2011 Bobcats Draft Workouts - Day 5
The Bobcats continued their 2011 NBA Draft preparation Sunday afternoon at Time Warner Cable Arena® with guards Jimmy Butler (Marquette), Demonte Harper (Morehead State), Damian Saunders (Duquesne), Corey Stokes (Villanova), and Mychel Thompson (Pepperdine) in for workouts in front of General Manager Rod Higgins, the coaching staff and team scouts.
Jimmy Butler averaged 15.7 ppg, 6.1 rpg and 2.3 apg in his senior season for Marquette University. In helping lead the Golden Eagles to the Sweet Sixteen before falling to UNC, Butler was awarded honorable mention All-Big East honors for the second consecutive season and also was named the MVP of the Portsmouth Invitational.
Demonte Harper is a guard out of Morehead State, entering the draft after finishing his senior season with the Eagles. Harper led the eagles in assists and was second on the team in points scored, rebounds, steals, among many other statistical categories. Averaging 15.5 ppg, 5 rpg, 3.4 apg and 1.5 spg, Demonte was honored by being picked to the All-OVC First Team and the OVC All-Tournament Team. He also won the OVC Tournament MVP award.
Damian Saunders enters the NBA draft after his senior season with the Duquesne Dukes, which Saunders helped lead to a CBI Tournament quarterfinals appearance. In his final season, Saunders recorded 12.6 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 2.7 bpg, 2.3 spg and 2.5 apg and was honored with selections to the Atlantic 10 All-Conference Second Team, the Atlantic 10 All-Defensive Team and by winning the Atlantic 10 Defensive Player of the Year award for the second year in a row.
Corey Stokes finished his senior season with the Villanova Wildcats this past year, averaging 14.9 ppg, 3.3 rpg and 1.3 apg. Stokes led the Wildcats in three-pointers made & attempted, as well as three-point percentage. He was also selected third-team All-Big East in his final season.
Mychel Thompson led the Pepperdine Waves in minutes played, field goals made & attempted, three-pointers made & attempted, points, and rebounds in his final season as a senior. In his final season, he averaged 14.6 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 1.9 apg, 1.1 spg and 1 bpg. Thompson was selected as a WCC All-Conference Honorable Mention for the second consecutive year. His brother, Klay, is also entered into the 2011 NBA Draft and they are both sons of former NBA player Mychal Thompson.
(On the workout)
It went well. The guys worked hard. A couple of guys stood out a little bit better than the others. I’m not calling no names, but they did.
(On the notion that a four-year college player doesn’t have as much upside as those players that enter the draft early)
Not really. A guy that plays four years, he’s probably learned a lot more than a guy that played one or two years, because he had a chance to grow, he had a chance to be taught and now he’s coming in the league much more aware of what’s going on than a guy coming in after his freshman or sophomore year. So I would say that the guy that played four years has a lot of upside.
(His thoughts on evaluating international players)
I look at these guys. Some of them are very, very good athletically. Defensively, there’s a big problem that I have with a lot of European guys. When we interviewed the kid from USC [Nikola Vucevic], he’d been here for five years, so he understands what it’s really all about. In Europe, they go mostly on offense and don’t really think that much about defense. It tends to be a problem.
(On difficulty with European prospects and buyout situations)
Yeah. That kid that’s going to Minnesota now [Ricky Rubio] – they had a tough time with him. Finally, I guess there was a buyout and he’s going to come and play. But it’s tough to draft one of those guys that’s under contract and you have to buy out; I don’t know how it works.
(On how some of the players that worked out could fit on this team)
They were mostly threes and fours and twos and they are predicted, mostly, to go in the second round. So, we’ll be looking at the 39th pick and some of these guys might fit in.
(On how the workout went)
I think it went really well – a lot of competitiveness. But just like every other workout, I make shots, compete and have fun.
(On the competition)
It was all right. It’s another job interview for everybody. Everybody’s having fun, competing, working hard and just trying to end up on a roster next year.
(On what he takes out of these workouts)
Definitely take the different type of players you go up against. You got to be able to stop a driver, a shooter, maybe guard a guard or a big. The one thing I definitely take is you got to compete every second of every drill, because that’s what everybody wants to see.
