Three likely top-20 picks on Day 1 of workouts

Saturday, June 12, 2010
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com

The Hornets are about to begin their first day of draft workouts this morning at the Alario Center, highlighted by the appearances of three prospects who are projected to be picked in the top 20 of the NBA Draft. At the moment, ESPN.com’s mock draft lists Xavier Henry, Gordon Hayward and James Anderson as all being taken in the first round. Dominique Jones is projected as an early second-round pick by NBADraft.net.

Xavier Henry • Kansas • Guard/Forward • 6-6, 210 • Oklahoma City, Okla.
An explosive guard who can drive and has great range...named Freshman All-America by Collegeinsider.com and FoxSports.com…named All Big-12 Honorable Mention, All-Rookie and All-Freshman (media)…earned Big 12 Rookie of the Week once and was a midseason Wooden Award candidate…headed into his freshman season ranked No. 3 by ESPNU and No. 6 by Scout.com…was the team’s second-leading scorer and helped the Jayhawks to a sixth-straight Big 12 title…averaged 10.7 points and 4.0 rebounds in the Big 12 tournament…turned in a season-best 31 points 12/12 vs. LaSalle, including 4-of-5 3PM…averaged 13.4 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game for the Jayhawks on the season, including hitting 45.8% from the field... named McDonald’s and Parade All-American in 2009 following his senior year at Putnam City H.S…the state of Oklahoma player of the year by many outlets...parents played basketball at Kansas.

Gordon Hayward • Butler • Guard/Forward • 6-6, 210 • Brownsburg, Ind.
Finished second on the gold medal-winning U.S. U19 World Championship Team in rebounding (5.7) and third in scoring (10.0) during the summer…named to the Best of the Best Team at the U19 World Championship in New Zealand…named to The Sporting News Midseason Mid-Major All-America Team…Named one of 30 finalists for the Naismith Trophy…2009-10 Horizon League Player of the Year…named first team All-Horizon League for the second-straight year…selected as the Most Outstanding Player of the West Regional…chosen to the All-Tournament Team at the 2010 Final Four….ranked in the “Top 5” in the Horizon League in scoring and rebounding...topped the Horizon League in double-doubles with 12...posted game-highs of 22 points and nine rebounds against Kansas State in the championship game of the West Regional..led the Bulldogs with 19 points and nine rebounds against Michigan State in the national semifinals...shared the team scoring lead with 12 points and pulled down a team-high eight rebounds against Duke in the 2010 national championship game…averaged 15.5 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game.

James Anderson • Oklahoma State • Guard • 6-6, 215 • Junction City, Ark.
Big shooting guard with outstanding scoring abilities…has NBA three-point range and is an excellent shooter coming off screens…efficient player who doesn’t make many mistakes…among the top five scorers in the NCAA last year with an average 22.3 points per game, along with 5.8 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game…hit on 45.7% from the field…named unanimous Big 12 Player of the Year as a junior…named First Team All-America by Yahoo! Sports as a junior…his 17.9 career scoring average ranks second all-time in school history…started 99 of 101 games played in his career, never missing a game…led the Cowboys to a 22-11 record and an NCAA tournament appearance…scored 735 points last season, the second-most ever in school history…1,811 career points are the fourth-most ever by a Cowboy…named a Wooden All-American, as well as an NABC, Sporting News, Yahoo!Sports and AP All-American…led the Cowboys to the Big 12 Championship game…grew up in the small town of Junction City, Arkansas, and led his high school team to a Class 2A state championship in his senior year.

