For Justin Anderson, the recruitment process started far before his high school career even began. Donned as the top 8th grader in the country, he headed to Montrose Christian before ultimately settling on the University of Virginia. An integral part of the program’s resurgence to national prominence, Anderson established himself as one of the nation’s best “three and D” players to the point that he was able to enter the 2015 NBA Draft with one season left in his collegiate career.
Getting ready for the Draft, Anderson headed to Las Vegas to train with Joe Abunassar, Drew Moore, and Co. at Impact Basketball. Here is what he had to say about the swingman’s preparation for workouts:
CityLeagueHoops: What have you been working on with Justin in the pre-draft process?
Drew Moore: He had a great year shooting the ball, but we still wanted to get him more comfortable from NBA three. We also did a lot of work on his ball-handling. He’s probably not going to come off of ball screens right away, but simple moves for a shooting guard.
CLH: What do you think Justin is going to show NBA teams that he didn’t necessarily show at Virginia?
DM: How mature, focused, and ready to play with an NBA team he is. People don’t understand how much of a teammate he is. Justin loves being around gym competing in shooting drills, he picks the vets brains, and is eager to learn. He is a great teammate and a great locker room guy. The transition will be pretty seamless for him.
CLH: What makes you believe that Justin Anderson will be a successful NBA player?
DM: He’s going to be a factor right away because he can make an open three and can really defend.
Jarell Martin burst onto the scene a bit later than most, but immediately made a name for himself. At nearly 6-foot-10, he showed the ability to play inside and out for New Orleans Elite on the adidas AAU circuit. Following two productive years at LSU, Martin is headed to the NBA.
Here is the workout that we saw during the ASM Sports Pro Day along with an interview with Impact trainer Drew Moore, who worked with him on a daily basis.
CityLeagueHoops: What have you really been working on with Jarell in the pre-draft process?
Drew Moore: Shooting. He’s got to shoot it better. We’ve been doing a ton of catch and shoot off of pick and pop. With his speed and athleticism, he’s going to have an advantage against a lot of fours. He’s lightning fast up and down the floor, especially in transition.
CLH: What do you think he’s going to surprise NBA teams with in workouts?
DM: He’s got a little bit more post up game. He’s got good footwork and can finish with both hands.
CLH: Why do you feel Jarell Martin will be successful in the league?
DM: He’s humble and composed. He doesn’t show a lot of emotion, but is fiery competitive on the inside.
Growing up as a Cavs fan, I idolized the teams that had the stacked front line of Larry Nance, Hot Rod Williams, and Brad Daughtery. As a 6-foot-10 small forward, Larry was simply doing things that guys his size weren’t doing at that time. Fast forward twenty years and his son was doing his thing in the city of Cleveland. Just outside of where the Coliseum used to be, Larry Nance Jr. put in work too. Playing for Revere HS, Nance came on during his senior campaign and he only had one D-1 offer, he still managed to take the opportunity and run with it. After four solid years at Wyoming, he worked his way into the NBA Draft Combine and is fighting his way into the NBA. We watched him train in Chicago with Tim Anderson and Ryan Thompson, Larry showed off his surprising range to the NBA three point line and held his own on the blocks against guys like Bobby Portis and Cliff Alexander.
Here is the full interview that we did with Larry:
CityLeagueHoops: You were not a very highly touted guy coming out of Cleveland. What made you decide to go all the way across the country to Wyoming?
Larry Nance Jr.: Well, I came out of high school as a 6’6 center and not that many schools were interested in me. Coach Shyatt came and started recruiting me late, and they were my only offer so I had to take the visit. Then I fell in love with the place and have loved it ever since.
CLH: How do you think that you fell under the radar with having your athleticism and your Dad being who he is?
LN: I was 6’6 and I was real skinny. Our high school team wasn’t very good. If I was a coach, I wouldn’t have recruited me.
CLH: What do you think some of the bigger improvements that you’ve made on your game are to bring you where you are today?
LN: Well I grew and I got stronger, but naturally those come with age. I think mentally a grew to a new person and a new player. I grew up a lot at Wyoming.
CLH: Working with Tim and Ryan, what improvements are you looking to make on your game?
LN: I’m looking to translate to the pro game. I’m a little bit undersized to be strictly a four, so we’re working on getting my ball-handling right to improve on my shots off of the dribble so that I can maybe do some work as a three. Guarding Sam Dekker is awesome for that.
CLH: What do you think you’re going to surprise teams with in workouts that you didn’t necessarily get to show at Wyoming?
LN: I didn’t get to show any the fact that I can shoot it. I was just playing with my back to the basket with a bulldog underneath, but that’s not necessarily what I do. I”m a high flying athlete that runs the floor, blocks shots, and has a motor. If I can show that off, I think I’ll be in good standing.
