Pre-Draft Workout Recap | 6.14.19
With the draft less than a week away, the 76ers hosted a pre-draft workout Friday that featured six more prospects.
Here’s some of what was said following the practice:
While potential lottery picks tend to dominate the narrative at this time of year, the 76ers have made way for a few lesser-known prospects to shine on the big stage.
Mahir Johnson, who grew up just fifteen miles from the Training Complex and attended Sixers games as a young fan, is now one of those prospects.
“It’s just a blessing for me to get the opportunity to work out for the Sixers. It’s something that I won’t ever forget.” Johnson said. “I came a long way, put in a lot of hours in the gym just to get to this point right here.”
76ers Senior Director of Scouting Vince Rozman says evaluating players like Johnson, who may have flown under the radar in college, is worthwhile.
“Mahir is a solid guard. He’s from Chester, he played locally. So to get those guys in, see them in a different setting is helpful.”
From Chester High School, to two seasons at Delaware State, and two more at Goldey-Beacom, Johnson said every phase of his journey has been worth it:
“Advice that I would give to my younger self is just to keep pushing. Always just keep pushing, stay positive. The situation may not look how you want it to look in the moment, but just keep pushing. Keep working hard, and everything is going to work out for you. Hard work doesn’t go unnoticed. I don’t care what it is, whatever it is that you’re doing, hard work doesn’t go unnoticed. That’s what I would tell my younger self.”
Prospects going to work. pic.twitter.com/YPoL7R0KzD
— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) June 14, 2019
Tennessee standout Kyle Alexander said that keeping in touch with his Tennessee teammates on the pre-draft circuit helps him get through the grind. He said that one of his primary goals as he visits each team is to showcase his range:
“The NBA is changing. Bigs need to be able to be versatile. You look at Joel Embiid, he can step out and show his range. So that’s definitely something I’ve been working on. I like the fact that I got to practice -- not just trying to show them I can shoot threes -- but these workouts are an opportunity to get better too, with people watching.”
Point Loma Nazarene
Daulton Hommes, a 6-foot-8 wing from Lynden, WA, visited the Sixers for his 11th workout. Hommes said that as demanding as the pre-draft process may be, he’s savored the moments and prioritized keeping his body ready:
“[The pre-draft process has] been really good. I’ve enjoyed every minute of it, getting to know a lot of people, going up against a lot of good players, and just getting a good feel for what the next level’s going to be like… You really gotta keep up on your fluids, drink a ton of water, stretch, foam roll, get a lot of sleep, and get the proper treatment after each workout.”
Nick Mayo, who hails from in Oakland, ME, said his four years at Eastern Kentucky taught him to adapt to adversity, grow his game, and prepare for this moment. Should Mayo get drafted, he would be the first player from Maine drafted into the NBA. Mayo explained that the pre-draft process has allowed him to showcase himself holistically:
“It’s been a lot of traveling -- that’s been new to me. A lot of plane rides and stuff. But it’s been great, just being to showcase my abilities, and my skills, and my personality. It’s been a fun ride and journey.”
Jordan Poole visited the Sixers following a pair of seasons at Michigan. Poole said that being competitive is the key to each pre-draft workout -- proving that he can stack up to elite competition. But more importantly, he’s trying to appreciate the unique experience:
“You’ve got to try to enjoy the process. Obviously, you’ve worked so hard to be in this situation. Being able to be here, and in the moment, it’s extremely special. So you just want to take everything in.”
Isaiah Roby, a Dixon, IL native, spent three memorable seasons at Nebraska prior to entering the draft. Like many of his fellow prospects, Roby said he’s staying motivated to power through the arduous pre-draft process:
“[The workout] was good. It’s getting towards the end, so I’m starting to feel that fatigue and get a little tired, but every day’s another opportunity. So I’m just working for it. The main thing I’ve been trying to show teams is that at the next level, I’ll be a versatile defender, and a versatile playmaker on offense as well."