(On how his run in the NCAA Tournament with Marquette helps in the draft process)
For the most part, they know what I bring to the table; they know that I’m going to compete. I love to win; I don’t take losing very nicely. They know that I’m going to work hard, play defense. Every possession, I’m definitely going to give it my all. Making the Sweet Sixteen and being from Marquette, that’s what people associate with that team.
(On what he could bring to the Bobcats if they drafted him)
I’m definitely going to guard for any team and make that open shot, create shots for others, get into the paint, finish at the rim, get to the free-throw line.; you know, keep to my strengths and keep going with what got me here.
(Where he’s work out so far and what’s upcoming)
Miami, San Antonio, Houston, the Pacers, Sacramento, here and Oklahoma City. I got nine more coming up. I got a long schedule ahead.
(On how staying at school for four years has helped in the NBA Draft process)
I definitely think it helped me mature. Playing that many games, you get caught up with the wear and tear on your body, so I’m kind of used to the traveling, and this and that. I definitely grew and learned a lot about the game. I think that’s the main part that stands out.
(On leaving for Marquette from south Texas)
That’s all because of [Marquette Men’s Basketball head coach] Buzz. He’s a great guy and I loved playing for him as a coach. He’s a great person. Basketball was a big decision but I definitely think it made it easier knowing that Buzz is from Texas. He’s down there with me and if I’m cold, he’s cold up there in Milwaukee.
(On how he’s grown as a player)
It’s just hard work. It pays off; it really does. I found myself in the gym a lot with Wes [Matthews], with Lazar [Hayward], with Jerel [McNeal], and Dominic James. They pulled me in there and taught me the ropes and the basics to the whole thing. I just took that and gradually ran with it each and every year, adding a little bit more to my game, but still sticking to my strengths. Now I’m in this process, keep adding, keep learning and keep going.
(On if he’d be prepared if he had left early)
Oh, definitely not. I would have probably still been a kid in this process, been tired much easier, not being able to control the flight times and working out. My body wouldn’t have been ready for it.
(On being named Portsmouth Invitational MVP and improving upon such a good performance)
I think the reason I was Portsmouth MVP was because I stuck to my game, and just made all my teammates better for the most part. We sat down, talked about each other’s games and what we could bring to the table and when we got out there, we played as a team. And the little bit of chemistry we had that weekend was enough to win three games in a row.
(On what it would be like playing for Michael Jordan)
Incredible. You know, Michael Jordan is Michael Jordan. That’s who you grew up watching and the greatest player of all time. To get to wear Jordans again – that’d be a dream come true.
(On if he could see himself playing for the Bobcats)
I could see myself playing for any team. Charlotte would be nice. I got close friends out here; D.J.O. [Darius Johnson-Odom] from my team – he’s from Raleigh. His family’s right there, so I’ve got people I know. [Looks towards D.J. Augustin and Stephen Jackson at the other side of the court] A few Texas guys down there, so I could fit in.
(On the workout)
It went pretty good. It was competitive. Everyone played pretty well; it was a good workout.
(On the competition)
They’re all pretty good. It’s good competition. I mean, we’re all out here trying to get a job, so everyone’s out here working hard.
(On if his brother, Klay Thompson, who worked out for the Bobcats Sunday, gave him any advice)
I was a little mad because he got to see Michael Jordan and he got to talk to him. I wanted to meet him too, but it’s all good. He told me that it was a good workout; it’s pretty hard – just come out here and play hard and show them what we can do.
(On if his dad’s NBA experience will him in his process of working out and trying to make the NBA)
Definitely, because he’s gone through this process before, so he can give me pointers or give me tips and advice and just help me out in any way possible.
(On this workout in his schedule)
This has been my seventh.
(Who he’s worked out with so far and what’s upcoming)
The Nets twice, Knicks, Lakers, Warriors, Pistons and now, Charlotte. I think I have the Cavs coming up next, later this week but I’m not sure. They tell me day-to-day, so I go back to L.A. next.
(On how staying in school for four years has helped him in the process of working out for teams, trying to get drafted)
I think it’s just helped me become more mature and take in the process in a more mature way. I feel like I can understand what I’m going through maybe more than the younger kids.