Draft Workouts: Terry Rozier

May 28, 2015 - Louisville guard Terry Rozier talks to Pacers.com after a pre-draft workout at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

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Draft Workouts: Terry Rozier

May 28, 2015 - Louisville guard Terry Rozier talks to Pacers.com after a pre-draft workout at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
May 28, 2015  |  02:08

Draft Workouts: Andrew Harrison

May 28, 2015 - Kentucky point guard Andrew Harrison talks with Pacers.com after a pre-draft workout with the Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
May 28, 2015  |  01:40

Draft Workouts: J.P. Tokoto

May 28, 2015 - North Carolina guard J.P. Tokoto talks with Pacers.com after a pre-draft workout with the Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
May 28, 2015  |  02:17

Draft Workouts: Rashad Vaughn

May 28, 2015 - UNLV guard Rashad Vaughn talks with Pacers.com after a pre-draft workout with the Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
May 28, 2015  |  01:34

Draft Workouts: Dez Wells

May 28, 2015 - Maryland guard Dez Wells talks to Pacers.com after a pre-draft workout with the Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
May 28, 2015  |  02:40

Draft Workouts: Terran Petteway

May 28, 2015 - Nebraska guard Terran Petteway talks to Pacers.com after a pre-draft workout with the Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
May 28, 2015  |  01:06

Pacers Turn Attention to the Perimeter

by Wheat Hotchkiss
Pacers.com Writer/Editor

The Pacers held their third pre-draft workout on Thursday, and this one was a little different than the previous two. Both of the previous workouts featured at least two post players, but all six players visiting Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Thursday ply their trades on the perimeter.

Five of the six prospects are either 6-5 or 6-6, with Louisville point guard Terry Rozier measuring out at 6-2. Rozier and Kentucky's Andrew Harrison are projected to run the point in the NBA, while the other four prospects (Nebraska's Terran Petteway, North Carolina's J.P. Tokoto, UNLV's Rashad Vaughn, and Maryland's Dez Wells) are hoping to carve out a niche for themselves on the wing.

PHOTO GALLERY: Thursday's Pre-Draft Workout »

The abundance of perimeter players made Thursday's workout, led by Pacers head coach Frank Vogel and his coaching staff, especially intense. The lack of bigs opened up some room for players to display offensive versatility during three-on-three sessions.

"Everything is going so fast, but still everyone is competitive," Rozier said. "You don't have to worry about sometimes big guys dragging."

Tokoto added: "Everybody plays different spots, I was guarding Rashad Vaughn so we were moving around from wing to post, that kind of thing."

I had the opportunity to speak with all six prospects during their visit to The Fieldhouse. You can watch those interviews in the video player above and read below for brief notes on each prospect.

Harrison, Rozier Renew Rivalry

The Battle for the Bluegrass made its way north into the Hoosier State on Thursday. Harrison and Rozier are very familiar with one another, having played on opposite sides of the Kentucky-Louisville rivalry for the past two seasons. They went head-to-head in a workout in Utah on Sunday and faced off once again on Thursday at The Fieldhouse.

"He's a good competitive person and it's always good to go against someone competitive you test yourself," Rozier said. "So if I can get him in more workouts, it would be a lot of fun."

Though they went to rival schools and are both jockeying for draft position, there's no bad blood between Rozier and Harrison, who both turned pro after their sophomore seasons.

"He's always going to be a Louisville guy and I'm always going to be a Kentucky guy," Harrison said. "But to be honest, we're trying to move on now and move on to the next level."

At just a hair under 6-6, Harrison has great size for a point guard. He's an excellent passer and operates well in pick-and-roll sets. His numbers were diluted in college playing alongside a slew of future pros, but he also showed a willingness to sacrifice for the good of the team and learned to play in a system that has proven to prepare players for the NBA.

The biggest knock on Harrison is his offensive efficiency. Though he shot a solid 38.3 percent from 3-point range as a sophomore, his overall field goal percentage was a paltry .378. He will definitely need to improve his ability to score the ball from inside the arc if he wants to succeed at the next level.

Rozier, meanwhile, is hoping to prove that he can run the point after playing mostly shooting guard during his final season with the Cardinals. Rozier averaged an impressive 17.1 points per game for head coach Rick Pitino's squad.

"I sacrificed for my team, they needed me to score the ball that's pretty much what it was," Rozier said. "...It was a lot of fun, but I know I can play point guard at the next level and I know that's what I'm trying to show teams."

Rozier's biggest focus is on fine-tuning his inconsistent outside shot. He knocked down 37 percent of his 3-point attempts as a freshman, but shot just .306 from beyond the arc as a sophomore.

"My jump shot is looking pretty good right now," Rozier said. "That's one of the things I was mainly working on as soon as my season ended, my college career ended."

Athletic Tokoto Refining Game for Next Level

Like Andrew Harrison, J.P. Tokoto's college statistics aren't eye-popping, in part because he also played for a blue-chip program alongside numerous McDonald's All-Americans.

