Wolves Host 4 Prospects At Monday's Workout
With time winding down before Thursday’s 2012 NBA Draft, the Minnesota Timberwolves brought in four players for workouts on Monday as part of their final pre-draft evaluations.
Memphis guard Will Barton, Cincinnati forward Yancy Gates, Temple guard Ramone Moore and Wichita State center Garrett Stutz were all on the Target Center’s main court going through drills and pick-up games prior to the Draft. What range their agents are projecting them vary—some have the potential to be a first round pick while others could go undrafted—but the common denominator on Monday was they are trying to show how they can fit into an NBA team.
“I think this is my 10th workout,” Moore said. “It’s great, being able to travel the world and work out for teams. I’m just making the most of my opportunities now and just wait for Thursday to see what happens.”
The Timberwolves are expected to have prospects working out on Tuesday and possibly Wednesday leading up to the Draft.
Barton was perhaps the most intriguing prospect for the media at Monday’s workout. The 6-foot-6 shooting guard has the length and speed to potentially be a strong wing player. Known for his scoring, Barton averaged 18.0 points per game as sophomore this season for the Tigers and was awarded Conference USA Player of the Year.
Like his fellow prospects, he’s been across the country showing his ability on the court. But Barton said showing his versatility and his ability to score is only half the equation. The other part of meeting with teams is selling his personality to front offices.
“I think they pretty much know what I can do on the court, so I come in here and try to do that and show them anything I’ve improved on a little bit,” he said. “And just show them the kind of person I am off the court, whether it’s interviews or just hanging in the locker room, just smiling. Just show them my personality.”
Moore spent five years in college, working his way up to playing 36.6 minutes per game as a senior and putting up 17.3 points per game. He’s leaving school with a career field goal percentage of 44.2 and shot 35.0 percent from 3-point range for his career.
Moore said he’s heard he could be a mid-to-late second round pick or go undrafted and that each workout gives him a chance to show his ability and the experience he gained in college. And through the course of his pre-draft sessions, he said staying calm and composed is the biggest key.
“It’s all just nerves,” Moore said. “As you get closer, you start thinking about where do you want to go. There’s even the possibility I might even be drafted. But when you get into these workouts, you have to be focused on the floor and show your ability and let the rest take care of itself.”
Gates is coming off his senior season with Cincinnati, where he averaged 12.2 points and 8.9 rebounds per game. He’s a 6-foot-9 forward who was named to the 2012 Big East Championship All-Tournament team and is the only player in school history to lead his team in rebounding for four consecutive seasons. His 7-foot-3 wingspan gives him good length at the perimeter.
Stutz is a 7-foot-0 center who earned All-Missouri Valley Conference First Team honors as a senior. Finished with 13.2 points per game and led the team in rebounds (8.9) and blocked shots (1.0) in his final collegiate season.
The breakdown on Stutz is that he’s got a strong work ethic and is a good post player who uses his strength well.
With the Draft days away and prospects’ positioning still up in the air, Monday was one of the final steps leading into a hectic night for prospects and team officials alike. Each last impression could make a difference in where a player lands come Thursday.
“For me, me and my agent, we tried to start that early,” Barton said. “Teams with the late first round pick, early second round picks. We tried to work out with those teams so so we can get a good feel for where I’m going and then hopefully do real well in those workouts and move up. We’ve done a good job of that and it’s worked.”
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