Hornets Draft Workouts: Day 6

Thursday, June 19, 2008
By: Jim Eichenhofer and Nick O'Hayre, Hornets.com

With only a week remaining prior to the 2008 NBA Draft, the Hornets brought in six players for workouts. Two of the prospects – Davon Jefferson of USC and Bryce Taylor of Oregon – are consistently showing up as projected second-round picks in Internet mock drafts.

BO McCALEBB, New Orleans
Listen to McCalebb’s interview with the local New Orleans media in Hornets.com’s Audio Archives section

ALEKS MARIC, Nebraska
Q: Which players are compared to in the NBA in terms of your style of play?
A: I’ve heard people compare me to Rasho Nesterovic of the Raptors. Also Brad Miller of the Sacramento Kings. I am a blue-collar player who is physical and will fight for the ball. I do all of the simple things that you can’t teach. I dive on the floor for loose balls and do some of the things that energize a team.

Q: What do you think might be some of the underrated aspects of your game?A: Probably my mid-range shot. I wasn’t able to shoot it a lot in college because of the offensive system we used. I want to show that I can step off the (low post) and make some plays.

Q: Who are your draft sleepers?
A: People might call me biased, but Nathan Jawai, who is also from Australia. He’s (underrated) because he’s from Australia, and basketball doesn’t get a lot of publicity. People haven’t gotten to see him play much. I also say Sasha Kaun of Kansas. He was surrounded by a lot of great players there, but he’s a sleeper.

Q: What about the Hornets would make you want to come here to play for this team?
A: It’s a great team and I like the style of play. It’s very team-oriented here and they have a great coaching staff. Obviously, for any big guy to play with a point guard like Chris Paul would be amazing.

MARCELUS KEMP, Nevada
Q: Which players are compared to in the NBA in terms of your style of play?
A: From what I’ve heard during my career, people say Paul Pierce and Vinnie Johnson. One of my strengths is shooting. Also creating my own shot and getting to the basket.

Q: What do you think might be some of the underrated aspects of your game?
A: I want to show people that I can pass and handle the ball pretty well. I can hit the open man when needed, and move well without the ball.

Q: Who are your draft sleepers?
A: In terms of big guys, I’d have to go with JaVale McGee, who I played with at Nevada. He’s got a lot of potential, is long and has a wingspan of almost eight feet.

Q: Nevada is not very well-known as a program but has produced several NBA draft picks in recent years. Tell us about that.
A: Ramon Sessions had some success at the end of last season (with Milwaukee). Two other guys are (2007 draft second-rounder) Nick Fazekas and Kirk Snyder, who played here for the Hornets. I just want to follow in their footsteps, get drafted and help a team.

Q: What about the Hornets would make you want to come here to play for this team?
A: I think I can fit in well because I’m a shooter. Chris Paul draws a lot of attention and forces the guy who’s guarding you to help, which means you’re open. I could come off screens and hit wide-open shots.

FRANK ELEGAR, Drexel
Q: Which players do you compare yourself to in the NBA in terms of your style of play?
A: I think a Hakim Warrick type of player. We are both very long and athletic.

Q: What do you know about the Hornets?
A: Their style of play, they are very up-tempo and they run up and down the court and I feel like I am one of those types of players that would thrive in this offense.

Q: What areas of your game are you are either trying to improve on or make stand out in these draft workouts?
A: My ability to defend on the perimeter and shoot the ball from 15 to 17 feet.

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: Josh Duncan out of Xavier, he really kind of came out of nowhere. He worked hard down in Portsmouth (Invitational Tournament) and really got a lot of teams noticing him and showing interest in him.

DAVON JEFFERSON, Southern California
Q: Which players do you compare yourself to in the NBA in terms of your style of play?
A: I would say Shawn Marion. Neither of us needs plays, just get up and down the floor and make things happen.

Q: What do you know about the Hornets?
A: They run up and down the floor, they are exciting. Chris Paul runs the offense real well and he gets them up the floor and gives them a chance to play.

Q: What areas of your game are you are either trying to improve on or make stand out in these draft workouts?
A: Just competing real hard and showing them what I can do, what they may have already seen before. Also show that I have a good mid-range jumper.

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: Bryce Taylor of Oregon, he’ll be a sleeper.

BRYCE TAYLOR, Oregon
Q: Which players do you compare yourself to in the NBA in terms of your style of play?
A: I try to model my game after someone like a Martell Webster or Charlie Bell, somebody of that mold whose game revolves around their catch-and-shoot, but they have the ability to do other things and be a good role player for a team coming off somebody’s bench, because that is more than likely what my role will be.

Q: What do you know about the Hornets?
A: They were real fun to watch this year, that run they made in the playoffs with CP3, Tyson, David West and everybody. I think they are maybe trying to surround Chris Paul with some guys who can make shots and be efficient because he is such a great playmaker. So I think my style of play, as far as somebody who is a shooter, could fit in like a Mo Pete type role and come in off the bench and knock down shots and be a part of a great up-and-coming team.

Q: What areas of your game are you are either trying to improve on or make stand out in these draft workouts?
A: Just show that I can create my own shot and be a solid defender and play smart. I really just try to play to my strengths because you don’t want to come out here and try to do anything out of character or out of your game. But at the same time you don’t want to be pigeonholed as a one-dimensional player. So I just try to mix in some drives while looking for my shot, playing smart and competing and hopefully that’s enough.

