Hornets Draft Workouts: Day 3

Thursday, June 12, 2008
By: Jim Eichenhofer and Lindsey Wyckoff, Hornets.com

Thursday’s draft workouts featured four players who are projected by NBADraft.net to be selected in the second round, all between picks No. 32 and 43. The workout included the presence of UMass forward Gary Forbes, who was named by various websites as the MVP of NBA pre-draft camps in Portsmouth and Orlando. Forbes piled up 30 points in 25 minutes during one game in Orlando.
Hornets.com caught up with each of the participants of Thursday’s workouts at the New Orleans Arena:

GARY FORBES, Massachusetts, forward
(Listen to Forbes’ assessment of his workout and his rising draft stock in Hornets.com’s Audio Archives section)

KYLE WEAVER, Washington State, guard
Q: Which players do you compare yourself to in the NBA in terms of your style of play?
A: I hear a lot of people say Scottie Pippen. I don’t get a lot of current guys.

Q: What areas of your game are you trying to improve or prove to scouts that they aren’t weaknesses?
A: My strength, which is one thing that is kind of hard to work on right now because I’ve been going to workouts. I can’t really do too much, because I don’t want to burn myself out. But prior to the workouts, I was definitely in the weight room a lot, trying to get stronger. My other thing is trying to be consistent shooting the ball. Those are my two biggest areas I have to work on.

Q: What about the Hornets would make you want to come here to play for this team?
A: Coach Scott is a great coach. The guys here. And their style of play, how they get up and down (the floor). I could fit in very well and bring some size and versatility on the perimeter. It definitely would be a great fit.

Q: Who is your draft sleeper, a guy who is not getting much publicity right now but has a chance to be a very solid player in the NBA?
A: I would say Gary Forbes. He’s a good player. I didn’t really hear much about him during college, with me being on the West Coast and him being on the East Coast, but I definitely think he’ll be a sleeper. He’ll be able to creep up on some guys.

TYRELLE BLAIR, Boston College, center

Q: Which players do you compare yourself to in the NBA in terms of your style of play?
A: Some of the names I’ve heard are Tyson Chandler and Marcus Camby, long and athletic-type big guys.

Q: What areas of your game are you trying to improve or prove to scouts that they aren’t weaknesses?
A: Playing at Boston College, we used a flex offense. I really didn’t get a chance to show people that I’m a capable scorer. I’m not saying that I can go out and get you 20 (points) a game, but I’m better than what I showed in college. I’m probably more of a (player who would excel in a) fast-paced style, and the Hornets really push the ball. I could use my speed and quickness to my advantage here.

Q: What else about the Hornets would make you want to play here?
A: For a player like me, playing with a great point guard like Chris Paul would help, because he would get me easy baskets. In my opinion, he’s the best point guard in the league. Kobe Bryant won the Most Valuable Player, but Kobe was past due for that – they should have given him MVP a couple years ago. But I think Chris Paul was the better player this year. He was the main reason why the Hornets were so good.

Q: Who is your draft sleeper, a guy who is not getting much publicity right now but has a chance to be a very solid player in the NBA?
A: I don’t know if you could call him a sleeper, because he won a championship at Kansas, but I like (center) Sasha Kaun’s game. I can’t say he’ll be a first-round pick, but he’s solid. He’s got a nice frame, is about 250 (pounds), and has a big wingspan. I think he could come in right now and get you some rebounds and putbacks. I think he’ll be a decent player in his first or second year.

DAVID PADGETT, Louisville, forward/center
Q: Which players do you compare yourself to in the NBA in terms of your style of play?
A: Probably a combination of a Brad Miller-Pau Gasol type player.

Q: What areas of your game are you trying to improve or prove to scouts that they aren’t weaknesses?
A: I’ve really been working on shooting a 15-17-foot jump shot and probably also rebounding. Being athletic and rebounding are probably the two things I really need to show.

Q: Who is your draft sleeper, a guy who is not getting much publicity right now but has a chance to be a very solid player in the NBA?
A: I’d probably say Gary Forbes from UMass. He worked out with us today and he was on my team in Orlando. He’s a great player and I think he’s going to have a long career.

Q: What about the Hornets would make you want to come here to play for this team?
A: I think the style of the Hornets’ play is what would make them a great team to play for. They play up and down and they play fast. They have one of the best point guards in the NBA. I think Coach Scott is a great coach and overall they just have a good organization.

JAMONT GORDON, Mississippi State, guard
Q: Which players do you compare yourself to in the NBA in terms of your style of play?
A: A combination of Chancey Billups and Baron Davis. I play a physical game and play a strong defensive game. I can also post up on smaller guards.

Q: What areas of your game are you trying to improve or prove to scouts that they aren’t weaknesses?
A: My jumpshot and my general decision-making.

Q: Who is your draft sleeper, a guy who is not getting much publicity right now but has a chance to be a very solid player in the NBA?
A: I’m not sure. I think I’ve played against the best and all of the guys in all of the workouts I’ve been at have been really good. All of the guys towards the top are great players.

Q: What about the Hornets would make you want to come here to play for this team?
A: Everything — the players on the team, they have a great coaching staff. They really go up-and-down and I like to play a fast-style, too. All of those things make it a great team.

COURTNEY LEE, Western Kentucky, guard
Q: [After shaking hands and speaking with Byron Scott] How does it feel to be getting a congratulations from Byron Scott?
A: It definitely feels great getting a congratulations from the head coach. I just wanted to come out here today and be well-mannered and work hard.

