June 4, 2008
Charlotte's preparation for the 2008 NBA Draft began Wednesday at the Presbyterian Hospital Training Center at Time Warner Cable Arena with Dukeís DeMarcus Nelson, Virginiaís Sean Singletary, Mississippi Stateís Jamont Gordon, Florida Stateís Jason Rich, Oregonís Malik Hairston and Eastern Tennessee State Universityís Courtney Pigram all participating in new Head Coach Larry Brown's first predraft workouts with the Bobcats.
DeMarcus Nelson was a two-time captain for the Blue Devils and finished his career ranked 33rd all-time in scoring (1,336 points), 28th in rebounds (606), 14th in three-pointers made (124), 13th in three-point percentage (.373) and 21st in steals (145). He is one of only six players in school history to record 1,300 points, 600 rebounds, 200 assists and 125 steals. Nelson was named ACC Defensive Player of the Year, All-ACC First Team and ACC Coachesí All-Defensive Team in his senior season. Named to the ACC All-Tournament Second Team after leading Duke with 15.5 points, 9.0 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 1.5 steals.
Sean Singletary played four years at Virginia is the only player in ACC history with 2,000 points, 500 assists, 400 rebounds and 200 steals. A three time All-Atlantic Coast Conference First Team selection, Singletary was also a three-time co-captain for the Cavaliers. As a Bob Cousy Award finalist in 2007-08, he scored in double figures in all 33 games, closing a streak in which he tallied double figures in 55 straight contests Ė a Virginia record. Ranked second in the ACC in assists (6.1), third in scoring (19.8 points), fourth in free throw percentage (.851), sixth in steals (1.82) and minutes played (34.0 mpg), and ninth in assist/turnover ratio (1.58).
Jamont Gordon is an early entrant for the 2008 NBA Draft after being named First Team All-SEC as junior at Mississippi State in 2007-08. He ranked second on the team in scoring (17.2 points, ranked seventh in the SEC) and third in rebounding (6.6), while leading the squad in assists (4.9, third). Gordon also scored 20 or more points 16 times and currently ranks seventh on Mississippi Stateís all-time scoring list with 1,558 career points.
Jason Rich finished his four-year career at Florida State ranked in the Top 25 in 10 different statistical categories, including 17th in scoring (1,315 points), tied for 15th in steals (133), 16th in career field goals made (510) and 23rd in assists (224). He averaged a career-high 14.5 points (second on the team), 2.1 assists (second on team), 4.4 rebounds (third) and 1.2 steals (third) while shooting .446 from the field and .772 from the free throw line.
Malik Hairston finished his four-year career at Oregon tied for sixth with Stan Love and Fred Jones on Oregonís all-time scoring list with 1,644 points. He also ranks seventh all-time in field goals made (612), sixth in blocked shots (71), 10th in three-point field goal percentage (.395) and 12th in three-point field goals made (145). Averaged a team-high 16.3 points (ranked ninth in the Pac-10) and 4.8 rebounds in his senior season and also ranked fifth in the league in three-point field goal percentage (.433).
Courtney Pigram is an early entrant for the 2008 NBA Draft after having scored 1,445 points in his three-year career at Eastern Tennessee State University. He finished first on the team with 15.8 points and sixth in the Atlantic Sun Conference with 3.4 assists. Pigram won A-Sun Player of the Year honors in his sophomore season in 2006-07 after finishing second in the league with an average of 18.1 points. He led the team in scoring that season and led the conference with 86 3-pointers made.
Bobcats General Manager Rod Higgins, Head Coach Larry Brown, Nelson, Singletary and Rich all spoke with the media following the workout.
(On seeing Larry Brown out on the floor working with the players)
Larry is probably feeling like a rookie right now in a lot of ways. Itís probably something heís been thinking about for some time. Itís really fortunate for us that we have the opportunity to get him here and work with our guys.
(On how many players the Bobcats will work out)
I think that changes day-to-day. Weíll bring in as many as we can to try to solidify our selection in terms of getting the right player at number nine. At 38, itís probably going to be quite a few players we have to bring in just to cover our bases.
(On if any players had declined to work out because they think they will be selected higher than ninth)
I think this year has presented some of those problems because you donít have a lot of time to work these guys out. You have three weeks after Orlando to get these guys in. Weíve had players indicate to us that they wonít come in because nine might not be rich enough or they donít feel like we would pick them at nine. We have had those conversations with some players and their agents.
(On if any teams had expressed interest in a trade involving the number nine pick)
Always. Teams have always expressed interest. I think thatís something that happens throughout the league. We will express interest in things. Does it come to pass or does it come to fruition? Most of the time not, but you just cover your bases that way.
(On if the Bobcats would be interest in making a trade)
I think you have to be receptive to anything if you are trying to improve your ball club. Last year, we were fortunate enough to do a deal that allowed us to get a veteran player. Because of the salary cap that we had, we were able to absorb that player. How many teams are able to do that? Not a lot. I think there are a couple of teams that are under the cap prior to the draft.
