By Peter F. Stringer
June 18, 2007
WALTHAM - Kansas sophomore Julian Wright was in Waltham Monday as draft workouts resumed, and while Celtics fans would logically think "Paul Pierce" when considering a 6'7" Jayhawks swingman, Wright shot down the comparison.
"The closest is Danny Manning, he's now an assistant coach there. He was pretty tall and could do a lot of things, ballhandling and rebounding and a pretty good leader," Wright said. "That's who I looked up to when I was at Kansas."
Wright told reporters that he when he was deciding what teams he would work out for, he looked at several factors including the status and age of their roster. Wright called the Celtics a "pretty young squad."
"I look at the details, who they have, free agents, who's getting old, things like that. In terms of how I play, I'll just try to be as coachable as possible and as a rookie you don't demand too much. I just want to go in and be a good fit no matter where I go."
Executive Director of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge, who joked that he was ready for the draft "on the Final Four weekend" still isn't showing his cards with regard to whom he likes in this year's draft, or even exactly what he's looking for in a draft pick, but he did reveal that a rookie point guard is probably not in the plans this year.
"We've had some point guards in, but I don't see us drafting one with the #5 pick," Ainge said. "I just think our needs are different right now."
Speaking of point guards, Sun Yue, a 6'9" point guard and teammate of Yi Jianlian on the Chinese National Team, worked out against Wright today along with Keith Simmons from Holy Cross. Yue is expected to return Tuesday for another round of workouts with Boise State's Coby Karl (son of Nuggets Coach George Karl), Holy Cross' Torey Thomas, Indiana guard Roderick Wilmont and Cal State Fullerton senior point guard Bobby Brown.
As always, the workout schedule is subject to change. Simply scheduling workouts is a challenge by itself with the complications that injuries (a knee injury prevented Maryland forward Mike Jones from attending today's session), travel schedules and agents' strategies introduce as players try to maximize their time in the days leading up to the draft.
Meanwhile, Ainge's schedule is pretty full as well. He was in Washington D.C. to see Georgetown's Jeff Green on Friday, and while there was some concern that Green would opt to return to college, reports this afternoon indicated that he decided to remain in the draft. Prospects who had yet to hire an agent had until Monday afternoon at 5 p.m. to withdraw their names from the draft.
With that deadline past, it's also a possibility that players who conducted their own workouts who have decided to remain in the draft could visit Waltham for a private workout with the Celtics as well.