Nets Open 2010 Draft Workouts
By Ben Couch
June 4, 2010
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J.—Dominique Jones was tired. Having just completed the third of three consecutive workouts, the ninth of his nascent draft process, Jones sat in a padded chair at the PNY Center, sweating out the wait as a Nets staffer returned with an offered sports drink.
The combo guard out of South Florida performed well during Friday’s morning workout, run by Nets assistant coach Tom Barrise. Jones, the Big East’s reigning scoring champ (21.4 PPG), attempted to showcase the point guard skills and defense he’s hoping can build his draft stock.
“Jones is a tough nut,” Barrise said. “He’s a competitive guy and he’s got a scorer’s mentality. He had a very good year in South Florida, playing on a marginal team in a big-time league. But his feistiness and competitiveness (rank as) one of his NBA skills.”
Barrise went on to say that while Jones could play some point, he’s more of a scoring third guard as of now. Jones believes he’s no liability at either spot, and part of his attractiveness on June 24 will be offering two positions for one pick. He did concede that he prefers playing the point due to the control he gains over the offense, though he knows he’ll have to adjust to becoming a role player for the fledgling stages of his NBA career.
“I doubt a team’s going to draft me and say, ‘Here’s the ball, here’s the team – now go!’” Jones said. “That’s something I have to work my way up to, and it ain’t nothing because I’ve been working my way up the whole time. Just getting put in the right situation is all I’m looking for.”
Jones explained he views getting drafted as a goal – his dream is to be successful. After his likely first-round selection, Jones will push himself toward becoming an NBA All-Star and winning a championship. Lofty, perhaps, but the 6-foot-5, 216-pound Jones has a body ready to weather the physicality of slashing to the hoop, along with a 6-foot-9 wingspan that will help him harass opponents from his first moments on the court.
And then we’re back to the competitiveness you’re going to hear about time and again as the draft process plays out.
“On the court, I just come out here and go hard,” Jones said. “This is my job, my career, my life, my livelihood. I wake up in the morning just to do this. I got here last night at the hotel one o’clock in the morning. I was hoping it was morning so I could come out here and play. It’s just something I like to do. I just thank God and I thank the Nets for having me here. I feel like I’m blessed to be in this situation.”
Joining Jones in the Gym on Friday were forwards Keith “Tiny” Gallon (Oklahoma) and Larry Sanders (Virginia Commonwealth). The duo intrigued Barrise, who praised VP of Basketball Operations Bobby Marks for putting together a group that brought together several interesting prospects who could be available at the end of the first round.
Gallon – a 6-foot-9 forward – weighed 302 pounds at the Draft Combine in Chicago, but proved to be agile during the workout, drawing an easy comparison to Glen “Big Baby” Davis of the Celtics. It’s not an unfamiliar refrain, and Gallon understands where it comes from, due to a similar body type and their ability to shoot comfortably from 15-to-17 feet.
Though he played only one season for the Sooners, averaging 10.3 points and 7.9 rebounds in 23.5 minutes, Gallon raised questions about his conditioning and ability to play inside.
Acknowledging he’s heard criticism about “falling in love with his jump shot,” the big man has focused on showing his willingness to bang during the workouts he’s had thus far, attempting to alleviate concerns by sticking to a health regimen he believes will enable him to impress NBA executives.
“I’ve been working in New York with my strength-and-conditioning coach,” Gallon said. “We’ve been doing a lot of core work, agility stuff. We do a lot of basketball stuff, but I think your skills get better when you’re in better shape – if you’re talented. As a good basketball player, as you get in better condition, that’s when your shots falling, that’s when you can move. We’re doing lot of jump rope, getting my feet faster, getting in better shape.”
Sanders has the opposite problem – he’s 6-foot-10 ½ with 4.6-percent body fat, but weighs in at only 222 pounds. Though he’s concentrating on adding bulk, Sanders ably wields an astounding 7-foot-5 wingspan, having blocked at least 90 shots in each of his three college seasons for the Rams (2.75 BPG) and earning recognition as the Colonial Athletic Association’s Defensive Player of the Year.
“I think what I bring to the table naturally is my ability to run and use my length,” Sanders said. “And then suprising (GMs) with a couple things that I’ve been working on: jump shot, some back-to-the-basket moves, offensive moves.”
The 21-year-old’s length and skill with the ball impressed Barrise, who joked that Sanders is able to tie his shoes standing up. Sanders, meanwhile, is trying to enjoy a workout process that has him feeling like he’s on tour, five stops in. The best part?
“Just meeting different teams and seeing these different coaches face-to-face, seeing these different facilities and getting to travel,” Sanders said. “I’m turning into a pro, getting to take care of my body and learn. I think that’s probably the best part of the whole thing.”