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Gay’s got something to prove

Connecticut forward averaged 15.2 ppg, 6.4 rpg and 2.1 apg as a sophomore

Rudy Gay There is no question that Rudy Gay has the talent and ability to be a big time playmaker in the NBA.
(Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Bulls Draft Central
Rudy Gay: College Profile | ESPN.com Profile

Posted June 21, 2006

If teams selected players solely on athleticism and upside, there is a good chance that UConn standout Rudy Gay would be the number one overall pick in NBA Draft 2006 on June 28. As seen in highlight reels found across the internet, the 6-foot-9 forward boasts an unbelievable ability to get to the basket, can jump out of the gym, and has remarkable size for his position. However, there are questions about whether or not he’ll reach his true potential. Gay does his best to ignore the experts who wonder how he’ll respond to the challenges that will present themselves at the next level, knowing that if he can become a consistent, passionate player, the sky is the limit.

Bulls.com sat down with Gay after his workout with John Paxson and his staff to discuss going up against Adam Morrison in pre-draft workouts, playing for a “stern” coach, and showing his aggressiveness.

Bulls.com: How’d your workout go?
Rudy Gay: “I think it went pretty well. I think that a lot of the drills that we did showcased some of my strengths.”

Bulls.com: What parts of your game come across well during workouts like these?
Gay: “I think the biggest thing is my ability to get to the basket and my athleticism around the basket.”

Bulls.com: What other teams have you worked out for?
Gay: “I’ve been to Charlotte, Portland and Minnesota. I’ve got Toronto scheduled for this week.”

Bulls.com: Do you pay much attention to mock drafts and what the experts say about where you might be selected?
Gay: “I think it’s best for me to ignore all of that stuff and just wait until draft night. I don’t want to be disappointed when it gets here after getting my hopes up for one situation or another. I’m just keeping everything kind of low key and not worrying about who likes me or not, because anything can happen.”

Bulls.com: How has it been for you to go head-to-head with Adam Morrison in a few of your pre-draft workouts?
Gay: “I think it adds a lot to both of our games. He’s a great player and he’s shown a lot. We were in two different scenarios coming in to the workouts—one where he’s shown a lot already and one where I feel like I’ve got a lot to show. I think it’s workouts like these where I feel I can show the most.”

Rudy Gay Gay meets the media outside of the Berto Center following his June 19 workout with the Bulls.

Bulls.com: How has coming from a strong college program and playing for Coach Jim Calhoun prepared you for playing in the NBA?
Gay: “It’s definitely gotten me ready. He’s a stern coach who really gets the best out of you. I think that when you get to the NBA, you’re more likely to turn into a great player coming from a program like UConn because you’ve had a lot of great players on your team and competed against them at the collegiate level. UConn was a great place for me to showcase my talents.”

Bulls.com: The knock on you is that you aren’t assertive enough and you need to be more aggressive. How do you respond to that?
Gay: “I think that is what these workouts are for, to show my assertiveness and for teams to see the knack I have for getting to the basket. That’s what I’m able to do in these workouts, and hopefully I’ve gotten the point across so far.”

Bulls.com: Have you talked with former UConn star Ben Gordon much throughout this process?
Gay: “I spoke to him before the season, but not since then. He basically said it’s one of the best jobs in the world to have, but you’ve got to work hard and pay your dues. He loves what he’s doing and where he’s at and wished me the best of luck with everything.”

Bulls.com: What’s your impression of John Paxson and Scott Skiles now that you’ve spent some time with them?
Gay: “They both seem like they are good guys who are serious about what they do. I think Coach Skiles is a stern coach, much like Coach Calhoun at UConn. I’d love to play for him. He wants to get the best out of his players, so that’s what he’s going to do.”

Bulls.com: Have you thought much about how you might fit in with the current roster here in Chicago?
Gay: “Not really. I think that this team has a versatile player in Luol Deng, but I think I could come in and do a lot of the same things that he does to help the team.”

— Adam Fluck | Bulls.com