The top player that we saw at Impact Basketball was San Diego State junior Jamaal Franklin. The 6’5 wing shot the lights out of the ball from the NBA three point line, which was a bit unexpected given that he only shot 28% from three in college. Also, Franklin showed off the ability to create his own shot on anyone and great court vision for a wing, leaving no doubt in our mind that he’s going to be selected in the mid-first round come next June’s Draft.
Here’s our full interview with Franklin touching on the work he put in to get where he is, how he slipped under the radar, and what he learned from Coach Fisher at San Diego State.
CityLeagueHoops: Tell me a little bit about your progression as a player. How did you develop from a guy not ranked in the top 150 to a guy who has a chance of cracking the lottery?
Jamaal Franklin: Just a lot of hard work. I’ve always been a person to work hard and when you work hard, you get better. I’ve never been comfortable in what I’ve achieved or accomplished. I’ve always wanted to go higher, and higher, and higher.
CLH: You played with a good AAU team on the Nike circuit with Cal Supreme…How do you think you slipped through the cracks the way you did?
JF: I think it has a lot to do with where I played high school at in the high desert. I was playing at Cerrano and I felt like I wasn’t getting that much interest from colleges or as far as rankings. My AAU team, California Supreme, was one of the top in the country, though. It didn’t really bother me because I knew at the end of the day, we’d all be on the court somehow, some way.
CLH: Having watched you since high school, you always thrived in transition but then took your game to another level at San Diego State. How has your game evolved as a whole?
JF: I was always known as an athlete, but I didn’t ALWAYS want to be known as an athlete. During my freshman year, I just matured as a player. Each year that I got older, I just kept getting smarter and smarter as a player.
CLH: What are you really looking to improve on here at Impact during the pre-draft process?
JF: Getting smarter and developing an NBA IQ. I’d also like to reduce my turnovers, tighten my ball-handling, and shoot the ball more consistently.
CLH: What do you think that you’re going to surprise teams with in workouts?
JF: I think that I”m really going to shock teams with how I shoot the ball.
CLH: At San Diego State, you were primarily a transition threat. What are some of the things that you didn’t really get to show in college?
JF: I’m a great one on one player. At San Diego State, basketball was more of a team effort. All I want to do is win. I’m a real good one on one player and going into the NBA this year, I’m going to have way more space to work with.
CLH: Playing under Steve Fisher, you learned from a guy who coached countless NBA players. What would you say the most important thing you learned from Coach Fisher was?
JF: Just being mature and using your head. Think before everything you do.
CLH: You were a player who had the option of bouncing to the NBA last season or transferring to a bigger school, yet you stayed at SDSU and helped build them into one of the better mid-major programs in the country. Why did you come back for your junior year?
JF: I had things left to prove and if you win, we’ll all end up on the same court. You’ll make the NCAA tournament. You’ll play against Kansas. You’ll play against Oklahoma. I just feel that if you win and work hard, everyone is going to wind up at the same place.