Rondae Hollis-Jefferson didn’t even need a question from the 20-odd media members gathered at US Airways Center to make an impression.
He beat them to the opportunity.
“I knew y’all were waiting for me,” Hollis-Jefferson said, as he walked into the Al McCoy Media Center, his voice and expression radiating confidence and humor. “Let’s get to it.”
The former Arizona Wildcat did that and more, playing the media game better than most of his soon-to-be NBA peers. The athletic 6-7 swingman, who averaged 11.2 points and 6.8 boards as a sophomore, might be projected as a mid-to-late first-round pick, but he’ll be a nightly threat to go No. 1 overall whenever reporters draft their interview requests.
He met mundane, ordinary questions with flavor and flair after his pre-draft workout with the Suns on Friday.
“How did today go?” one reporter opened.
“It went well,” he said, flashing a grin before popping his ‘Phoenix Basketball’ tee. “You can tell by my shirt.”
Even his serious responses came with an individuality you just can’t teach. The 20-year-old prospect was part of a six-man workout group of first-round talent. Where each of them will fall, of course, ultimately depends on team need, preference and how well they do against each other in these workout settings.
Asked if he was especially motivated to be matched up against his eventual draft-day competition, he took a second to gather his thoughts.
“I don’t see it (that way),” he said candidly. “I think you should be juiced up no matter who you play because anybody could come at you. [It doesn’t matter] if you’re the underdog or if you’re being talked about or mentioned more. You should be ready no matter what.”
Will Hollis-Jefferson be ready on Draft Night? Or more importantly, did he impress enough in today’s workout to reach the range of the draft where the Suns are currently picking?
The Pac-12 All-Defensive Teamer, who’s shooting has been questioned, just laughed at that question.
“I feel like I can hit any range.”