Q&A: Jacob Pullen

Kansas State guard offers instant offense, mature game for NBA teams

Due to his trademark beard and explosive scoring ability, Jacob Pullen was one of the faces of college basketball during his four years at Kansas State University. Pullen was a two-time All-Big 12 First Team guard for the Wildcats and a 2011 AP All-American Third Team member.

Pullen averaged 20.2 points per game as a senior, while leading Kansas State to the third round of the NCAA Tournament. In 2009-10, Pullen led the Wildcats with 19.3 points per game as Kansas State made it to the Elite Eight.

Pullen, who graduated with a degree in criminology this spring, worked out for the Nuggets on June 17 and took a few minutes to answer some questions for

Q: What do you know about the Nuggets franchise and the city of Denver?
A: I’ve watched them the last few years since Carmelo got there. I’ve been a fan of Chauncey (Billups). They’ve had a lot of good players, Allen Iverson. I like their uptempo style of basketball. They try to put the ball in the basket and attack the defense.

Q: How have you been preparing for the NBA Draft?
A: It’s a busy schedule, workout to workout. I’m just trying to impress a team; it only takes one team in the draft.

Q: As the NBA Draft nears, do the workouts become more difficult as the grind of travelling and working out adds up?
A: Yes, you get on these last few road trips and you’re body starts wearing down a little bit. At the same time, you’ve still got to keep pushing because any team that you work out for could be a team that could potentially draft you. You just have to go into it with the same mindset of trying to impress them.

Q: What do you think your strengths are?
A: My toughness and my ability to put the ball in the basket. Also my ability to play the point guard and my basketball I.Q.

Q: In talking to scouts and coaches, what do they believe you need to improve upon?
A: My explosiveness and things like that. That’s really been a key for guards lately as you’ve got guys like Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook, J.R. Smith, and guys that can really explode.

Q: One of your strengths is your leadership. How do you show that in a workout setting?
A: The little things. Even though you’re competing for the same job, continue to be positive and those types of things. Let the team know that regardless of the situation, this guy is a good guy.

Q: Which NBA player, past or present, would you compare your game to?
A: I get that question a lot and I don’t know. I watch a lot of players and I model my game after a lot of dudes. I just like good basketball and good guards. I like to pay attention and take something away from everybody.

Q: How do you deal with going from one of the faces of college basketball to a prospect that most “experts” project as going undrafted?
A: You’ve just got to deal with it. Everybody has their own opinion. A lot of these guys just pick draft picks off potential. It’s up to the GMs to decide who they want, and I’m trying to impress those guys when I work out.

Q: Do you use those negative opinions as motivation in preparing for the NBA Draft?
A: Yes, there’s always motivation. It’s been like that my whole life. I’ve just got to continue to push.

Q: How do you feel staying at Kansas State all four years benefitted you?
A: Getting my degree, understanding the game of basketball a lot better. A lot of guys are all potential and what they possibly could be. I tell people all the time in my interviews that I’m a right-now type of person. If you draft me, I’ll impact your team right now.