But Tokoto does have one bona fide skill set that should translate immediately to the NBA: He's an excellent defender. Blessed with great length (he has a 6-10 wingspan) and strong natural instincts, the former North Carolina Tar Heel has all the tools to hold his own against the most dynamic scoring guards.

Tokoto averaged 1.6 steals per game as a sophomore, when he was named to the ACC All-Defensive Team, and followed that up by averaging 1.5 thefts per contest as a junior.

Basketball wasn't Tokoto's first love. His grandfather, Jean-Pierre Tokoto, was a professional soccer player who starred for the Cameroon national team that played in the 1982 World Cup. Young J.P. originally played soccer as well before picking up basketball as a teenager. He credits the skills he learned on the pitch as playing a major part in developing his defensive instincts on the hardwood.

"You've got a soccer ball in front of you, you're not really watching the ball you've got to watch the guy as well because he could fake you out with his body," Tokoto said. "So it's kind of watching both ball and man. I kind of translate that to the court, watching guys, how they move and giving them space and of course my length helps a lot and my quickness but that's one of the major things is my footwork."

As good as he is defensively, Tokoto's offensive game raises some serious question marks. His athleticism will allow him to collect a few points per game off hustle plays or in transition, but he will also need to knock down shots from the perimeter, a skill he lacked in college. Tokoto made just 21-of-79 shots (26.6 percent) in three seasons in Chapel Hill.

For that reason, Tokoto has been working on refining his shooting mechanics.

"Footwork is the biggest thing to me," Tokoto said. "Stepping into the shot, not waiting for it to hit me, not hopping into it kind of one, two step. Keeping my elbow in instead of out. If you keep your elbow out you're pushing the ball (sideways), keep it in and you're pushing it forward."

Notes on Vaughn, Petteway, and Wells:

Rashad Vaughn was the youngest participant in Thursday's workout. Vaughn, who won't turn 19 until August 16, went pro after just one season at UNLV.

During his abbreviated college tenure, Vaughn proved himself as an elite scorer. He averaged 17.8 points per game and shot a solid 37.8 percent from 3-point range in 23 games for the Runnin' Rebels, including a 21-point performance in an upset win over #3 Arizona just before Christmas.

Vaughn tore his meniscus in February, ending his season, but he said on Thursday that he is completely recovered.

In terms of raw talent, Vaughn may have been the best prospect at Thursday's workout. At his age, he has plenty of room to develop, particularly on the defensive end. It may have been a risk to turn pro so early, but Vaughn is hopeful he can work his way into the first round on draft night.

"It's always been a dream of mine to do and the opportunity presented itself, so I just took the chance," Vaughn said.

Dez Wells is nearly five years older than Vaughn, but he's hoping that experience can be to his benefit as he fights to make an NBA roster.

In his four years in college, Wells tallied 1,710 career points while competing in three major conferences. He was the Sporting News Atlantic 10 Freshman of the Year at Xavier before transferring to Maryland. He averaged 14.9 points per game and was named third team All-ACC as a junior and then was voted to the coaches' All-Big Ten first team during his senior season, the Terrapins' first in a new league.

Wells believes his wealth of knowledge from his time in college will help him transition quickly to the next level.

"I can adjust a lot quicker to the physicality, the speed of the game," Wells said. "I feel I can adjust to the sets and the overall knowledge of the game...I think I have experience over these guys."

Wells' maturity was on display his senior season, when he improved his 3-point percentage from .304 as a junior to .510 as a senior, albeit on just 49 attempts. The 6-5 shooting guard credits that improvement to having better shot selection and making sure to "pick and choose" his spots.

A childhood friend and high school teammate of John Wall, Wells has had several people in his corner as he prepares for the NBA. One of those is Maryland coach Mark Turgeon, who also coached Pacers guard Donald Sloan at Texas A&M.

"Coach Turgeon knows him really well and he did a great job of prepping me and getting me ready to come to the Pacers and (making sure I knew) things about the franchise," Wells said.

Like Wells, Terran Petteway proved himself as one of the best scorers in the Big Ten.

Petteway, who started his college career at Texas Tech before transferring to Nebraska, led the conference in scoring as a sophomore, averaging 18.1 points per game. The Cornhuskers also made a surprise appearance in the NCAA Tournament that season.

Petteway continued to light up the scoreboard during his junior year, but the Huskers struggled as a team, going just 5-13 in conference. After topping 18 points per contest for the second straight season and completing enough coursework to earn his degree, the 6-6 wing elected to forego his final season of eligibility and enter his name into the draft.

Petteway has good athleticism with a 6-11 wingspan. In the short portion of 3-on-3 work the media was allowed to watch, Petteway skied for an emphatic slam dunk on the baseline and also blocked a shot at the rim. He's hoping performances like that will open enough eyes that an organization takes a chance on him at draft night.

"I'm trying to prove that I'm a two-way guard and that I can be a guy that can come in and score and also guard my position," Petteway said.

The Pacers own the 11th and 43rd overall selections in the 2015 NBA Draft, which will take place on June 25 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.


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