PJ Hairston, Thanasis Antetokounmpo Make Rounds at NBA Draft Combine
Fifty-nine 2014 NBA Draft prospects made the rounds at the Palmer House Hilton Hotel in Chicago on Wednesday, moving from interview to interview at the NBA Draft Combine's media circuit. Only two could say they had already played professional basketball.
After a season in the NBA D-League, Texas Legends guard PJ Hairston and Delaware 87ers forward Thanasis Antetokounmpo are now taking the rare path straight to draft day -- a trail blazed by Glen Rice Jr. last season after he won an NBA D-League title with RGV and became a second-round pick of the Wizards three months later.
This season's representation is even stronger, given Hairston's UNC pedigree and projected-lottery-pick status and Antetokounmpo's cult hero of a younger brother (Bucks rookie Giannis Antetokounmpo). Each said he felt more prepared for the daunting transition ahead because of their experience in the NBA's minor league.
"It got me ready for the next level," Hairston said. "I played against guys that had either played in the NBA or were trying to make a team in the NBA, so the guys that were there were hungry, as well. Those guys played hard every night."
"It was really fun -- we were really competitive," said Antetokounmpo. "The staff and the coaches helped me a lot. It was my first year in the states -- different basketball, different language; it was really different. They really helped me adjust."