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2007 Draft Workouts Begin For Bobcats

June 7, 2007

Charlotte's preparation for the 2007 NBA Draft began Thursday at the Presbyterian Hospital Training Center at Charlotte Bobcats Arena with Vanderbilt's Derrick Byars, Xavier's Justin Cage, Kansas State's Cartier Martin and Winthrop's Torrell Martin all participating in new Head Coach Sam Vincent's first predraft workouts with the Bobcats.

Byars averaged 14.8 points on 46.7 percent (337-722) shooting from the field and 40.0 percent (142-355) from three-point range while starting all 64 games in his junior and senior years at Vanderbilt. The 6-7, 220-pound guard/forward earned Honorable Mention All-America and All-SEC First Team honors while leading the Commodores with 17.0 points and was second on the team with 6.9 rebounds. Under Byarsí leadership, Vanderbilt advanced to the Sweet 16 in 2007 before a heartbreaking 66-65 loss to Georgetown. Byars began his collegiate career at Virginia, averaging 7.0 points and 3.1 rebounds in his first two years before sitting out the 2004-05 season after transferring to Vanderbilt.

Cage was a defensive standout at Xavier, making three straight Atlantic 10 Conference All-Defensive teams (2004-05, 2005-06, 2006-07), while ranking second all-time with 131 games played for the Musketeers, including 113-straight starts. The 6-6, 225-pound forward ranked fourth on the team with 10.5 points and second with 5.4 rebounds in his senior season, while helping the Musketeers to a berth and first-round win over BYU in the 2007 NCAA Tournament. He finished his career 26th on XUís all-time scoring list with 1,181 career points.

Cartier Martin led Kansas State with 17.1 points on .460 shooting (197-428) from the field and .386 shooting (78-202) from beyond the arc while playing primarily as a reserve in his senior season. He started just 18 of the Wildcats 35 games in 2006-07, but managed to score 20-or-more points in 13 games and was named the inaugural recipient of the Big 12ís Sixth Man of the Year award. The 6-7, 220-pound guard/forward is just one of three players in Kansas State history to top 1,500 points (1546) and 500 rebounds (540) in his career.

Torrell Martin is an athletic guard who doesnít have a problem finding his shot. He ranked second on Winthrop in scoring (14.5) and rebounding (5.7) in 2006-07 and raised his game in the NCAA Tournament, totaling 35 points and 23 rebounds in two games for the Big South Champions, including a 20-point, 11-rebound effort in a 74-64 win over sixth-seeded Notre Dame in the first round. He scored 1,387 points in his four-year career at Winthrop and was selected to the All-Big South Conference First Team after his junior season. He also was voted Big South Tournament MVP after his sophomore and junior seasons.

Vincent, Byars and Torrell Martin all spoke with the media after the workouts:

(On the Bobcats first draft workout)

I thought we saw some good stuff. You know, itís our first workout. The guys came in with a lot of energy. We put them through a variety of different drills, trying to watch their speed. We put them through some agility testing, but I thought for the most part, they were pretty good.

(Did anything stick out to you? What did you think of Torrell Martin, a local kid?)
Well, you know weíre trying to come up with a way to evaluate these guys 1-4, and obviously some guys will stand out more than others. Each of the coaches are allowed to select a guy that they really thought stood out the most, and to me, today I thought Torrell was the guy. His conditioning was a little better than the other guys. I really like his shot, and his foot-speed is really good, so I thought he was the one guy that really stood out in my mind. But (Derrick) Byars did a pretty good job. He did what he did in college Ė he shot the ball pretty well. And (Cartier) Martin I thought also kind of stood out. And Justin (Cage) played okay, but itís hard to evaluate guys totally in one performance. So weíre not really trying to make any final decisions based on one performance. Itís just a chance for us to see the guys, to see some of the things they do, and get a feel for them.

