2008 Draft: Q&A with Mario Chalmers
The Phoenix Suns held their second pre-draft workout on Friday, taking a closeup look at six prospects, including Kansas guard Mario Chalmers. Fresh off his game-winning shot in the NCAA Championship game, Chalmers threw his name into the draft pool. The Suns have the 15th pick in the opening round of this year's draft, which will take place on June 26.
Following his Phoenix workout, Chalmers spoke with reporters about the whole draft process.
QUESTION: How was your workout today?
CHALMERS: It was a good workout. I mean, it was my first experience of an NBA workout and I had a lot of fun. I’ve got four more. I go to Denver, Cleveland, Washington and New Orleans.
QUESTION: How did it compare to what you expected coming in?
CHALMERS: It lived up to all my expectations... It’s a great opportunity for young guys like myself and DJ (Augustine), Drew and Rob to come in here and work out, and try to get to the next level. QUESTION: Do you catch yourself looking over and seeing who’s watching what you’re doing, or how they’re reacting?
CHALMERS: No, I just try to focus on the court, concentrate on all the drills, concentrate on my shot, and just make sure I do a good job out there.
QUESTION: How do you think you did out there today?
CHALMERS: I think I made a pretty good impression. I had a couple turnovers, but other than that I think I did pretty good.
QUESTION:Have you come down from the high of the Final Four yet?
CHALMERS: I’ve come down a little bit now, but being back in Lawrence, they don’t let it die down there. They still talk about the National Championship.
QUESTION: How did that improve your draft status, in terms of notoriety and attention?
CHALMERS: I think it improved a lot. I think my name was already out there, but I think it made an even bigger name, because people like winners. We proved that we were a winning team. We did that. QUESTION: How close are you to making your final decision on whether to stay in school or stay in the draft?
CHALMERS: I’m very close. I’ll probably make my final decision next week… I’m leaning towards staying (in the draft). I’ve been hearing a lot of good things, so I’ll probably stay in. (If I determine that I will be taken) in that top first round, anywhere between 15 and 25, I’m going to stay in (the draft).
QUESTION: Have you been looking at mock drafts on the internet at all to see where people have you going?
CHALMERS: No, I try not to worry about that, because that’s other people’s opinions. It’s not the GMs (predicting), so I try not to pay too much attention to it.
QUESTION: Has your cousin given you any advice about this process? He was on the Suns’ summer league team a couple years ago.
CHALMERS: He gave me a lot of advice. He told me to just go out there and play hard, and play like you play.
QUESTION: What do you try to show the teams or scouts about your game in a workout like this?
CHALMERS: Just being able to show I can run the point guard. Being at Kansas, I was running the two (spot) most of the time, so my main focus coming out here is to show everyone I can run the point guard position.
QUESTION: Is proving that you can play the point the biggest concern you’re hearing about your game.
CHALMERS: That is the biggest thing I’ve heard so far. Being at Kansas a lot of people didn’t see me run the point or run the team, but in high school I did that a lot. I just changed my position going to Kansas, so I think I can get back to that.
QUESTION: How many times have you watched that National Championship game since?
CHALMERS: I’ve probably watched the whole game two or three times; probably watched the shot about 50 or 60 times. It was a dream come true, growing up always dreaming of that moment and then to actually be there and come true, that’s something I’m never going to forget. It brings a smile to my face seeing that I actually did that.
QUESTION: Would it be hard to go back to school, having already accomplished what you have?
CHALMERS: I don’t think it would be hard to go back, because Lawrence is a great place and our fans our great, and the coaching staff is great, so it wouldn’t be a hard decision to go back. But it’s my dream to be in the NBA, and I am so close to it.
QUESTION: What are your thoughts on this Suns team?
CHALMERS: The Suns are a great team. I’ve watched them a lot, because I like their style of play. They’re an up tempo team and they’ve got a great point guard in Steve Nash. I like Steve’s game and I try to model some of the little things that he does. I met Steve last year when I worked at his camp.
QUESTION: At what point in your playing career did you realize that you had a chance to be an NBA player someday?
CHALMERS: I’d say probably my junior summer going into my senior year (of high school). People started to talk about it a little bit, but I didn’t really think about it until I made the McDonald’s All-America team. That put the little thought into my head to keep working and keep working. That motivated me a lot.
QUESTION: You got a chance to go to the White House with the Kansas, right?
CHALMERS: Actually, last weekend. That was a great experience, being in the White House and meeting the president. George Bush is a great guy and we had a lot of fun talking to him. There was so much security, I just looked around and thought, ‘Wow!’ I think it would be hard being the president. Seeing all the great rooms and all the other presidents’ portraits, it was a great feeling to be there, in one of the most amazing places in the United States.
QUESTION: Does the president have a firm handshake?
CHALMERS: REALLY firm! And he loves Texas. Keep that in mind (laughs).