Rakeem Christmas NBA Draft workout and interview with trainer Drew Moore

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.

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Myles Turner NBA Draft workout and interview with trainer Drew Moore

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.

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Terry Rozier dunks on trainer in NBA Draft workout

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.

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Kristaps Porzingis NBA Draft Workout and Interview

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.

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Kristaps Porzingis dunks everything at Impact Basketball

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.

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Kelly Oubre NBA Draft Workout and interview with trainer Drew Hanlen

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.

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Chol Marial bangs huge dunk from Marquise Walker at NYBL

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.

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Franklin Agunanne throws down monster dunks at The League Dallas

Franklin Agunanne isn’t quite a household name, but those in the know understand how special of a prospect he can become. Standing 6’10 with a great frame and wingspan, he has ideal size for a center and at The League’s stop in Dallas, showed that he is developing the athleticism to match.

Running with Team Texas, Agunanne was simply a best around the rim. He made some tough catches and finished drop-off passes with powerful dunks at the rim. After receiving considerable playing time on the national level this past season for St. Louis Christian, Franklin appears ready to show people on the summer circuit why he is one of the best center prospects for the class of 2018.

Keep checking CityLeagueHoops for more updates on Franklin.

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Bobby Portis NBA Draft Workout and Interview

Bobby Portis isn’t a guy who you’ll catch in all of the highlights, but he has quietly been one of the more successful big men from the high school class of 2013. He went to Arkansas and despite having the opportunity to leave school after his freshman year, opted to come back for one more year to make the NCAA tournament. Standing nearly 6-foot-11 in shoes, Portis has the size to play either post position in the NBA. At the workout that we took in during our time in Chicago, he brought outstanding intensity to every drill, shot it well from mid-range, and led by example the entire time that he was on the floor working with Tim Anderson and Ryan Thompson.

Here is the full interview that we did with Portis following his workout:

CityLeagueHoops: What are you looking to improve upon in the pre-draft process?

Bobby Portis: I’m just fine tuning my game. I’m working on my post game and working on my jumper a little bit. Throughout the end of the season, I started to slack on my jumper a little bit.

CLH: What do you think that you’re going to surprise teams with in the workout process?

BP: My overall physicality and defense that I bring to a team. ‎I feel like my style of play is going to help me a lot at the next level with just being active on defense and going hard.

CLH: You had the opportunity to jump to the NBA after your freshman year. What made you come back?

BP: I just wanted to get my team to the NCAA Tournament. That’s something that Arkansas hasn’t been to since 2008. That was a big goal for me.

CLH: If I’m an NBA GM, why do I want Bobby Portis on my team?

BP: You want Bobby Portis on your team because he is always going to do everything that you say.‎ He’s a low maintenance guy who is always going to bring it every day, both in practice and the games.

CLH: You don’t seem to be a very vocal guy, but you definitely picked up the group today with how hard you want. Are you more of a lead by example type?

BP: I’ve never been much of a vocal leader. I’m kind of a shy, stick to myself type of guy.‎ I feel like I bring the intensity that every team needs.

CLH: What would you say that the biggest improvements you made under Coach Anderson were?

BP: Just always going hard and pushing for that second, third, and fourth effort. I felt that in high school, it was kind of easy. In college, it was more physical and I had to bring that second effort to go hard every single play.

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Cliff Alexander NBA Draft Workout and Interview

Cliff Alexander has been a physical monster on the floor for quite some time and after an up and down year at Kansas, he looks to show people that they didn’t see all that he had to offer during his brief tenure in college. Having signed with Priority Sports, we got a chance to get in and watch him train with Tim Anderson and Ryan Thompson in Chicago. Alexander displayed an improved jumper, remarkable explosiveness around the rim, and developing moves on the block throughout the two hour workout that we took in.

Here’s the full interview that we did with Cliff:

CityLeagueHoops: What do you feel that the most important things that you learned at KU under Coach Self were?

Cliff Alexander: I learned a lot of knowledge from Coach Self. I learned the history of basketball and was just a sponge to everything that he told me.

CLH: What are you looking to improve upon most in the pre-draft process here with Tim Anderson?

CA: My skill set. I need to get my ball-handling where it needs to be and get a more consistent jumpshot.

CLH: You played both against and alongside Jahlil Okafor throughout your high school career. Do you think that helped your development?

CA: It helped me a lot. Every time we stepped on the floor, I was an underdog. I had to go out and prove everyone wrong that I could battle with him.

CLH: Do you think that you will be able to add your jumpshot as a weapon to your game in the NBA?

CA: Most definitely I plan on adding my jumper as a weapon. It’s not my mechanics. I just have to keep practicing.

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