|Adams finished his collegiate career as Arizona's seventh all-time leading scorer with 1,818 points.|
That’s what Nets rookie Hassan Adams told himself after he broke his right foot during a pre-draft workout in New Jersey on June 20th.
That’s what he told himself when his stock began to fall leading up to the 2006 NBA Draft and ended up getting selected in the second round instead of the first as many expected.
“I’m not saying if I didn’t break my foot I would have gone higher,” Adams said after a workout at the Nets practice facility. “I’m here for a reason. They picked me for a reason.”
The reason is the Nets needed to add depth to a bench that was outscored by their opponents 28.2 to 20.4 per contest last season.
“We thought we needed to get a little bit different mixture off the bench,” Head Coach Lawrence Frank said. “We needed to add some high-energy guys off the bench.”
Adams earned First Team All-Pac-10 honors his senior season at Arizona. He led the conference in steals (2.6 spg), ranked third in scoring (17.5 ppg) and is the only player in Pac-10 history to record 1,800 points, 700 rebounds and 200 steals in a career.
“I bring a great attitude and positive energy. In this league, every team can use some energy,” Adams said. “When things are going bad, I try to be a guy to pick everything up because it’s a long season.
“It’s going to be exciting playing here with Vince (Carter) and RJ (Richard Jefferson).”
Even though Jefferson graduated two years before Adams entered Arizona, the two former Wildcats developed a strong bond over time that Adams referred to as being like a “family.”
“Players like Rich and Luke (Walton) really care about you and want to make sure you represent Arizona well,” Adams said. “To have another Arizona guy (on the team) takes a little bit of the pressure off because he knows where you are coming from.”
At Arizona, Adams made a name for himself at the shooting guard position. He led the team in scoring in both his sophomore and senior seasons. But in the Nets’ up-tempo offensive system, Coach Frank thinks the 6-foot-4 Adams could see time at the two forward positions as well.
“What we are probably going to see in the NBA is teams playing smaller or at least playing with a shooting four-man,” Frank said. “There aren’t a lot of dominant bigs in the game. Hassan brings some versatility and can help us at a couple different positions.”
Adams doesn’t care where he plays as long as he can help the team win.
“I never label myself as a number, I always label myself as a basketball player,” Adams said. “Whatever Coach Frank tells me to do, I’ll do it.”
Right now Adams is limited in what he can do as he continues to recover from the foot injury. While Marcus Williams and Josh Boone, the Nets’ first-round picks in 2006, gained valuable experience participating in the 2006 Pepsi Pro Summer League in July, Adams was unable to play and is still restricted from doing certain activities until his foot is completely healed.
“Patience is a virtue,” Adams declared. “They want me to gradually get back into it and not go from one to 10. I just have to take it day by day.”
Everything happens for a reason.