(Are we to read anything in to coach (Lee) Rose and (Phil) Ford being here?
Well Coach Ford, his contact is finished. Heís definitely going to be one of the assistant coaches coming in. Lee Rose, we expect him to be done sometime in the next couple of days, conversations and communications are going very well. We think both of those guys, Lee and Phil, add a lot to what we are developing in terms of the coaching staff. And then weíve got a couple of more guys that we are going to add on over the next week or so.

(On if Buzz Peterson is in the mix)
Buzz is in the mix, (but he) probably wonít be on the coaching staff. Heís going to be involved in the organization. We feel like Buzz adds a lot of value from a lot of the collegiate stuff heís done, and just his overall basketball knowledge. But heíll be involved. I havenít spoken to Michael (Jordan) specifically on what his title is going to be yet, but Iím sure heíll be a part of the organization.

(And then coach Jeff Capel and Gary Kloppenburg?)
Weíre still talking to those guys. This has given me a chance to kind of evaluate them from the court Ė given me a chance to see how they work with the guys. Iím evaluating them and weíre looking to a final decision in the next few days.

(How much did you know about (the previous three coaches) before you got this job?)
Iíve know a lot about Coach Capel, and I coached against him Ė (Vincentís) Mobile Revelers actually beat (Capelís) Fayetteville Patriots, and thatís how we won a D-League Championship. I knew about him before that. Phil Ford Ė everybody knows Philís history as a player and as a coach in the league. I played against Lee Rose back in the day, so I knew his background. Klop Ė Iím familiar with him. This coaching staff is about creating a balance, first of all. I want collegiate experience, I want pro experience, I want youth, all so that we are able to really provide everything that we need for these players to be able to develop properly and go into the games prepared to play and win.

(On his workout process)
Well, one thing that Iíll add is probably a little bit more energy. A big part of what I want to do here early on is just watch and see some of the things they did last year. That gives me a chance to evaluate what Iím going to continue with and what changes I want to make. I think these guys have done, like I mentioned a couple of times, just an incredible job of getting this team to where it is. I donít want to come in and start throwing all the blocks down Ė I would prefer to see whatís good, whatís solid, what we can build on and then make the necessary improvements. Today was the first step of that. I thought we had a good format in place, a good structure in place. (Saturday) weíll do some things different, and weíll keep on working to improve.

(On how much he used Bernie Bickerstaffís format)
When we sat down and went through exactly what the workouts are going to be, I felt like there were some more ball-handling skills that needed to be incorporated, and there were some more shooting drills that I wanted to see incorporated. So we kind of worked off the previous format but we added some things to it, and thatís going to be our plan throughout the year. Weíll continue to evaluate some of the stuff they did last year, whether its offensive, defensive, or whatever it is. Weíll pick up the pieces Ė the real strong pieces Ė and then weíll build on that and make it a little stronger.

(Bernie was big on trying to exhaust guys in their workouts to see how they would reactÖ)
Well, we tried to modify that a little bit. I would prefer instead of driving the guys to complete exhaustion, to get them tired and see how they respond to situations where they are tired. But more importantly, see how they finish the drills. So I was really happy to see Torrell Ė even though he got tired, I thought he had a good workout. He was real fatigued there at the end, but he still kept at it and made the seven jumpshots to finish the workout. That was important, just to see a guyís drive at the end of a drill.

(To be sure, Phil (Ford) and Lee (Rose) are going to be on the staff?)
Phil and Lee will be on the staff. Nothing else has been finalized. I really like the work that Jeff Capel does, and I feel really comfortable with his relationship with the players and his ability to be a solid part of the continuation process. Today we will sit down and evaluate his work. I like Jeff and I know he is a great coach. I like the fact that he is a product of this area. He is a guy that I am strongly leaning towards.

(On who will be working out on Saturday)
Saturday we have another group of guys. I believe Joakim Noah is in that group, along with some other good players. But we have good players throughout. Today we had four guys, I think on Saturday we have five. They are all guys that we are serious about taking a look at. I donít know if they are eighth or 22nd picks, but maybe they are guys that we look at for the summer league, or in free agency, or maybe they are guys that we just eyeball to know who they are.