CLH: If I’m an NBA GM, why do I want Larry Nance Jr. on my team?
LN: You get a high character guy and someone who has never been in any trouble in their life. I am coming to work every day and there is not one person that I will not go at. I love to compete and take every opportunity, then make the best of it.
CLH: What type of advice has your father given you throughout this process?
LN: Coming out of high school and college, he wasn’t very highly thought of either. Then coming out of Portsmouth, he went from a fifth rounder to a first rounder. That’s what I’m hoping to do here. No one is projecting me to be drafted, but no one expected me to be here coming out of high school, so I”m just hoping to surprise people again.
Some things come later rather than sooner. This was the case for Rakeem Christmas. A top-10 player coming out of high school, it took Christmas more time than most of his peers to make the impact that you’d expect of such a highly touted guy. Never averaging more than five points per game throughout his first three years at Syracuse, Rakeem spent the summer of ’14 working with the guys at Impact Basketball and had a career year. His averages of 17 points and 9 rebounds per night combined with his package of size (6-foot-9 with a 7-foot-5 wingspan) firmly placed him in the first round mix for next week’s NBA Draft.
Here is an interview with Rakeem’s trainer Drew Moore:
CityLeagueHoops: What have you been working on with Rakeem in the pre-draft process?
Drew Moore: A lot of it was getting his confidence back to where it was in high school. He was physically capable of doing a lot more than even he realized. He believes in himself now. He’s been working with us for two years now and look at the improvement that he made last year. Going up against guys like Timofey Mozgov and Serge Ibaka one on one and knowing he can compete with them. Got here March 15th and had two solid months with us before the Combine, where he was arguably the best player.
CLH: What do you think he will show teams in workouts that maybe he didn’t show at Syracuse?
DM: His mid-range shot. He used it little senior yearr, but it wasn’t his bread and butter. He has a nice first step and good forwork, so he’s skilled enough to attack.
CLH: Why will Rakeem Christmas be a successful NBA player?
DM: His age is a benefit. He is mature, composed, focused. Rakeem will be able to step in right away and contribute. Look at the level of improvement before his senior year of college at 23, so he can still add things to his game.
Myles Turner was a late bloomer, but has been turning heads for over two years now. Today, he stands one week away from being selected in the lottery of the NBA Draft. At the ASM Sports Pro Day at Impact Basketball in Vegas, he showed off some of the strides that he’s made since his college career ended. Turner exhibited a much improved ability to run the floor, explosive athleticism, and the ability to stroke it out to the NBA three point line. These three things have him firmly sitting in the top-10 of next week’s Draft.
Here is an interview that we did with Turner’s trainer, Drew Moore:
CityLeagueHoops: What have you really been focusing on with Myles in the pre-draft process?
Drew Moore: We’ve bene working on his mid-range shooting. He can shoot it out to NBA three, but we worked out from mid-range. Improving his overall strength was important. Scoring one on one in the low post against defenders. Simple isolation moves and their counters too.
CLH: What do you think that he’s going to surprise teams with in workouts?
DM: His shooting. He didn’t do a whole lot of that last year. Also, how explosive he is. He moves well up and down, and also contesting shots. I think he moves better than people realize. He will be a defensive factor right away and he can make an open shot.
CLH: A lot of people were really concerned with Myles’ mobility and ability to run the floor. Was that an area of concern for you?
DM: It was a concern that we heard from evaluators. His biomechanics were great. He was medically cleared and we put in extensive work on how he runs. Naturally he’s a 19-year old kid who is going to get stronger. As he develops a better core, the body is going to improve how it runs. We broke it down to every basic movement.
CLH: What do you think is going to make Myles Turner a successful NBA player?
DM: His sheer size and explosiveness are going to make him successful in the league. He’s at a point where he’s going to get a lot better in all facets of his game. Your’e going to be able to teach him a lot and he’s going to get lot better.
Terry Rozier has been shooting up the draft boards and based on the workout that we did with him in Cleveland, it’s easy to see why. Training with Robbie Haught of Cleveland Basketball School, he showed off his explosive burst in the simulated pick and roll drills, banging on one of the trainers in the process.
Keep checking CityLeagueHoops for the full workout of Terry Rozier within the coming days.
Kristaps Porzingis is the man of mystery of the 2015 NBA Draft to the fans, but not to NBA people. Reportedly owning a promise in the late lottery of last year’s Draft, he still opted to withdraw from the Draft and return to Sevilla for another year. That decision proved to be awfully wise, as he has taken himself to a consensus top-five pick for June’s Draft.