Dominique Jones • South Florida • Guard • 6-4, 215 • Lake Wales, Fla.
Athletic slasher…difficult to stay in front of…creates his own shot consistently…great speed, lift and strength…good mid-range shooter off the dribble…gets to the free throw line often…rebounds and blocks shots well for his size…All-Big East First Team and AP Honorable Mention All-American as a junior…also a Wooden Award finalist and midseason Naismith Award finalist…ranks first all-time in school history attempted free throws (615), second in free throws made (453), fifth in scoring (1,797 points), three pointers attempted (495), field goals attempted (1,339) and field goals made (592), seventh in three point field goals made (160) and steals (144), and 10th in assists (328)…named to the Big East All-Rookie Team as a freshman and earned All-Big East Honorable Mention as a freshman and sophomore…last season, was the only player in the nation to average at least 21 points, six rebounds and three assists per game…broke the USF mark for points in a game with 46 in an overtime win against Providence on 15-of-23 shooting from the field and 14-of-18 from the line.

Aubrey Coleman • University of Houston • Guard • 6-4, 200 • Missouri City, Texas
Prolific scorer with good physical tools…can score the ball inside and out with great shot creation skills…contributes on defense and the boards with good hustle…named to All-Conference USA First Team as both a junior and senior…named 2009 Conference USA Newcomer of the Year as a junior. Earned Conference USA…player of the Week honors seven times. Played his first two seasons at Southwest Mississippi Community College…led entire NCAA in scoring with 25.6 points per game…also led team in rebounding (7.4 rpg) and steals (2.7 spg), while ranking second in assists (2.6 apg)…played and started in all 35 of the team’s games, scoring in double figures every game while scoring 20 or more points 29 times and 30 or more points nine times…scored a career-high 38 points against Tulane on 13-for-21 shooting while also contributing seven rebounds…as a junior, led team in scoring (19.4 ppg) and steals (2.3 spg).

Dwight Lewis • University of Southern California • Guard • 6-4, 200 • Missouri City, Texas
Explosive scorer with a good mid-range game and the ability to defend on the perimeter…averaged 13.8 points, 2.9 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.2 steals last season for the Trojans…ranks in the top 11 on USC’s all-time scoring lists, as well as ranking ninth in all-time three-pointers made…in 2008-09, was USC's leading scorer with a 14.4 average…scored in double figures in 27 of his 33 games and posted seven games of 20 or more points…played his senior season at James Taylor High in Katy, Texas, after being uprooted by Hurricane Katrina…as a junior at Archbishop Rummel High in Metairie, La., he averaged 27.5 points, 9.7 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game and was named first-team all-state by the New Orleans Times-Picayune.



Hornets draft workout interviews: Day 1


Hornets.com will be on hand for every draft workout the team conducts at the Alario Center, leading up to the Thursday, June 24 draft. The following are interviews with all six of Saturday's prospects (also read Jeff Bower's comments after the player comments):

XAVIER HENRY, Kansas
Q: What did you try to improve or show about your game today?
A: I try to be an aggressive scorer off the bounce, off the spot up jump shot. I play the game as hard as I can on both sides, I hustle as much as I can. Try to be a positive influence on both sides of the court.
I improved overall on defensive and rebounding instincts. I got to do a lot of stuff that wasn’t just offense – I had two All-Americans on the offensive end, so I could defer to them. That was what coach wanted me to do, he wanted to make sure it was controlled like that. I just took what they gave me on offense. But I improved defensive awareness, knowing where I am relative to the ball and the man and being in the right spot. I learned a lot from college. What do I need to get better on? I need to keep the defense up, awareness, making sure I’m always rebounding and make sure I always go to the boards.
I know since I was at Kansas and all I had to do was shoot the wide-open three, they wanted to see me take it off the dribble and get to the rim, so I just was doing that today and making sure I was filling all of those holes.

Q: Who would you compare your game to?
A: I really don’t try to compare my game to anybody in the NBA, I’d say from the game standpoint like a Joe Johnson. He has an offensive game, he can shoot it, he can take it to the rim, he’s tall, he’s athletic, he doesn’t talk too much on the court. I don’t do a lot of jawing back and forth on the court, I just play the game with overall hustle on the offensive and defensive ends and that’s what he does and he keeps his mouth shut.

