NEW YORK, June 25 -- Duke forward Mike Dunleavy wasn't just posturing these last two months about his indecision when it came to declaring for the draft as a junior. And he can prove it. He doesn't have his draft day suit yet.
"I've taken a while, as everybody knows, to make my decision and I kind of got on the whole suit train a little late," Dunleavy said. "I'm actually going this afternoon. There's a couple designs I've liked and we choose a color and the whole outfit. But I haven't figured that out. It's just kind of a wait-and-see. Hopefully it will fit."
Qyntel Woods stayed mum on the subject of his suit.
Last week, Kansas forward Drew Gooden refused to reveal any details on his duds and Northeast Mississippi CC forward Qyntel Woods followed suit (pun totally intended). Woods would only say that he has it and it fits. But other prospects were willing to give us a sneak peek.
"It's a medium brown," was the best description Stanford center Curtis Borchardt could come up with. "The ladies who designed it, I told them they could surprise me because I didn't really care. It looks really nice. I feel big in it. The shoulders are all wide and I really haven't had any suits before in my life. It's neat but it's going to take a little getting used to."
"I've got two suits," Indiana forward Jared Jeffries said. "I'm going try them on tonight and see which one I like the best. Probably my mother, whatever she rolls with is what I'll go with also." Maybe he could share the other one with Dunleavy?
"My suit is nice, a nice little silver-brownish, pinstripes, cream shirt, brown tie, brown shoes," Missouri guard Kareem Rush explained. "I'm a good dresser so I'm going to look nice."
"My suit is black with small gray pinstripes," Stanford guard Casey Jacobsen said. "My shoes are what make my outfit. I've got black and white wingtips, so look out for those, all right?"
That's what's known as putting your best foot forward for draft night.
Just Don't Call Him Late for Supper
Not since Prince became that funky symbol has a name change attracted as much attention as Jay "Please Don't Confuse Me with the Other Two" Williams. At Tuesday's media availability, Williams finally set the record straight once and for all.
"The story, for those who don’t know it, is: My marketing guy, Bill Sanders, came up with the idea after the season was just over," Williams explained. "I knew Bill was going to be my agent – maybe we should call you Jay since everybody called you Jay anyway. It should be Jay Williams, not change the name, but use the nickname.
"I thought we should hold off on that at the time. I wanted to get myself set first. Then I had to go to this thing for (NBA TV), and when the interview was over, I went to Bill and told him it sounded like a good idea, but we should wait a while.
"This reporter from The New York Times overheard us talking, and the next day it was on the front page. Then people are calling me about changing my name. My friends are calling me 'The artist formerly known as Jason.' They’re asking me about a sign or whatever. Listen, my name is Jason, but people call me Jay. That’s all."
Casey Jacobsen said he just felt comfortable with certain teams.
The consensus among the prospects on the most unexpectedly challenging aspect of the pre-draft process was the amount of travel involved. Sure, it offered the potential future professional hoopsters a glimpse into the rigors of the coast-to-coast NBA schedule. But it was a lot of pressure for the prospects to fight through the jet lag and try to perform their best in front of coaches and GMs, especially those who were coming off rigorous academic schedules as well.
"I stayed a full-time student at Stanford so I ended up going straight from my finals to Chicago (for pre-draft camp)," Curtis Borchardt said. "And I couldn't work out with any of my teams before then so I went from Chicago to eight teams in the last 12 days. So it's kind of been a whirlwind, but still a positive experience."
The thing about those Stanford boys, is they're always trying to outdo each other.
"Well, I had 12 workouts," Casey Jacobsen sighed at the memory. "So looking back upon my 12 workouts, they all blur together. It's like, you kind of just spill them all together and it feels like I did one giant workout that lasted like two weeks."
But Jacobsen doesn't win the frequent flier award. That goes to Kentucky guard Tayshaun Prince, who participated in 15 pre-draft workouts.
The geezer of the Green Room position this year will be held by Melvin Ely, a 22-year old forward/center out of Fresno State, who is the oldest of the draft prospects invited to New York and the only senior. So the team that selects Ely will have to forgive him if he's at first a little homesick. After living in Fresno for the last five years, the Harvey, Ill. native calls it home and says he wouldn't want to live anywhere else -- his new team's city, of course, not withstanding.
Ely's also not one of those players clawing at the door to get out of school. "I loved every part of my time at Fresno State," he said. This despite missing the first six games of his senior season for taking improper benefits. "Even when I got suspended, good came out of that," Ely explained. "Coach (Jerry Tarkanian) told me to take it out on the other team."
Ely did just that to the tune of 23.3 points per game, leading the Western Athletic Conference in scoring and ranked fifth in the nation.
In Any Language: Pull Shaq Off the Blocks
Nikoloz Tskitishvili says he looks up to Kevin Garnett for playing with a lot of heart.
International prospect Nikoloz Tskitishvili didn't look overly imposing at Tuesday's media session -- until he stood up. The Italian League forward stands a full seven feet, although he weighs in at just 225 pounds -- about 100 fewer than Shaquille O'Neal who's just an inch taller. But when asked if he would be looking to put on some weight once he got to the NBA, Tskitishvili expressed some reluctance.
"I need it but not too much," he said. "But not like Shaquille. Maybe I can't post up Shaquille, but I can take him outside."
Tskitishvili sees himself as anywhere from a two to a four on the court, but assured the doubters he also has an array of inside moves.
He shouldn't have too much trouble adapting to the American culture off the court either. Tsktiishvili already has the English language pretty well down, the result of joining KK Slovan in 2000 and not being able to speak Slovenian. There were, however, enough people on the team who spoke English which Tskitishvili decided it would be easier to learn, so he did that first. But within a year, he could converse in both languages. He is also fluent in Italian, Serbian and Bosnian.