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Wade Wouldn't Mind Staying Home

Dwyane Wade, Marquette’s first All-American in 25 years, was at the Berto Center on May 22 for a workout before the Bulls’ staff. The 6-4, 210-pound guard led the Golden Eagles to a Final Four birth in the 2003 NCAA Tournament, scoring a total of 51 points, 14 rebounds and 15 assists in victories over Pittsburgh and top-seeded Kentucky.

Wade earned Conference USA player of the year honors after averaging 21.5 ppg, 6.3 rpg and 4.4 apg in his second collegiate season. After his first workout with an NBA team, Wade met the media and below is what he had to say.

  • Click here to get a Bulls insider's thoughts on Wade.

    How did it go out there?

    It went good, it went really good. All the guys came to compete today. It was a good group and we all played hard.

    Did you have an idea of what it would be like?

    Just from what people have been telling me. I’ve been working out with Tim Grover at Hoops [the Gym] in Chicago. He’s been getting me prepared for stuff like this and I thought I was pretty prepared today. Everyone knows my [college] coach, Tom Crean, and he gets everyone prepared.

    Do you think your stock went up based on your performance in the tournament?

    From everything that I’ve heard, yeah. I played pretty good in the tournament and our team went far in the tournament. So I hope that it proved that I am a winner. I was a good player all year and we really won some big games.

    Were you thinking about that before the tournament began or were you just taking it one game at a time?

    I just took it one game at a time. I knew that I was the star of the team and the leader of the team so if I played well, the team would play well. I just tried to concentrate on practicing hard and carrying that over to the games.

    What kind of a workout was it today? Was it pick-up games or specific drills?

    No pick-up at all, mostly specific drills that they had us doing. We got into some competition, two-on-two and one-on-one and things like that.

    What are your expectations for the draft and would you want to come to Chicago?

    I have no idea where I am going to go and that’s why we do these workouts, so guys can evaluate you as a person and as a player. Every workout I go to I’m going to do my best. I’m a Chicago kid; I grew up watching the Bulls. All the guys on the championship teams I grew up watching, so it’s an honor for me to be here today.

    Given that it is a young team on its way up, do you think you’d be a good fit with the Bulls?

    I think I could be and I think I’d help the team. But that’s not my call; it’s the general manager’s call.

    For someone who says that you are kind of small, how do you respond and what do you bring to the table?

    I’m a basketball player. I play basketball. I may be smaller but I’ve got long arms and that makes up for it. I’m 6-4 ½ and I play with my heart more than I do my height.

    Does it seem funny that you would be coming into the NBA older than some of the younger guys already in the league?

    When you say it that way, it is kind of funny. I still see myself as young, but you’re right, some guys do come in at 18 years old. Carmelo Anthony played in college but he’ll still be 18. Guys like that are young but they’re talented and that takes them far.

    What part of your game are you going to work on this summer leading up to the draft?

    Every part. From my weakness in my outside shooting to my strong part in taking it to the hole.

    How many hours a day will you devote to that?

    When I’m not working out with a team, like I said, I’ll be working out with Tim Grover and he does a great job of getting us ready. Everyone knows about him for working with Michael Jordan and he does a great job.

    When you go to these workouts, do you try to show that you can play a couple of different positions in the backcourt?

    I try to show teams that I can handle the ball. I handled the ball all the time in college—that’s how I got my points. I just try to go out and prove I can play the game. If teams want me to be a two, I can be a two and if they want me to be a one, I’ll be a one.

    Did Coach Crean give you any advice on how to handle these workout sessions?

    He gave me a lot of advice, from a man’s standpoint and a coach’s standpoint also. He gave me a lot of advice and I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Coach Crean, so I listen to everything he tells me. I’m always going to be a part of Marquette so I’m just trying to represent them and do the best I can.

    You could have gone back to Marquette but you chose not to. Do you feel as if there wasn’t anything else you could do there?

    Not at all, I could have done more. If we had won a national championship, maybe it’s different. But we did go to the Final Four and had a great run over the last two years. Something inside of me wanted to go back but I had to do the best thing for me and my family: to live my lifelong dream out and come to the NBA and play with the best in the game. I’m here, and I’m ready to play.

