An exclusive first-person account from Kansas forward Drew Gooden
June 5: I had a great team for my last year at Kansas and we had a great season. Going to the Final Four was one of the greatest atmospheres I've ever been in and yet it happened so fast. It was like, one game and then we were back home, but it was a great atmosphere.
I learned a lot this year, learned how to play through a lot of adversity as far as a lot of people watching me and high expectations as far as my play and just trying to perform well each game.
It was a tough decision to leave school, but ultimately it came down to knowing that this was my dream. This has been a dream of mine to play in the NBA and it was close, it was within arm's reach so I needed to make a decision. Everything isn't promised as far as next year, so I decided to make the jump and follow my dream.
Gooden chats with the media after his workout with the Bulls.
I think this whole year kind of prepared me for all the pre-draft attention, knowing that a lot of people were watching and a lot of people had expectations. A lot of people have got a lot of positive things to say and a lot of people have a lot of negative things to say. So I'm just trying to do what's best for my family and do what's best for me, kick back, relax and wait for the draft, try to stay away from it.
I've got a younger brother, who's 14 and a younger sister, who's 12. They're very excited. My little sister, she doesn't like basketball so she doesn't know what's going on, but she's happy for me. My younger brother, he knows what's going on so he's really proud of me and so are my father and my mother.
Lately, I've been working out about two times a day, basically getting prepared for these NBA workouts. I worked out for the Bulls, Grizzlies, Golden State and Houston.
Houston, it was a great workout. I worked out with Chris Christoffersen, Tayshaun Prince and Amare Stoudemire. We did a lot of shooting and played a little bit of one on one in the post, did a lot of post moves. Coach Rudy T and the coaching staff were great guys.
Chicago, I wouldn't say it was hard, but it was long. Two hours in the morning with physical testing, an hour and a half of playing against each other and then another two hours of psychological testing.
For Golden State, the Warriors' practice facility is right down the street from my house. I didn't even have to fly in and stay in a hotel. I just woke up in the morning, had a driver come pick me up and went and worked out. I think that was probably my best workout. It was me, Casey Jacobsen, Melvin Ely and Elvin Mims.
Memphis, that was quick, I was in and out. I flew in the first day, ate dinner with Jerry West and some of the coaching staff. That was a great experience just being around one of the NBA greats and he told me that he was very interested in me and if I was available when they were picking, they'll take me. Basically that released some pressure as far as me trying to perform well in the workout. I performed well -- I didn't shoot the ball like I planned, but I did a good job.
I just finished my last workout with Memphis and I'm going to the Chicago camp now and weigh in, get my official height and weight and take it from there.