POINT GUARDS HIGHLIGHT BOBCATS WORKOUTS
Felton had 10 assists in his debut with the Tar Heels and hasnít looked back. The player behind the high-scoring national champs won the Bob Cousy Award as the countryís top point guard after being 10th in Division I with 6.9 assists per game. But Felton also knows what to do when his teammates arenít open. He put up 12.9 points and was the teamís most reliable long-range shooter, connecting on three-pointers at 44 percent.
Although McCantsí scoring average tapered off from 20 points as a sophomore to 16 points as a junior, Feltonís backcourt partner is still wanted for his shooting touch. Last year he took 11.3 shots per game - more than anyone else on the team - and made 48.9 percent of them. His 71 three-pointers were one more than Felton for the team lead, shooting those at 42.3 percent.
The success of Williamsí Fighting Illini can be chalked down as a success for him. He was the floor leader for an Illinois team that tied the NCAA record with 37 wins, held the No. 1 ranking most of the season and went to the first national championship game in school history. Last year, he easily led the Big Ten with 6.8 assists, a mark that was 11th in the country. Williams elevated his game in the NCAA tournament to 14.7 points and 8.3 assists as he finished second in Illinois history in assists.
Hodge has a chance to be the first draft pick from North Carolina State since 1996 after leading the Wolfpack to its best postseason showings since 1987. The Atlantic Coast Conference Rookie of the Year was twice named to the All-ACC first team, getting player of the year honors in 2004. In his senior campaign, the versatile Hodge put up 17 points and grabbed 6.6 rebounds while ranking fourth in the league with 4.8 assists per game. Heís only the third ACC player to collect 2,000 points, 400 assists and 700 rebounds.
The players and Bobcats General Manager and Head Coach Bernie Bickerstaff met with BobcatsBasketball.com after the workouts:
BOBCATS GENERAL MANAGER & HEAD COACH BERNIE BICKERSTAFF
That was probably the most competitive group that weíve had in here. Unfortunately McCants ended up with a left hamstring strain during the conditioning phase. This group will be on NBA rosters. There is no doubt about it. They will contribute in the National Basketball Association. We really liked the competitiveness of this group.
(on McCants) He was in great shape. Everything is easy for him. There is no doubt that this guy is one of the best athletes, basketball players, in the draft. There are no reservations about that. I think that would be the consensus with everyone.
(on the point guards) (Williams) is a very good basketball player. With him, you talk about strength and understanding of the game. It got real competitive out here with the matchups. Felton certainly didnít hurt himself. Heís very strong. He may be small, but heís strong. He has the ability to use his body around the basket Ė to bump people and get them off balance.
(on Hodge) This guy is tough Ė mentally and physically. He just keeps coming after you. I think he is moving up (in the draft). He is one of the toughest guys that Iíve been around. With some of the things that he went through at North Carolina State and how he surmounted those things, heís just tough. Hereís a guy who really doesnít have great range, but somehow he manages to get it done and just keeps coming after you. I look at him as a basketball player. A guy who because of his defensive toughness could really help a team in terms of getting you possessions.
(on comparing Chris Paul and Williams) Theyíll both be top-flight NBA players, in my opinion, before it is all said and done. Deron is a little bigger size-wise. Heís able to get separation with his strength in that mid-range game. Paul has a little more finesse in that area. They are different in that aspect of the game. But they are both very, very good players. I donít think you can exclude Felton in that situation when you talk about point guards.
(on whether Felton fits in with Paul and Williams) The guys are all good basketball players and I think they are all going to continue to develop as basketball players. Felton needs to slow down just a little, but his shooting was consistent. He did the same thing on his shots. Heís very strong. He just probably needs to slow down. If you remember (Tony) Parker when he came into the league. I guess sometimes we expect players to be there at this point and I think itís called development and patience with young players. Certainly the skills are there.
(on where Felton, Jarret Jack, Paul and Williams will be drafted) I think they will be lottery picks and will be contributors. Weíve got to make a decision based on basketball talent and how they fit. At this point, I think weíve got another week to subterfuge right now. Jack is a pretty good basketball player. There are some young men out there in the second round I think have a chance, weíre just not romantically involved with them right now.
(on finally being close to playing in the NBA) Itís a blessing. This is a dream come true. Iím living a dream right now.
(on McCantsí injury) Rashad is the type of guy that doesnít back down from nothing. When he went down, I knew he was in some pain.
