2 Big Men, Top-8 Potential
By Ben Couch
June 16, 2010
Nets assistant coach
That Udoh is already 23 after sitting out a year while transferring from Michigan to Baylor didn’t faze the Nets assistant, who quickly ended that line of questioning.
“Not really, he’s still young,” Barrise said. “We drafted Kenyon Martin. He was 23. He was pretty good.”
Also in the gym was Nevada guard Armon Johnson, who Barrise said had an “NBA body” and should be able to play both guard positions, though he enters the league as a slashing 2 and will have to adapt to point guard. He’s been climbing draft boards and should be selected somewhere between picks No. 25 and 35. Local product Edgar Sosa of Louisville (via NYC) also showcased his skills for Nets staff.
With a hat tip to Nets Marketing Assistant Dave M. Brown, along with PR Interns Bill Haug and Zach Dubin, take a look at our video recap of the day’s workouts.
NJNets.com: After winning Big East Rookie of the Year, do you think you’ll be able to emerge quickly in the NBA as well?
Greg Monroe: Just coming in and doing whatever I can to help whatever team I’m on. Rookies, sometimes they are asked to do a lot, sometimes they are asked to do a little. Whatever I am asked to do I will come in and do it to the best of my abilities and help a team out in a very good way.
NJNets.com: Your game has been compared to Lamar Odom’s – how’s that make you feel?
Greg Monroe: Lamar is a great player, a large part of his team, (and) a world champion. If I can have a career like he has, I think I will be doing pretty well for myself.
NJNets.com: Have you talked with any Georgetown alums about the draft process?
Greg Monroe: I have talked with a couple guys, since the season has ended, I have worked out with them as much as they can, they give me little tips, they are young so they remember everything that happened in the last year or two, They are still learning too, and that is just as important as them giving me tips, not only can they help me, but we can learn some things together, not only do they help me, but we talk on a daily basis.
NJNets.com: You won your teams Most Inspirational Player Award, what can you bring to a team other than your on court presence and contributions?
Armon Johnson: I definitely can be a leader in the locker room, on and off the court. I’m always trying to be a leader, and that’s something that helped me win that award. I take pride in being a leader for my teams.
NJNets.com: In your last season at Nevada, you shot below 70 percent from the free throw line. How have you been working to improve?
Johnson: That was really just a product of having a bad shooting season. I’m definitely a much better free throw shooter than that. I’ve been showing that at all these workouts, and that’s something that I’ve been trying to show. I’m actually glad that it happened because now everyone thinks I can’t shoot free throws. When they see me shooting good free throws at these workouts, they think how he shoot that percentage if he shoots so well. So I think it was actually good.
NJNets.com: In college, you got to the rim 4.26 times per game – how do you think that will translate at the NBA level?
Johnson: I definitely feel that attribute will translate because there’s a lot more space in the NBA. There’s not as much hand checking, so when I get into the paint I love to get to the rim. I feel like that number is going to go up because I love to get in the lane, I love to make plays, and I love the contact.
NJNets.com: After a subpar junior season, you came back with a very strong senior year, leading the team in assists and finishing second in points. What helped you improve?
Edgar Sosa: I just put it all out on the table, that’s what I do. I just worked as hard as I possibly could everyday. I took no days off, knowing that my senior year was my last chance to get my name out there and get opportunities for these workouts. I just worked really hard in the off-season before my senior year.
NJNets.com: How did Coach Pitino motivate you to become a better basketball player throughout your career at Louisville?
Edgar Sosa: If there’s anything I learned from playing for Coach P, it’s that you should never get bored with success. I think he does a pretty good job of making sure none of his players do that, because when you do that, it gives you a chance to not get better. Whenever you are playing well, he makes it so you can play even better, and that’s what Coach P has done for me.
NJNets.com: What did hitting the game-winner against Kentucky mean to you as a player?
Edgar Sosa: That meant so much to me. I was going through so much at that time as a basketball player and a person. My spirits were down, and nothing was really going good for me. It just so happens that I hit a game-winning shot versus our No. 1 rival. That game was on CBS and everyone in the Dominican Republic saw that, so it was great. It shows that as a person, when you think you’re down, you’re not really as down as you feel. When you’re high, you’re not really that high, everyone is going to see you that way, but it taught me to stay even-keel when things are going good and when things are going bad.
NJNets.com: Devin Harris is an All-Star point guard for the Nets – do you see any similarities between your game and his?
Edgar Sosa: It’s funny, because Coach P and the coaching staff got a chance to come out to some of the NBA training camps last summer, and they said that’s who I remind them of, (with) the way he comes off the pick-and-roll. So that’s somebody who I watched a lot. I think we have a lot of similarities, but if I can come out and just get the opportunity to play in this league and show the things I can do, I think I can fit in.