Q: Do you feel like during a three-on-three game, you can really show what you have to offer to a team?
A: I definitely think that a three-on-three game can really showcase talent. In a three-on-three situation, you can really show if you’re a good help-side defender because there aren’t two guys back there playing help-side defense. You can show good foot movement and whether or not you’re a good leader — a vocal leader. Offensively, I feel like you can show what you can do and it really helps.

Q: Have the workouts been similar or was this one different than other ones you’ve been to?
A: This is my seventh workout. They all have different drills for us to do and different three-on-three action. For the most part, it’s been the same.

Q: Did you watch the Hornets’ playoff run and pay attention to the year they had?
A: I definitely did. Seeing what they could do against the Mavericks and then taking the defending champions (Spurs) to Game 7 — it says a lot about this organization and how they’re up-and-coming.

Q: Which players do you compare yourself to in the NBA in terms of your style of play?
A: During the season I got a lot of comparisons to Ray Allen and Brandon Roy. To be compared to anyone in the NBA is a huge compliment because they’ve obviously done things on the court that have set them apart from average players.

Q: What areas of your game are you trying to improve or prove to scouts that they aren’t weaknesses?
A: I wouldn’t say it’s one or two things I’m trying to improve on, I’d say it’s my game as a whole. I just want to tune it up and be more crisp and precise with everything that I do.

Q: Who is your draft sleeper, a guy who is not getting much publicity right now but has a chance to be a very solid player in the NBA?
A: Well, hopefully it’s me! [laughing]



Third day of workouts brings in six more prospects


Bios of the six players who will participate in Thursday's workouts at the New Orleans Arena:

Courtney Lee, Western Kentucky
NBADraft.net projection: No. 37 pick to Milwaukee
Lee, a 6’5” shooting guard from Indianapolis, averaged 20.4 points on 48 percent shooting and 4.9 rebounds over 36 games for WKU his senior season garnering the Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year award. Scored 20-plus points 20 times throughout his senior season and 30-plus three times. Lee was named First Team Sun Belt his final three seasons. Lee finished second in the voting for Indiana’s Mr. Basketball as a senior in high school. He is an excellent shooter who has three-point range and can get to the hole.

Kyle Weaver, Washington State
NBADraft.net projection: No. 36 pick to Portland
Weaver, a 6’6” shooting guard from Beloit, Wisconsin, averaged 12.2 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists for the Cougars last season as a senior. Weaver was named to the All-Pacific-10 First Team, Pacific-10 All-Defensive Team, U.S. Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) Men's All-District IX Team, National Association of Basketball Coaches District 14 First Team and Collegeinsider.com All-Defensive All-America Team. Weaver finished his career at WSU second all-time in assists (465) and third in steals (188). The combo guard is a good slasher who has a high basketball IQ and is known as a team player and excellent defender.

Gary Forbes, Massachusetts
NBADraft.net projection: No. 32 pick to Seattle
Forbes, a 6’7” small forward from Brooklyn, was named the 2008 Atlantic 10 Player of the Year after averaging 19.4 points, 7.4 rebounds and 3.0 assists his senior season at UMass. He joined Julius Erving as the only two players to score 1,000 points their only two seasons at UMass. Played his first two seasons at Virginia before transferring to play his final two seasons at UMass where he was named the A-10’s Newcomer of the Year. Forbes is a tough, physical forward who is a good scorer, both inside and out.

Jamont Gordon, Mississippi State
NBADraft.net projection: No. 43 pick to Sacramento
Gordon, a 6’4” combo guard from Nashville, averaged 17.2 points, 6.6 rebounds and 4.9 assists in 34 games for the Bulldogs during his junior season. He is an early entrant to the 2008 NBA Draft, but has yet to hire an agent. Gordon was an First Team All-SEC selection and just lost out to Vanderbilt’s Shan Foster for player of the year honor. Gordon was one of the toughest match-ups in the country for opponents due to his ability to play four positions. The Second-Team Parade All-American out of powerhouse Oak Hill Academy, Gordon helped lead Oak Hill to a No. 1 season-ending ranking. He is a strong combo guard who is tough to keep out of lane and is an excellent all-around player.

David Padgett, Louisville
NBADraft.net projection: Undrafted
Padgett, a 6’11” power forward/center from Reno, was a First-Team All-BIG EAST selection after averaging 11.7 points and 4.5 rebounds while shooting 69 percent from the floor in his senior season at Louisville. Padgett earned second-team honors his junior season after averaging 9.5 points and 5.6 rebounds in 33 games for the Cardinals. He began his collegiate career at Kansas after being a McDonald’s All-American as a high school senior at Reno High School. He started 19 games for the Jayhawks as a freshman, averaging 6.5 points and 4.5 rebounds. Padgett is a skilled big man with a good sense of the floor and a high basketball IQ.

Tyrelle Blair, Boston College
NBADraft.net projection: Undrafted
Blair, a 6’11” center from Monticello, Florida, captured All-ACC Defensive Team honors after a league-best 56 blocks in 16 games, an average of 3.5 blocks. He averaged 5.0 points and 4.8 rebounds in 31 games during his senior season at BC. Blair transferred to BC after two seasons at Loyola University in Chicago, he sat out the 2005-06 season due to NCAA transfer rules. He is an athletic shot-blocker who excels on the defensive end.