Q: Did you follow the Hornets?
I followed them when they were in Oklahoma City when Katrina hit. I went to some of their games. I liked watching them play because they never had an NBA team in Oklahoma City, so that was a big thing for us. Chris Paul is one of the best point guards, back then they had Tyson Chandler and David West and now they just have David West and Emeka Okafor. It was a fun team to watch because it was a whole bunch of pick-and-rolls with Chris Paul and David West can step out and hit the jump shot, they had Peja out on the wing, so it was an exciting thing for Oklahoma City, so I’m glad we got to have it. That’d be amazing to play with those guys. That was the first NBA team I really got out to watch. I’d love to play with them.

Q: What would be your first thoughts if your name was called as picked by the Hornets?
A: I‘m not leaving that far from home. I’ll just be a few hours down in Louisiana. It would be fun. (I’d get to) play for the first team whose games I saw. Play with the best point guard in the league, David West, Emeka, Stojakovic; it’s a young team kind of.

GORDON HAYWARD, Butler
Q: How did you think your workout with the Hornets went today?
A: It was good. This is kind of in the middle of my workout sessions. This was kind of unique. It was a little different from the other ones, so it was good.

Q: What is the feedback you’ve been getting about your game?
A: The NBA is a new level, so you need to improve and sharpen everything. For me, a little bit of it is (improving) strength, which is going to help me out a lot – both offensively and defensively. I definitely need to get in the weight room.

Q: Do you follow mock drafts at all to see where you are projected to be taken?
A: I don’t follow it, but I have friends who follow it. They send messages, since I’m on Facebook, to me. I just go to these workouts and try to play my best, and let the outsiders worry about that.

Q: What do you know about the Hornets and do you follow this team?
A: They have an exciting player in Chris Paul. They’ve got David West. One of my teammates knows Chris Paul a little bit, so he used to talk about him a lot. It’s fun watching (the Hornets). Being in Indiana, we don’t get that many Hornets games on television, but we know that they’re an exciting team.

Q: Which teams have you worked out for so far?
A: Toronto, the Clippers, Utah, Golden State, here… I think I’m forgetting one. They are all starting to blur together.

Q: Have you ever been to New Orleans before?
A: This is my first time. It’s definitely a lot more humid than in Indiana. [grins] But I got a chance to walk around and ate at a good seafood place last night.

JAMES ANDERSON, Oklahoma State
Q: For people who may not be familiar with you, which NBA players are you similar to in terms of style of play?
A: I’d say a Joe Johnson type. Solid, puts up pretty good numbers and gets the job done.

Q: What do you know about the Hornets? What are some of the reasons you would be excited about coming to play here?
A: Playing with one of the best point guards in the league and playing with an up-tempo type team. I think I can come in, help spread the floor and help create for others, try to take some of the pressure off Chris Paul.

Q: How many workouts have you done so far?
A: Three, I think. I have seven more this week.

Q: Do you have a goal in mind for where you would like to be selected?
A: I don’t have a certain number, but (projected have) ranged from 10 to 20. Going into the workouts, showing what I’ve got, I think I can up my stock. I’m going to knock out these workouts one by one, then see what happens at the end of the week.

Q: You mentioned that you have a total of about 10 workouts scheduled. So basically you are working out for the teams in that range of 10 through 20?
A: Yes.

DOMINIQUE JONES, South Florida
Q: What do you know about the Hornets and what would draw you to wanting to be drafted here?
A: I know about most of the players that the Hornets have on their current roster and there are some pretty good players. They like to get up and down and that’s my type of game. That’s what attracted me to the Hornets. I know that if I can get the opportunity to get in here then my skill set can fit in.

Q: What NBA player would you compare your skills to?
A: Dwyane Wade.

Q: What areas of your game are you trying to improve on or prove to scouts that you have certain skills that they may not be aware of?
A: I’m always trying to better my spot shooting. I feel that I can get to rim whenever I want to, that’s my strength. So I’m really just trying to work on my spot shooting and knocking down that open jump shot.