(On how many total players will eventually workout)
I think we will have an excess of 20. We will probably end up totaling around 28 guys, somewhere in that area.

(On the possibility that they may not get to work out every player that they want to)
We feel good about that. We may not have a chance to see everybody that we want to see. But right now, we are identifying with the eighth pick to see who the five or six guys are that we want to have on the board for the eighth pick. After that, we want to see who the five or six guys are that we want to see on the board for the 22nd pick. If out of those 12 guys, we see nine of them there, thatís pretty good. Not only are we looking at the basketball stuff, but we are having dinner with these guys to get a chance to get a feel for their personalities, and we are interviewing them to get a chance to know a little bit more about them. All of this gives us a better educated guess when we go into draft night.

(On working out Jeff Green, who hasnít committed to the draft yet)
One of our scouts probably will go to Georgetown to take a look at him. I donít know if anybody from our coaching staff will, but weíll send somebody up to take a look at him. Weíre following that very closely. That will have some bearing on our decision. Weíll want to know whatís going on with him for sure.

(On players not coming to work out for certain teams because they believe they will be drafted ahead of that teamís spot, and if he has encountered that yet)
Thatís going to happen. I havenít had that specific conversation with Kenny (Williamson), and I know heís still working through the process of talking to agents. I donít even know if weíve completed our full workout schedule. For some guys who are projected to go early and know they are going to go early, thereís nothing but downside for them to go out and do these workouts. Even if they come in and donít work out, but we have a chance to interview them and take them out to dinner and get a feel for who they are as a person, then itís still worth it to us. Weíre still encouraging those guys to come in. Itís not about the basketball, we know youíre a good player, but we want to know who you are as a person.

(On if he believes that there are no clear-cut selections from picks 3-10)
I would agree with that. I think the draft is deep. I think that if youíre sitting at home and thinking that you donít have go to these workouts, you can slide from three to 12. I think the guys that are coming in and showing what they have are the guys that are going to move up in the draft. I would really caution any player from staying home and avoiding the workouts all together. Even if it is a chance to just come in and meet-and-greet and say hello, I think it is important to do.

(On what philosophy he takes going into the workouts)
For me, itís a clean slate. For my scouts, it might be a little bit different. Kenny (Williamson) and I had that conversation. Iím going to defer to my scouts over my one workout perspective. It is the scoutsí responsibility to follow these guys throughout the course of their season. It is their responsibility to understand their character and personalities, to contact their coaches, and to compile more information than the one workout that Iím going to see. In that one workout, I may get a feel for a kidís speed, or how hard he works, or how quick he picks up the drills. Iím going to put the deciding factor more in the hands of our scouts because their responsibility is to know these players.

(On if there is one certain quality in a basketball player that he values most)
No. Truthfully not. Itís a combination. I wouldnít say length versus speed, speed versus agility, or agility versus worth ethic. I think itís a combination. Weíre not just looking for the most athletic guys, weíre looking for the guys that are going to come and dig in, show that they have a strong worth ethic, show that they have the I.Q. to understand what we are trying to do offensively and defensively, and then also show that they have the ability to go out and make plays on the floor. Thatís really a combination of a variety of different skill sets.

(On the summer league)
Weíre going to Orlando. Weíre working on completing the roster now. Itís probably about 70 percent full. We are going to keep some spots open just in case somebody blows in the wind that we decide we want to take a look at. Weíll have a competitive team, and it will give me a chance to see some of the young guys. Guys like Ryan Hollins, who I want to take a look at. Iíll see if I canít convince one of the veterans to play, maybe someone like Alan Anderson or somebody who has their deal done. For me, the summer league is important because it gives me a chance to evaluate where some of these guys are.