(on where he will be drafted) I probably wonít go past seven, but you never know.
(on why Bobcats should draft him) Iím just a guy who loves to win. Iím going to go out there and do whatever it takes to win.
(on whether playing in North Carolina matters) Of course itís a great place, itís two and a half hours from my hometown and two and a half hours from Chapel Hill. This would be a wonderful place, but at the same time, wherever I get drafted, Iím going to be happy because I just want a chance to get drafted and play in the NBA.
(on whether his size should be a factor) Iíve proven on the college level and Iíve proven in these workouts that there shouldnít be anything said about that.
(on the workout) I thought it went well. I just came in here and wanted to perform the best I could and I think I did that. I played hard and tried to do everything I could to help myself.
(on if he will be drafted in the three, four, five range) I hope in that range. Thatís the plan, but you can never tell whatís going to go on between now and the draft. Iím not a draft analyst. I just have to workout and canít worry about all that. I just have to try to perform my best and do what I can to help myself between now and the draft.
(on whether his size will be a factor in being picked over Felton) I think so. I think I definitely have the upper hand there. I have the size and the strength. So, that definitely works in favor of me.
(on what advantages Felton has) His quickness and his ability to push the ball. Heís a little bit faster. People think Iím slow, but thatís not the case. Heís definitely quick, especially with the ball.
(on whether he would like to play in Charlotte) Definitely. Itís a young team. I think they have a lot of building to do, but I definitely think I can help that. Pairing me with Emeka would be great.
(on his hamstring injury) I never hurt it before today. I went through the agility and conditioning side of the workout, which was like the first 45 minutes. I was finishing up the last drill when it just kind of hit me.
(on his workout before the injury) I was on my way to a great workout. Itís just bad luck, karma, something. But unfortunate things happen, you just have to bounce back as soon as possible.
(on whether he has been disappointed in not making it through workouts) For the most part. I always get off to a great start and then early in the workouts for Toronto and Orlando it was my stomach. I finished Portland and Minnesota workouts. I came down here and then something that Iíve never done before happens.
(on what the teams are saying about workouts) My agent is telling me great things from every team that Iíve worked out for Ė that everybody liked me. There is no question about my ability or any kind of illness or anything like that. In due time, the draft comes.
(on where he will be picked) I think pretty much between 12 and 17.
(on whether he should go higher) I believe so, but with this whole attitude thing in the way itís kind of hard. I think some teams need different players. Youíve just got to play it the way it is.
(on where he should be picked) Realistically? I would love to come to Charlotte either five or 13. Five is probably not realistic because there are a lot of good point guards that they need out there. Probably 12 to the Clippers or 13 or 14 to Charlotte or Minnesota.
(on how he would fit in with the Bobcats) I think it would be a great situation for me and the city of Charlotte. A North Carolina kid coming back home and bringing a lot of fan base. As a shooter, I think I can definitely fit in and help Emeka, Gerald and Brezec.
(On the workout) Iím really impressed with my performance in this workout. I think I really came out and showed my skill set. Of course when we start competitive play, I always tend to excel and I think today I did the same thing.
(on whether he will be picked in the first round) I donít really like to get too much into my draft status. Iím the type of guy that goes into the workout and continues to try and climb the ladder.
(on whether being invited to Chicago to take a physical is a sign of moving into the first round) I guess if not playing in Chicago but going there and taking my physical is a sign of me being a first-rounder then I hope that is true. All I can do is continue to work. You never know until draft night, so that is why I go into every workout giving it 110 percent and outfight guys.
(on hearing that heís been moving up in the draft) From the reports from numerous GMís, head coaches and my boy Chad Ford, itís been looking good. Iíve been climbing the ladder and I just want to continue to do so. I donít want to count my chickens before they hatch, but Iíve been playing really well in these workouts and Iím going to continue to do so. Iím going to go to the workouts and play hard no matter what. Everybody has bumps and bruises right now. This is like my 16th or 17th workout and my body is feeling a little achy, but Iím going to go to every workout and Iím going to workout no matter what.
(on has he gained weight) Iím about 205 still. Iíve put on about five pounds. Iím not a guy who is going to have a Ben Wallace frame. Iím going to be small like Reggie (Miller) or Rip (Richard Hamilton), but Iím going to be strong. I know in Chicago I put up (bench pressed) 185 (pounds) more than any guy at my position.