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 think my (Oregon) teammate Maarty Leunen because I don’t know how high he is going to go in the draft. I know a lot of teams are interested in him, but you never know how it’s going to go. But he is somebody who is extremely skilled and a smart player, and I think if he gets in the right situation he can definitely help a team.



Season review: Jannero Pargo

By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com

Our look back at 2007-08 continues with Jannero Pargo today. Like Bonzi Wells, Pargo will be a free agent on July 1. I've been asked about both of them multiple times lately. I think in both cases, the likelihood of them re-signing could be dependent upon the type of offers they receive from other NBA teams. There are so many variables that dictate offers in the NBA free-agent market, including:
a) how many teams have salary-cap room?
b) how many teams are willing to go over the luxury tax?
c) what other players are available who play the same position?
d) what are the ages of the players available? are those players entering their prime, or in decline?
e) how do teams' mid-level exceptions factor into the discussion?
If you look back at the 2007 offseason, it was unclear whether Pargo would receive a long-term contract offer elsewhere. He and his agent briefly floated the idea of him going overseas for a more lucrative deal, but he ended up signing a two-year contract with the Hornets that included an opt-out in Year 2. So presumably, there were no NBA teams able to extend an offer of three years or more to him.
What happens this summer? It's difficult to predict, but Pargo and his agent are hopeful that his contributions in 2007-08 will lead to a contract more commensurate with his role.



Kemp, Elegar, Maric, Taylor, McCalebb, Jefferson to work out today


Bios of the six players invited to work out for the team on Thursday in the New Orleans Arena:
Marcelus Kemp, Nevada
Kemp, a 6’5” guard from Seattle, averaged 20.0 points, 3.3 assists and 5.4 rebounds in his senior season with the Wolfpack. Kemp, a two-time First Team All-WAC player, finished his collegiate career as Nevada’s second all-time leading scorer with 1,923 points. He also ranks as the school’s all-time leader in three-point field goals made (227), third in field goals made (679), fourth in free throw percentage (.825) and eighth in three-point field goal percentage (.380). Kemp is a very good shooter who can hit from long range. He is fundamentally sound and can score in a variety of ways. The 24-year old has a good understanding of the game and is a solid defender.

Frank Elegar, Drexel
Elegar, a 6’9” forward New York, averaged 14.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and 1.9 blocks his final season at Drexel. He led the Dragons in scoring, rebounding, blocks and field-goal percentage (.559) as a senior. It was the second straight season that Elegar led his team in both scoring and rebounding. As a senior, he was named to the All-Colonial Athletic Association Defensive Team and earned Second Team All-CAA selections in both his junior and senior campaigns. The 22-year old Played for the U.S. Virgin Islands National Team in the Pan-Am Games as well as the 2007 FIBA Americas Championship. Elegar has solid explosiveness and quickness, posseses very good mobility for his size, and he also sports a 7’4 wingspan, which he uses well in all facets of his game.

Aleks Maric, Nebraska
Maric, a 6’11” center from Australia, earned First Team All-Big 12 honors from the Associated Press as a senior. He was also named Honorable Mention All-Conference in his sophomore and junior seasons. Maric averaged 15.7 points, 10.2 rebounds and 1.7 blocks during his 2007-08 season with the Cornhuskers. He finished his collegiate career as Nebraska’s fifth all-time scoring leader (1,630 points) and ranks second all-time in rebounds (1,015, fifth most in Big 12 history). Was a member of the Australian U21 National Team which finished in fourth place at the 2005 FIBA World Championships for Young Men held in Argentina, and won the gold medal at the 2003 U18 World Championships held in Greece. The 23-year old has good strength, can be a dominant scorer in the paint and can finish with both hands.

Bryce Taylor, Oregon
Taylor, a 6’5” guard from California, averaged 12.8 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 2007-08 with the Oregon Ducks. Taylor was part of the Oregon team that reached the Elite Eight in the 2007 NCAA Tournament. He ended his collegiate career as Oregon’s 12th all-time leading scorer with 1,435 points. Taylor participated as a member of Team USA in the 2004 Global Games held in Dallas and Earned Pac-10 All-Freshman Team honors that same year. The 21-year old is an athletic 2 guard with excellent leaping ability and has the ability to score off the dribble as well as shoot the three.

Bo McCalebb, New Orleans
McCalebb, a 6’0” guard from New Orleans, has had one of the most celebrated careers in UNO and Sun Belt Conference history. He averaged 23.2 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 2.4 steals his senior season for the Privateers. Became the Sun Belt’s all-time leading scoring and finished his career ranked 21st on NCAA career list with 2.679 points. McCalebb was named Defensive Player of the Year his senior season as well as Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year his junior campaign. The 23-year old is an explosive guard with an outstanding first step and terrific quickness in the open floor. He has no problem getting to the rim and finishing, but is also a very good midrange and three-point shooter (.407).

Davon Jefferson, Southern California
Jefferson, a 6’8” forward from Lynwood, California, averaged 12.1 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.0 blocks as a freshman at USC. He earned Honorable Mention All-Pac-10 honors and was also named to the league’s All-Freshman Team. Jefferson holds the fourth-highest single season mark in school history for field goal percentage (.575). Jefferson finished the season second on the team in scoring and rebounding while playing alongside projected lottery pick O.J. Mayo. The 21-year old is extremely athletic with explosive leaping ability and quickness. He is a quality midrange shooter who can create his own shot and runs the floor very well.