Working out with Joe Abunassar and Drew Moore of Impact Basketball in Las Vegas, Porzingis showed his total package offensively. He shot the lights out of the ball from NBA three, displayed an explosive first step, and simply ripped the rim off every time that he got to the rack. Granted, it was a one-on-none workout, but the bulk 150-plus executives in the building walked away knowing that Kristaps had the stroke and athleticism for your ideal face-up power forward in today’s NBA.
Here is the salvaged portion of our interview with Kristaps:
CityLeagueHoops: What are you looking to improve on in the pre-draft process with the guys at Impact?
Kristaps Porzingis: Teams want to see me get stronger, so I am going to work on that. I am going to keep working on my shot, my dribble, and my low post skills.
CLH: What do you think you surprised teams with in today’s workout that they may not have necessarily seen in Sevilla?
KP: I think that I showed my range and how big I am in person. I’m 7’1 with good mobility, am pretty quick for my size, and have good athleticism.
CLH: What teams will you be interviewing with?
KP: I just got done meeting with the Lakers. Yesterday I met with Utah and Portland. Now I have a meeting with Minnesota and a three more today.
CLH: What is it like going up against Myles Turner every day out here in Vegas?
KP: Myles is a great player. He is very physical and is a great athlete. It was great working out with him and we push each other, so it has been great for both of us.
CLH: How do you think going to Spain for your pro career helped you as opposed to staying in Latvia?
KP: I think it was great because when I was 15, I moved from home to another country and learned a new language. The youth level in Spain is a lot higher than it is in Latvia. These last couple of years in the ACB were unbelievable for me to play with all of these professionals in such a great league.
Kristaps Porzingis showed his game to the world today. At the ASM Sports Pro Day, the 7-foot-1 Latvian forward displayed his amazing outside jumper, but also showed that he’s far more athletic than your typical European player. While we will have the entire workout coming tomorrow, here is a small preview of the bounce that has NBA scouts enamored with him to the point that he is a near consensus top-5 pick.
Keep checking CityLeagueHoops for more videos from the ASM Pro Day.
Kelly Oubre has always had as much potential as just about any swingman in the class of 2014 and while he showed that throughout his high school career, he reminded the 150 or so executives in attendance at the BDA Sports Pro Day of that same thing. Training with Drew Hanlen (who has worked with Brad Beal, Andrew Wiggins, and Zach LaVine in recent years), Oubre showed off an improved handle and simply elite ability to finish at the rim. While there are still many concerns about his game, there is no denying the massive amount of upside that he will offer whichever team selects him in this month’s NBA Draft.
Here is the full interview with Drew Hanlen on working with Kelly Oubre:
CityLeagueHoops: As a guy who has had a questionable work ethic throughout his career, what has Kelly been like to work with?
Drew Hanlen: Every GM and scout that saw him during the season told me that I needed to get with Oubre because he was lazy and inconsistent. We’re trying to do the same thing with we did with Andrew Wiggins and teach him how to work to capitalize on his upside. He’s been great to work with since day one. I think a lot of the criticism that he has gotten has motivated him to show the player he is.
CLH: What have you been focusing on with Kelly during the pre-draft process?
DH: I think there are really four things with him. His ability to defend because first year, he’s going to have to be a three and D type of guy. We’ve been doing a lot of on ball work to use his length to disrupt ball-handlers. Number two is that we changed his shooting mechanics. He was a big twister, so we’ve changed things to get him more balanced and have changed his release point to develop a more consistent shot. Number three is working on adding live ball moves so he can feel more comfortable on attacking from the wings. Number four is making sure that he can finish at the rim with both hands.
CLH: What do you think Kelly is going to surprise teams with in workouts?
DH: His competitive nature. At Kansas, even I had questions because his effort looked like it was inconsistent. I think that his killer mentality is finally kicking in and he realizes that he can’t just get by on his talent.
CLH: Why do you think Kelly Oubre Jr. will be a successful player in the NBA?
DH: There aren’t many two way players in the league anymore. His ability to defend right away and his upside offensively separate him from a lot of the other players in the Draft. Most are one dimensional on the offensive end. He can defend and make plays from the wing, and potentially develop into a second scorer in the league.
Chol Marial has been taking the AAU circuit by storm. Standing 7-foot-3 with a massive 7-foot-11 wingspan, Marial has become a dominant force on the middle school circuit. He showed this over the weekend at Rob Taylor’s NYBL when while playing with an absolutely loaded Team Florida squad, he threw down a simply massive alley-oop. Flying down the right lane of the court, elite point guard Marquise Walker found him in transition for a nasty lob.
Keep checking CityLeagueHoops for more NYBL videos.