Nets Open Group Workouts (2 of 2)
By Ben Couch
June 9, 2010
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J.—The Nets opened their three-day group workout on Wednesday. Here’s more of the storylines to come out of the two sessions.
Robinson’s Rough Day
Connecticut forward Stanley Robinson didn’t have a strong showing on Wednesday (flatly saying, “I feel like I could’ve done better”) but is enjoying the draft process, which represents the culmination of a tumultuous four-year journey with the Huskies. Robinson spent a semester of his sophomore season suspended and sorting scrap metal as part of a tough love maturation assignment from coach Jim Calhoun.
“Now I’m just happy I’m here,” Robinson said. “I think it kind of helped me into being a man, with my coach disciplining me, too. Teams have asked me about it through the process, what I’ve been through. I basically did it for my kids, so I could help them out because of day care; my girlfriend, she couldn’t support them. They told me that was impressive for them, when they heard that.”
The 6-foot-9, 210-pound Robinson is known for incredible athleticism, and has been working to show teams he can shoot from distance better than he’s shown at UConn. Also showcasing his work ethic and aggressiveness, Robinson belives he’ll make his earliest NBA impact on defense.
He’s been guided through the draft process by Connecticut alums like Ray Allen and Caron Butler, with Allen having provided advice since Robinson’s sophomore year. His phone rang, flashing an unknown number. Robinson picked up to hear, “It’s Ray.” Robinson replied, “Ray who?” and the now oddly familiar voice asked him, “Who’s the only Ray you know?”
“I was real shocked because I didn’t know any Rays!” Robinson recounted. “I said, ‘The only Ray I know is in the NBA.’ And he said, ‘You guessed right.’”
Robinson’s confident the success of those former Huskies bodes well for his own potential, though the Birmingham, Ala. native looks to a hometown hero to model his game after: Charlotte Bobcats forward Gerald Wallace.
“I compare my game to Gerald Wallace – he fills up the stat sheet,” Robinson said. “Plus, he’s from Alabama and we played on the same AAU team.”
Scheyer Showing the Combo Skills
After spending 1 ½ years manning the point for Duke, Jon Scheyer finds himself having to prove he can do so at the NBA level. There’s an NCAA Championship to point to, but the 6-foot-5 guard knows he has to add strength and work on his ball-handling if he hopes to convince GMs he can handle both guard spots.
After averaging 18.2 points, 3.6 rebounds and 4.9 assists for the Blue Devils, Scheyer’s earned All-America Second Team honors to go alongside his All-ACC First Team and NBAA All-Final Four and South Region All-Tournament Teams. He’s been in continual contact with Magic guard J.J. Redick, who preceded him at Duke and found his NBA niche as a bench player with Orlando.
“He’s a better shooter than I am,” Scheyer admitted. “There are not many guys who can shoot the ball like that, and I’ll be the first to say that.
But the way he handles himself and how he’s been able to handle the tough times of not playing as much (are impressive). Those are things I really respect and I just really want to do what he’s done.”
Pittman Pushes Past the Pain
Texas center Dexter Pittman performed solidly on Wednesday, earning praise from Polinsky for his physical attributes – Pittman measures 6-foot-11 with a 7-foot-6 wingspan – though his conditioning raised questions. Weighing in at 290 pounds, down from more than 300 during the season, Pittman played only 19.1 minutes per game for the Longhorns, limiting his productivity.
Yet his focus in shedding weight and playing well in front of team execs has been admirable; Pittman left the Chicago combine early after receiving news that his half-brother, Darius Johnson, 15, had been shot and killed.
“I was just in a hole,” Pittman said. “I didn’t want to do anything. But I had the courage and the will and the strength to get up and come back and not give up on my dream because this opportunity is once in a lifetime. I’ll never get over that. That was my baby brother. I just have to keep the fire inside me, and the drive, and that’s what I do. Just keep going and going and don’t quit.”
Pittman plans to honor his brother’s memory by busting his tail in workouts, and has already shown an open ear when it comes to advice.
He’s vowed never to make the same mistake twice and thanking teams for offering pointers. If the efforts result in a draft-day selection, Pittman doesn’t even know how he’ll react.
“Man, I might just break down in tears or something,” Pittman said. “It’s hard for me to cry, but that would be my dream come true. I worked hard before this, and I will be rewarded.”