    Was there ever a time where you thought going to Marquette might hurt your basketball career?

    Not at all. Marquette was the biggest school that recruited me anyway. I was happy to go to Marquette and it was a team that needed to be turned around. I looked at myself as a player that could come in and turn things around and I knew Coach Crean wanted to do the same thing. So to me, it was the perfect fit.

    What’s your dream, other than making it to the NBA?

    To be the best that I can be and to live up to the potential that God gave me. I’ve gotten better every year and I hope I can continue to get better. I’m 21 now and hopefully by the time I’m 25 I’ll be reaching my potential and I’ll be the best that I can be at my position. It will be tough, though, because there are a lot of great guys playing at both the two and one positions.

    Is your footwork on the court a part of your game that you stress and try to make better?

    It’s a part of the game where coach had me constantly, constantly working on. When I first played I got called for a lot of traveling because I was moving so fast. A lot of times in the gym it’s just a matter of getting the ball and creating space and getting comfortable with your footwork. It’s a lot of work but now its second nature to me so I just go out there and do it. I don’t get called for many travels any more so I guess all that hard work paid off.

    Is the footwork an underrated part of the game?

    It is—if you’ve got great footwork, it can take you a long way. Because your defenders don’t know which way you are going to go, only you do. When you can go either way, that’s what makes a good player.

    Is there a guy in the NBA who you resemble or who you would like to be like?

    I’ve been asked that question a lot and I don’t think my play resembles anyone else’s play a lot. Being in college, I haven’t watched a lot of NBA. I take a lot of things from different people and their games. I look up to a lot of the great shooting guards like Kobe Bryant, Paul Pierce and, of course, Michael Jordan. You look at the good players at a position and try to take some things from them to add to your own arsenal.

    Talent aside, do you bring some leadership qualities or other things that may give you an advantage over someone who might just be coming out of high school? What does college do for a player like you?

    College gives you a great experience. Guys coming right out of high school are talented; they wouldn’t make it to the NBA if they weren’t talented. It’s a long season—much longer than college—so you have to know how to take care of your body. But those guys learn from veterans just like I’ll learn from veterans. I will bring a lot of experience to the table, though, coming from a university like Marquette. I was taught a lot there, not just in basketball but from a man’s standpoint and a player’s standpoint.

    Have you talked to any NBA players for advice?

    Just the Chicago guys I know, like Darius Miles and Quentin Richardson. Now that I’m with [agent] Henry Thomas, I can also talk to guys like Tim Hardaway and Marcus Fizer. I’m still young, so if guys have advice or input for me I’ll try to use it. They’ve told me that it’s a different pace, just like high school is different from college, so you have to listen and learn and try to get things right on the first try.

    Speaking of learning, what are you going to do about school?

    I’m going to continue to go to school. Marquette has worked out something so I can keep taking classes while I try to graduate. I want my wife to graduate from Marquette and I know she does, too. We’re both trying to work it out as it’s in the best of both our interests.

  • Bulls Special Assistant to the EVP-Basketball Operations Gar Forman on Wade:
  • “We’ve had the chance to see Dwyane Wade play a lot because he’s a Chicago kid and he’s been right up the street at Marquette. So we feel like we know him and we know what his game is about. But what really jumped out at us in getting to know him is what a terrific, rounded kid he is. He was very impressive to our entire staff as far as his workout was concerned. He showed us everything he knew he was capable of from watching him over the last couple years. He’s a very talented player and he made a very positive impression on us.”

    On Wade’s pro position—at 6-4, is he a “combo guard”?
    “He’s got long arms and big hands, so he’s a guy who plays bigger than his size. So I don’t think his height is going to be a huge concern.”

    Dwyane Wade (Marquette)
    2001-02 32 32 223 458 .458 107 155 .690 211 110 79 36 571 17.8
    2002-03 33 33 251 501 .501 194 249 .779 209 145 71 43 710 21.5
    Totals 65 65 474 959 .494 301 404 .745 420 255 150 79 1281 19.7
    Three-point field goals: 2001-02, 18-for-52 (.346); 2002-03, 14-for-44 (.318). Totals: 32-for-96 (.333).