This is an INSANE time of year for those players hoping to be picked in the NBA draft. The logistics alone are pretty bad: most are running from city to city trying to put on the basketball show of their lives in private team workouts, while spending hours and hours stuck on crazy flights and in strange hotels. Normal patterns of eating and sleeping are abandoned entirely. On top of all that, they're about to become millionaires. Or not -- if they mess up these workouts. And they're about to move somewhere, to some city, where they will take orders from coaches they are in most cases just meeting for the first time now. Through all the stress, pressures, and miles, the players are supposed to be majestic, undaunted, and charming. It's exciting, it's bizarre, and it's weird. Starting now, and through the draft, TrueHoop will be following the emotional experience -- with repeated interviews -- of a handful of draft hopefuls. We're calling it "Just Pick Me Already."
We heard from Virginia Tech guard Zabian Dowdell a few days ago, when he was on his way to a second workout in San Antonio amid much optimism. I caught up with him again late yesterday, as he was leaving the workout.
How did it go in San Antonio?
It went pretty good. There were five guys there. We did some shooting, some one-on-ones.
Were D.J. Strawberry and Jared Jordan there again?
No, no D.J. and Jared this time. It was Jamal Tatum, Mustafa Shakur, Ramon Sessions, and Petteri Koponen.
How did Koponen look?
He looks pretty good. This was a pretty good group to go against.
Did you get any sense of what the team thought about the workout?
No, they didn't tell me much. No real dialogue from the team. They took us out to a pretty lunch in a pretty good restaurant and said thanks for coming.
Who runs these workouts?
The first time I was in San Antonio it was a scout. This time it was an assistant coach, but lots of people were involved. The GM was directing part of it. It's not just one guy.
Where to next?
Dallas tomorrow, and then if nothing else pops up I'll go back to IMG until the 27th, when I'll go and see my family for draft night.
Any thought of going to New York for the draft?
I haven't heard anything about being invited to New York, but it would be nice!
Did you get to see San Antonio at all?
I got in kind of late. No chance to really sightsee. But I'm used to that -- that's how it goes in almost every city.
What do you do with all the time like right now, when you are in airports and hotels?
I use that time to try to catch up with family and friends, people I haven't had much of a chance to talk to. I try to get my mind off the draft, but a lot of times they remind me of it.
I guess I'm not helping.
It's no biggie. I talk to my girl, and we talk about everything except the draft. Then, I guess it comes up sometimes anyway. That's the hardest part. You don't know where you're going to live. All I can do is go and work out and and assume it will work out.
Where is all your stuff? You packed up in Virginia I guess, and you have been based in two different parts of Florida.
I have an uncle who lives near Blacksburg in Virginia. He went and packed up a lot of my stuff and put it in storage. The rest of my stuff is at the apartment I'm staying in at IMG in Bradenton. Whenever I find out where I'll be playing, I'll ship it all to that city. And hopefully I won't need a passport!
Do you have a passport?
Meanwhile, how do you pack for all these workouts? You don't even know when you'll be home.
When I go to workouts, they usually give you some gear to wear. Now, when I leave the workout, I just leave the gear behind, because my bag is already so heavy.
You could probably sell that stuff.
It would go for a few bucks back home. But after the workouts, I just leave it in the locker room.