(On Emeka Okaforís restricted free agency)
Emekaís impending restricted free agency is right around the corner. Weíre going to have address that. Weíve had internal discussions about how we are going to move forward. That will obviously be one of the things we attack.
(On if signing Okaofr is a priority)
Obviously, you have to feel that way. The guy is a priority. What we need to do with him going forward is something that needs immediate attention.
(On the possibility of Okafor getting an offer sheet from another team)
Thatís always a reality. It depends on how that sheet comes back and if that sheet comes back. You look at teams that have the ability to offer that sheet and there are some situations and teams that could offer some substantial monies.
(On his first time getting back on the floor and coaching)
I loved it. It was fun. It was hard coaching a Duke guy. No, Iím kidding. It was a lot fun. They were a great group. I know how important this is to these kids, so I donít take it lightly. Hopefully we taught them a little bit. I think we got an opportunity to assess what talent they are.
(On how involved he is in the workouts)
I know how important it is to them. I think if the head coach can be out here working with them, I feel like they appreciate that. I realize weíre not going to be able to draft all of these kids, but you hope that itís a positive experience for them and someday you might be in a position to bring them on your team. I want to be a part of it and I want to feel like weíre here to help them.
(On what heís looking for during the workouts)
I want them to have fun. It seems like thereís a lot of pressure on them. A lot of them are going from here to seven, eight, nine, 10 other places. I want to see guys that accept coaching. I think thatís real important. I think athleticism is a big thing in our league. We need kids that are pretty good athletes and kids that have a chance to get better. You draft them so young now, everyoneís not a finished product. Youíve got to coach them up and if we see that a kid has the potential to improve, thatís a big factor when you assess them.
(On if any of the players stood out)
They all did. I think they were real attentive, real competitive. They helped one another. It was fun. I told all of these kids that it might not happen right away, the way they planned it and the way they hoped, but there is an opportunity for all these kids to make it to our league. They just have to try to do the very best they can in all of these workouts and hope somebody recognizes their talent.
(On if you can tell how coachable a player is during an hour and a half workout)
You can to some degree. Iím a basketball nut, so I watched a lot of games the last few years. I watched the way people coached kids and I saw how kids respond to coaching and how they handle situations. I went to Orlando and I went to a lot of college practice. A lot of these kids, I feel like I know a great deal about, but being with them on the court is important. This hour and a half helped. We went to dinner with them last night ,which was kind of neat. The more you spend time with them, the better feel you have for them.
(On if being away from coaching for two years gave him a different perspective)
I didnít like the way it ended. I didnít like the job I did with New York. I thought I used the two years productively watching other people coach. I learned a lot. I donít think I would have had the opportunity to learn if I would have been working. I realized how lucky I am to be part of this game when I was away from it. I just feel real fortunate I have this opportunity and hopefully I will do better.
(On DeMarcus Nelson)
Heís a pretty remarkable kid. He had an unbelievable career and I can understand that. Heís a great kid. Heís well coached. Heís unbelievably competitive and heís a terrific athlete. Heís going to be in our league. I donít know where and I donít know when, but heís going to be in our league. Heíll just find a way to make a team better. He certainly has the size and strength to compete on this level. He was much more skilled than I thought, so I was real excited about him.
(On if the Bobcats will fulfill a need or take the best player with the ninth pick)
I think Michaelís (Jordan) certainly going to make the call, but talking to him, he thinks we have to fulfill a need, but he also doesnít want to pass up the best player. I think if we have a need and there are two guys that are pretty similar, we would go for that need. If thereís a clear cut guy thatís better, I always hate to pass up that.
(On the Bobcats need for big men and point guards)
I think if you ask every team in the league, theyíd tell you that. Those two positions are so difficult to fill. I think there are going to be a lot of bigs out there and I think there are going to be some points as well. I think itís pretty accurate. Itís so hard to find big people. Whether we do that in the draft, trade or free agency, I donít know. The same thing with point guards. Itís so difficult. You see the affect that young point guards have had on our league. Itís remarkable. (Tony) Parker, (Deron) Williams and Chris Paul and (Steve) Nash, theyíve changed the whole game. The two years Iíve been away, itís changed dramatically just because of the emergence of kids like this. You have to have people that can keep guards in front of them without fouling. Itís unbelievably important now and you have to have guys that can penetrate and play pick and roll and get other people involved. Iím excited about Raymond (Felton) in that regard because I think Raymond can do both those things.
(On if the Bobcats would trade the ninth pick for a veteran player)
Depends on the player. If you have a guy that fits a need and is already established and can help the growth of our young players, I donít have any problem with that. If you look at this draft, itís incredibly deep. I look at some of the guys who might be there a number nine and they could turn out to be as good as number two or three in the draft. Iím excited about that. Then when you talk about point guards and big guys, I look at the draft and itís deep at both those positions with kids that have a chance to grow and get better. Thatís exciting.
