Pre-Draft Workout Recap | 6.7.19
The 76ers hosted their third consecutive pre-draft workout Friday morning, as six new prospects visited the Training Complex.
Sixers’ Vice President of Player Personnel Marc Eversley said that with this specific group, there was a particular area of focus:
“Today was all about defense -- we’ve got a couple of guys in here who can really guard, that can really contain the ball.”
Here’s more of what was said following the workout:
Adam Mokoka, who spent the last two seasons playing professionally in France and Serbia, was making his first pre-draft workout of the spring Friday. His KK Mega Basket squad finished its season last week against Red Star, as Serbian household name and Sixer fan favorite Boban Marjanovic looked on. Mokoka said moments on international stage like that one have helped prepare him for the next level:
“The top scorer wants to score on everybody, and be the best. I’m the kind of guy, you don’t score on me. And I like that. I like to stop the guy - 'You cannot score on me. You can score on anybody, but not on me.’ I like this challenge. I bring rhythm, energy, and enthusiasm. I’m a lockdown defender.”
Prior to his workout in Camden, St. John’s’ Justin Simon watched the Sixers firsthand in Brooklyn during the first round of the NBA Playoffs. Simon, who prides himself on defense, believes he'll be able to lock down in the NBA:
“I bring a lot of versatility. With my defense, I was able to guard one through five [positions] this year in college. In the NBA, I think I’ll be able to guard one through three, maybe even a stretch four. Just bringing that versatility on the defensive end, making it contagious, constantly talking, bringing energy, having a motor out there, and then translating my defense into offense -- making us play quicker in transition.”
While most prospects are fully dialed into the draft process, standout Stanford senior Josh Sharma is balancing the pre-draft grind with finishing his academic career. While he travels cross country for workouts, he's also preparing for Stanford’s graduation on June 16:
“I’ve got finals coming up next week. Between workouts and traveling, I’ve just been studying. It’s been fun, I’ve been trying to enjoy it. I think being from Stanford, I’m used to balancing athletics and academics. But still, it’s definitely gotten a little busier these last couple of weeks.”
Christ Koumadje, who played high school basketball with Ben Simmons at Montverde Academy, brings a unique combination of size and quickness to the table. Standing at 7-foot-4, the Florida State product credits his footwork to his years growing up with a different sport:
“I’ve always been a guy that moves around, playing soccer growing up. I did a lot of running, running track. So I think I got my foot speed, and stuff like that, playing soccer, and I definitely can have an impact.”
Koumadje would be the first NBA player from Chad -- and knows how significant that achievement would be:
“It definitely would mean a lot for my people, for my brothers and sister, for the neighborhood, and stuff like that -- it would mean a lot.”
Zach Norvell Jr.
Zach Norvell Jr. came onto the scene playing high school ball at Chicago's Simeon Career Academy, which was once home to NBA talents Derrick Rose and Jabari Parker. The sharp-shooting Norvell led Gonzaga with 97 3-pointers this season, but said he’s ready to contribute on both ends of the floor:
“I’m a hard working player, a tough-nosed guy. I love to compete, have a high IQ for the game, and my shot-making ability. [My defense] is pretty good actually. My hustle, and my competitive nature makes up for my athleticism.”
Auburn’s Bryce Brown was a driving force in his team’s Final Four appearance this season, averaging 15.9 points in his senior season. Brown said playing big-time college basketball helped prepare him to face NBA talent:
“Playing against some of the top guys in the country in the Final Four, I just feel like it’s prepared me for the NBA because I’m competing against the best of the best… People know me as a shooter, of course. I try to show what I can do on the defensive side, I tried to show that as much as I could this season, tried to show that today.”
The Sixers’ pre-draft workouts continue this weekend at the Complex.