Q: Who is your draft sleeper?
A: I’m really not paying too much attention on anyone else. I’m just trying to stay focused on me and what I have to do to get to the next level.

AUBREY COLEMAN, University of Houston
Q: What do you know about the Hornets and what would draw you to wanting to be drafted here?
A: I feel that I can bring a lot to the Hornets. I have a good history of scoring, ranked #2 in the nation in steals, and averaged about 8 rebounds in college so I think a team can use that. Most importantly, I just want to get in with a team where my strengths fit in. I just want to do whatever I need to do to help a team win, even if that means coming off the bench. I’m more of a hustle guy and am just looking for that opportunity to prove myself.

Q: What NBA player would you compare your skills to?
A: I look at myself like a Dwyane Wade. He likes to get to the basket and finish strong. He has the mid range jumper too. I feel the only thing that I do different from him is try to hit the boards more.

Q: What areas of your game are you trying to improve on or prove to scouts that you have certain skills that they may not be aware of?
A: I’m trying to show these coaches and scouts that I’m really a team player. It was more difficult to see that in Houston since I felt it was more my obligation to really lead our team where we needed to be. I felt that getting to the NCAA tournament really showed my heart and determination to win.

Q: Who is your draft sleeper, a guy who is not getting much publicity right now but has the potential to be a very solid player in the NBA?
A: I think I definitely fall into that category. I’m not on the draft board and not too many people are talking about me but that’s what I like. That’s how I started out. I had to work my way up to get noticed and by doing so have put myself in the position to be working out for NBA teams. I think talent only goes so far. I feel that I have a great work ethic and I know that coupled with my skills can take me far.

DWIGHT LEWIS, USC
Q: What do you know about the Hornets?
A: I know a lot. They’ve got Chris Paul, David West, Marcus Thornton, Julian Wright, traded Tyson, got Emeka Okafor, Peja – I know them, I follow them. Being from here I’ve got to follow them.

Q: Who would you compare your game to?
A little bit of Bruce Bowen, a little bit of Marcus Thornton.

Q: What do you need to improve on?
Making decisions off the screen-and-roll, make sure I make the proper move, keep defending real well and make open shots.

Q: What would it be like to play for your hometown NBA team?
A: I went to games when they first came here – I was a big Hornets fan. If I have the chance to play for them it would be a dream come true.

JEFF BOWER, New Orleans general manager
On first workout day:
“I’m real impressed with the quality of the workout, as far as how the prospects performed. Their energy and effort was outstanding. We had some high-level players here today, I think. To their credit, they played well.”

On if it’s fair to predict Hornets could draft any position except point guard:
“It is. We have the ability to look at any situation and add players that can make a contribution, and that’s what we’re looking for. We’re not locked in to any position. Our objective is to identify a player who can help our team get better.”

On which players stood out in Saturday’s workout:
“I think they had an opportunity to show their skills and show what they did during the season. They came in here and confirmed a lot of our opinions. I think it was a real good workout for them.”

On Gordon Hayward:
“I think he’s a player who was very well thought of throughout the year, a player who had a very big role on his team to provide them with a number of things. From scoring, playmaking to ball movement. The story of his team’s success really captured a lot of attention. The exposure is similar to other years, when teams make deep Final Four runs. But I think his participation with USA Basketball is something that everybody is well aware of. He’s a quality basketball player who is also athletic.”

On how it can sometimes be misleading to read that a player’s stock has gone up or down:
“What’s funny is a lot of times it’s not really the (assessment of) players that (changes); it’s what written about them (that changes). Guys will have hype and a little bit of excess things written about their games, whereas in the real draft process that’s taken place, and the real evaluations, they probably never were in that spot to begin with. I think it’s the difference between information and what exactly teams and decision-makers are looking for, more so than a player actually changing in his (draft) position.”