(On the Finals)
Iím happy for Doc (Rivers). I really like Doc and Kevin (Garnett) and Ray (Allen) and Paul Pierce. Itís a great opportunity for them, but I have a lot of kids in Detroit that were awfully special to me. I was disappointed the way that ended. Obviously the two best teams are playing and itís great for our league when you consider the tradition of the Lakers and the Celtics. What did they win Ė 31 out of 60 championships? I didnít realize that. I think it will be good for our league. Hopefully the games will bring people back. We have so many good young kids in the league and coming into the league. I hope this Final will get people revved up again about the NBA.
(On who will win the Finals)
My 7th grade coach told me itís the team who scores the most points. I just hope itís a great series, I really do. The Lakers are playing at such a high level right now. Kobe (Bryant) is the best player right now.
(On his workout)
This is a great time. Itís a real fun time for all the players going through this process to go out here and compete and try to accomplish a life-long dream.
(On if the workout was what he expected)
I didnít know what to expect honestly. I just wanted to come out here and do the best job that I could and just be precise and sharp in the drills they had us doing. After going through the workout, I would say that I think I did pretty well out here. Coach Brown and the rest of the coaching staff did a great job of putting us through drills. I really feel blessed to be in this position to fulfill a dream of mine.
(On his first workout being in the Carolinas) It was really nice. I didnít really have to travel far. I came to Carolina from the Pre-Draft in Orlando and I was able to work out for Charlotte. We played out here a couple times with Duke. This area is really nice. Iím real familiar with the area and I had a great time here.
(On what he could bring to the team)
This Bobcats team is a good team and it is definitely getting better every year. They have a pretty good mix with some veterans and then they have some young players that are really good. With me and the possibilities of me coming here, if I was given the opportunity, I think I can bring another defender on the perimeter, some more toughness and another athlete to the team and more than anything, just someone who is going to be a part of the team and help lead this team to wins.
(On if Coach Brown had a hard time coaching a Duke player)
Actually, Coach Brown was great. He didnít give me too hard of a time because we went to rival schools, but he did throw it in my face a little bit.
(On his other workouts)
I have Sacramento Friday. As of now, I have Toronto on the 13th and I am going to be setting up Orlando, Golden State, Phoenix, Houston, Dallas, Memphis and the Spurs.
(On the competition at the workout)
The competition level is great. It brings out the best in every player. As a competitor you want to go up against the best so you can prove that you belong there. Thatís what this process is about and Iím going to have fun going through it.
(On coming to Charlotte to workout)
I had a few days off since Orlando, so I was looking forward to just getting out here and playing with these guys. Having Coach Brown teach me some new stuff was pretty good.
(On if attending the Pre-Draft Camp in Orlando helped him)
I know some guys that are working out at home that are still going to be in shape. I worked out in Orlando and I donít know if it benefited me or didnít, but coming out here and working out was a good experience today.
(On if the workout was what he expected)
I knew there was going to be a lot of teaching because thatís what Coach Brown likes to do. I went through this process last year. I didnít come to Charlotte, but I went to a few other teams so I knew what the workout was about.
(On the Bobcats)
I know a little bit about them. I know some of the guys on the team. I knew some of the coaching staff from when they worked at Philadelphia.
(On his workouts)
This is my second one. I will be going to Washington next. I worked out for Miami.
(On his workout with the Bobcats)
It was good. I think Coach Brown is a great teacher of the game and he kept it very competitive, but he also really helped us out and taught us some things we are going to need to know on this level even if itís not playing for him. I think it was very different, but at the same time, very effective.
(On Coach Brownís enthusiasm for the game)
His enthusiasm for the game, you could definitely see it. He just wants that to rub off on his players. You can tell this is his passion and he puts his heart into what he is doing.
(On the Bobcats)
This is a team that I think is very much up-and-coming. They have a lot of young talent, but they are right there as far as getting over the hump. I think I could fit into this system very well. To be under the tutelage of Coach Brown, you canít do anything but get better. This is a great city and a great environment.
trade the 9th pick to seattle for Luke Ridnour, & Nick Collison. i doubt they'll pass up on in offer to rebuild there team in this draft. if needed trade future 2nd round pick also.
well, i expect so much in this team next season.. hope that they will enter the playoffs.. I'm one of their fans,. go go go bobcats..
larry brown will make an effect to this team.. goodluck
The Bobcats will be a much better team because of Coach Brown..they will learn how 2 finish games..be better on defense and he will bring a attitude to the team..this team never has given up regardless the score or opponent but will now know how to close out and win tight games...they will be a team in the East a lot of teams will not like to play..
I think having Sean Singletary on the roster next year would be a great get for the team. He has proven himself to be a tough athlete and a "do-anything-for-the-team" type player. Three time first team All-ACC should say it all.
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