(Are Hollins and Anderson the only existing guys that you think will go?)
I havenít reached out to guys like Adam Morrison to get a feel for whether or not he would, but I will. My thing is to encourage them to not see this as some kind of labor-ish event, but more importantly, a chance for them to get on the court and to work to continue to improve their game. So, it really should be a good exercise versus being a chore.

(On todayís workout)

For the most part, I hung in there, showed some of my strengths and I feel confident Ė I thought I did a good job out there.

(On how many workouts he has had)
This is my third workout in a row, in three days. Thatís what the job requires though. When guys get to the next level, they play and fly out the same night and play the next day, so I have to get used to it. Iím looking forward to the next one.

(On where he goes from Charlotte)
I go to Washington, D.C. and Iím going to showcase what I have for the Wizards, so Iíll see how that goes. Iím proud and thankful that the Charlotte Bobcats organization invited me in.

(On who else he has worked out for)
So far I have worked out for the Knicks and the Nets, which was a joint workout, and the Philadelphia 76ers.

(On if heís being told he might go mid to late first round)
Not necessarily, I donít know exactly where Iím going. All of my workouts are geared towards first round teams. The Bobcats pick at 8 and 22, so Iím just trying to give myself the best shot and maximize my opportunity to get picked in the first round.

(On what he knows about the Bobcats and how he thinks he could fit in)
I know a lot about this team. Obviously, a few years into the league, they have a lot of youth, but they have formidable weapons out there with Raymond Felton at the point, (Emeka) Okafor and (Sean) May down low. Obviously, (Adam) Morrison is an exciting player, and Gerald Wallace as well. They are a young team with a high-powered offense, and Iím looking forward to bringing what I have to the table if I get the opportunity.

(You wouldnít mind being on a high-powered offense the way you like to shoot, right?)
Not at all. Thatís what I am. Iím a young, 23-year-old guy, and I can get up and down with the best of them.

(On what it was like having Michael Jordan watching the workout)
You canít put that into words, but you have to keep everything in perspective and realize why youíre out here. Everybody knows he is with this organization and heís evaluating your talent. You looked up to him and watched him play all your life and the table has turned, and itís a great feeling.

(On the Bobcats workout compared to other teamsí workouts)
This was a hard workout. It was a typical NBA workout. There were a lot of drills, and it was definitely as hard as the other ones I have been through already.

(On todayís workout)

It was tough, but it was amazing. It was fun, there was a lot of energy involved and I had a good time out there. It was my first workout and it was definitely more than I expected.

(On what it felt like to have Michael Jordan watching the workout)
When he said my name, I felt like rockets came to my feet. You have to keep your composure in situations like this, but I know Iím not the only one in the world who idolized Michael Jordan growing up. Seeing him definitely gave me a spark, I think I hit my next 10 shots. (laughs)

(On the possibility that he played harder because it is the hometown team)
No sir, that wasnít a factor. Every time I step out onto the court, I try to go harder than everyone else out on the court.

(On the good and bad things about his own personal workout)
I thought I ran well, I knocked down a couple of shots, and I thought I defended okay. I thought I needed to be a little bit more consistent with my jump shot, and I needed to monitor my footwork a little bit on some of the drills.

(Has it hit you yet that college is over and now youíre entering the next phase?)
When I saw Michael Jordan up top (watching from the balcony), I believe thatís when it first hit me. Itís real life now.

(Head Coach Sam Vincent said that he thought you had the best workout today. What does that mean to you?)
Iím actually hearing that first from you, and thatís great news. The guys that Iím here with are great players. Everyone has a great shot, great footwork and great athletic ability. I try to go harder than everyone else, so maybe that stuck out a little bit to him.

(On what it was like seeing Michael Jordan up top)
I was missing a couple of shots and I heard him say, ďTorrell, any closer and youíll be shooting layups!Ē (laughs) After that, I got some rockets on my feet and I hit seven straight. So, it was definitely a boost seeing Michael Jordan up there.