During the BDA Sports Pro Day, we got the chance to get up with a guy that we’ve been covering for quite some time. It was nearly seven years ago that we first saw 6-foot-11 forward Stefan Jankovic. Two prep schools and two colleges later, he now finds himself as an NBA prospect.
Winning Big West Player of The Year this past season, Stef showed off how versatile of a power forward that he is at Hawaii. He was deadly in pick and pop play, can beat smaller defenders off of the bounce, and shot it well from deep. Having over 20 workouts by the time that it’s over with, Stefan has a legit chance of hearing his name called in the second round of Thursday’s Draft.
Here is the full interview that we did with him:
CityLeagueHoopsTV: With the way that things went down at Missouri and not receiving the playing time that you expected, did you ever get down on yourself about having to transfer?
Stefan Jankovic: A little bit. I wish that it would have worked out at Mizzou. I have love for that place. I guess it just wasn’t the place for me. It was a little bit frustrating for me having to think about transferring more than once, but everything was a little unsure there with the coaching staff, the NCAA stuff, and all that. It was frustrating, but I was at peace with the decision once I got to Hawaii.
CLH: What do you think that you were able to do at Hawaii under Coach Ganot that they may not have necessarily seen at Mizzou?
SJ: I’d say using my versatility. At Missouri, I was basically just a shooter. At Hawaii, I was able to show my whole game. In high school, I wasn’t known as a guy who just shot the ball. I mean, I could shoot, but I wouldn’t even say that was a strong point of my game. Being at away just kind of turned me back to the Kiski days and I was free. I was just out there hooping and enjoying the game. At Hawaii and going through the transfer process, I just matured. I became a professional and just worked harder on my game. I always thought that I was a hard worker, but I increased that even more.
CLH: You had a hell of a year this year, won conference player of the year, made the NCAA tourney, etc. You weren’t really projected as being drafted, yet went all in on the NBA Draft. Did you ever consider a grad transfer? What made you decide to go all in with an agent?
SJ: I felt like Hawaii gave me a second chance and I left it all out there. I wanted to respect Hawaii for giving me a second chance and for everything they’ve done for me. I also felt that it was my time to enter the NBA Draft on a developmental side and that being a professional would be so much more productive for me than staying in college anywhere for another year. Just going up against all of these guys in the pre-draft process has gotten me so much better and I’m not exactly a young guy. I have a lot of room for improvement still, which is why I completely committed to entering the NBA Draft.
CLH: If you don’t find yourself drafted next Thursday, would you be more willing to go overseas or fight your way through vet camp and the D-League?
SJ: Obviously, I’m going to fight and do whatever I have to do to make it to the league. I’m going to do whatever a team wants me to do, whether it be go to the D-League or overseas. I don’t read the mock drafts, so they don’t really effect me. I know that I need to work on a lot of stuff defensively, so I’m always open to doing whatever I need to do to improve my game. However, in these workouts, I haven’t been outplayed and have showed teams that my skill level is there.
CLH: How did playing alongside NBA guys such as Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett, Tyler Ennis, and Sim Bhullar
SJ: That’s been huge for me confidence wise. Also, talking to those guys through this process has really helped me. It’s made me comfortable in these workouts doing competitive stuff because in the summers, I’m playing one on one with Andrew Wiggins. He was the #1 pick in a pretty strong draft and Anthony Bennett was too. Just a couple of years ago, we were on the same team.
CLH: What teams have you worked out for so far?
SJ: Oh man, it’s been a minute. Dallas and Milwaukee came to watch an individual workout. I went to LA, Dallas, then I had the pro day with all 30 teams. Then I worked out for Toronto twice, then New York, Celtics, the Nets, and 76ers. I’ve got Sacramento, Indiana, and Detroit. I may have missed a few, though.