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.