Big Easy Buzz Blog - June 24, 2008

Hornets Draft Workouts: Day 8

Tuesday, June 24, 2008
By: Nick O'Hayre and Jim Eichenhofer,
The final day of Hornets draft workouts was headlined by the presence of Chris Douglas-Roberts, who is being projected as New Orleans’ first-round pick at No. 27 by various websites’ mock drafts.
For more from Douglas-Roberts, as well as fellow Tuesday workout participant David Gomez of Tulane, visit our Audio Archives section. Hornets GM Jeff Bower and head coach Byron Scott also spoke extensively to the media after the workout, held at Tulane’s Fogelman Arena. Their chats are available in the Audio Archives page as well.
Below are comments from three of the remaining workout invitees. Sonny Weems of Arkansas filled out the six-player workout and was making his second trip to New Orleans for a pre-draft session. Scott briefly addressed Weems in his post-workout interview.

Q: Which players do you compare yourself to in the NBA in terms of your style of play?
A: I would like to consider myself like a Dwight Howard in the making. Somebody who has some physical gifts and likes to go hard.

Q: What do you know about the Hornets?
A: What draws me is what a solid program they have, especially being led by a point guard like Chris Paul. He makes the game a lot easier for the rest of his teammates and he gives a solid performance every night. That is very valuable.

Q: What areas of your game are you trying to improve or prove to scouts that they aren’t weaknesses?
A: I want to show them that I am very versatile, that I’m not just a strict 5, especially defensively. I can guard many different positions on the court, so I want to show that. I want to show that I am very active, very talkative and that I can bring a high defensive intensity to a team.

Q: Which players do you compare yourself to in the NBA in terms of your style of play?
A: Basically, I think I’m unique. But players in the league I try to go out there and play like are guys like Renaldo Balkman and (Paul) Millsap, guys that really just get after it and go out there and do the dirty work.

Q: What do you know about the Hornets?
A: Basically their style of play. They really get up and down the court and they really move the ball. Chris Paul is excellent at throwing lobs to big guys and feeding them, so it would be a great fit for me to be in an offense like this. Back at school, I went to Clemson, we ran a press defense, so we ran a lot. So it would be a great fit.

Q: What areas of your game are you trying to improve or prove to scouts that they aren’t weaknesses?
A: Basically just energy. That’s what I did in college, somebody who would just come in and try to affect the game without touching the ball as far as playing great defense and getting deflections and stuff like that.

GAVIN GRANT, North Carolina State
Q: What do you know about the Hornets?
A: I’d love to run up and down and play with Chris Paul. I played against him in the ACC so I’d love to get on the same team with him and run up and down and get layups.

Q: What areas of your game are you trying to improve or prove to scouts that they aren’t weaknesses?
A: Just shoot better and play defense. Want to slide my feet and stop players because not too many of us can go to the league and be 20-point scorers, so just want to show I can play defense.

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: Me, Gavin Grant.

Douglas-Roberts visits on final day of Hornets workouts

Below are the bios of the six draft prospects invited to Tuesday's workouts at Fogelman Arena on Tulane’s campus:

Chris Douglas-Roberts, Memphis
Douglas-Roberts, a 6’ 7” shooting guard from Detroit, is an early entrant candidate for the 2008 NBA Draft, declaring after his junior season. He averaged 18.1 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 2007-08 as he helped lead the Tigers to the NCAA Championship where they fell to Kansas. He led the team in scoring and finished his career as the ninth all-time leading scorer in Memphis history with 1,545 career points. Douglas-Roberts earned Consensus First Team All-American honors as a junior and was a finalist for the Naismith and Wooden Awards. He was also named First Team All-Conference USA and earned league Player of the Year honors. As a sophomore, he earned First Team All-Conference honors and was named an Honorable Mention All-American by The Associated Press. The 21-year old is a slashing wingman with good quickness who excels at getting to the basket. He is a good ball handler, has an excellent basketball IQ and has a good midrange game.

DeVon Hardin, California
Hardin, a 6’ 11” center from Newark, California, averaged 9.3 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.2 blocks a game as senior for the Golden Bears. He finished the season ranked fifth in the Pac-10 in blocked shots, seventh in rebounding and seventh in field-goal percentage (.554). Hardin finished his collegiate career as Cal’s second all-time leading shot-blocker with 132 and 13th all-time in rebounds with 649. As a sophomore he earned Honorable Mention All-Pac-10 honors. Hardin previously declared for the 2007 NBA Draft, but withdrew his name when he didn’t receive a first-round promise. The 21-year old is an athletic big man who plays with a lot of power in the paint. He is a good rebounder and shot blocker, has good footwork and plays with a lot of aggression.

Sonny Weems, Arkansas
Weems, a 6’ 6” shooting guard from Arkansas, was named First Team All-SEC by the league’s coaches and earned Second Team honors from the AP following his senior season with the Razorbacks. He averaged a team-high 15.0 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.6 assists in his second and final season with Arkansas (attended Arkansas-Fort Smith JUCO his first two seasons). Weems scored 20 or more points 10 times, including a career-high 31 points in the first round of the NCAA Tournament this season against Indiana. Weems recently scored the best time in the three-quarter court sprints (2.96 seconds) and the second-best score (10.58 seconds) in the lane-agility test at the NBA Pre-Draft Camp in Orlando. Hailing from Memphis, Weems is an exceptional athlete with explosive slashing ability who can catch fire from the perimeter.

David Gomez, Tulane
Gomez, a 6’ 7” forward out of Baton Rouge, averaged 10.7 points and 5.0 rebounds in 86 career games for Tulane. He made 69 starts during his career and his 94 career blocks rank seventh in the Green Wave record book. He had double-digit scoring in 47 games, while grabbing 10 or more rebounds in nine contests, tallying six career double-doubles. He earned Second Team All-Conference USA honors as a senior, following being named to the third team as a junior. He also earned NABCA All-District 8 First Team accolades, as he led Tulane to its second-straight winning season. Gomez led the Green Wave in scoring (14.5 points), rebounding (6.1 rebounds) and blocks (45). He scored in double figures in 23 of 30 appearances in his senior season.

Gavin Grant, NC State
Grant, a 6’ 8” forward from New York, averaged 13.1 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.9 assists as a senior for the Wolfpack. He was named to the All-ACC Tournament first team as a junior when he averaged 14.8 points in the Pack’s four game run in the tournament. The 23-year old is very athletic and has no problem getting to the basket with his quick and powerful first step. He is an excellent ball-handler, is capable of pulling up off the dribble from mid-range and can go left or right equally well.

James Mays, Clemson
Mays, a 6’9” forward from North Carolina, averaged 10.7 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.0 assists as a senior for the Tigers. He helped Clemson reach the ACC Tournament championship game as well as the NCAA Tournament in 2007-08. Mays finished his collegiate career in Clemson’s top 10 all-time for both steals and blocks per game. He was originally an early entry candidate for the 2007 NBA Draft before withdrawing his name from consideration. The 22-year old is an athletic forward known for his hard-nosed play on both ends of the floor. He rebounds well on both ends of the floor and he displays excellent passing ability from the low-post.