (Point Loma Nazarene) added 20 points and 6 assists. But the big star was Gonzaga-bound Austin Daye who scored 23 points (game-high), 16 rebounds (game high) and 3 blocks (game high).
Daye is a 6’10” small forward who can score inside or outside and has good handles for a player his size. His intensity was also in full effect as he was injured during the middle of the 4th quarter, yet came back minutes later in obvious pain. [Read Full Article]