DraftExpress DraftStation: Media Day Coverage

DraftExpress DraftStation: Media Day Coverage
Jun 27, 2005, 06:03 pm
Rashad McCants

Interviewer: What teams are looking good for you?

Rashad McCants: Looks good at LA Clippers, Denver and Minnesota.

Interviewer: With the Clippers, how do you think you fit in with them?

Rashad McCants: I think it'll be a good deal for me. They're in need of a two-guard, and need some shooters. And I'm just a guy that's going to go out there and play team ball and win.

Interviewer: They're a team on the rise...

(Raymond Felton walks over and says hello, gives his friend McCants a handshake and calls out as he walks away "Give me a call when you get out of here...")


Interviewer: those guys think you could really take the place of what Quentin Richardson did there a couple of years ago in that spot?

Rashad McCants: You can't take the place of a guy like Q. Going into a place like that full of great players would be good for a young guy like myself.

Interviewer: How exciting is it for you to be going into the NBA with three teammates who are also likely to go in the first round and a couple of other guys who may even be picked in the second round?

Rashad McCants: It's going to be a hard adjustment. Playing with guys for three years and knowing what they can do, and they know what you can do. Knowing that you're going to have to play against them ... it's like an All-Star pickup game. And that's going to be like an every night thing. The guys that you grew up watching all the time...playing against them.

Interviewer: What have the last few days been like, especially not knowing where you're going in the draft and being with your friends here in NYC? It is fun? Exciting?

Rashad McCants: A little bit of everything, you know. Especially not knowing where you're going to go, what teams like you, what teams don't like you, so on and so forth. I just use it as a new experience, and a new challenge. And try to learn from everything.

On staying in school...

Rashad McCants: I think going into college you always think of guys like Tim Duncan who stayed four years and progressed and it's gratifying that you can stay in school and not be penalized for staying too long.

DraftExpress: How do you like New York?

Rashad McCants: I've always loved New York.

DraftExpress: Sort of an odd question, but speculation has your draft spot anywhere from mid-lottery to early in the second round. What do you feel about your chances?

Rashad McCants: You know, to me it really doesn't matter where as long as I get a chance to play, to prove all the doubters wrong. I'm put in a position right now where I have to please everybody in order to get a good enough draft pick, but I feel like, given the situation, the team that takes a chance on me won't regret it at all.

DraftExpress: Do you think getting invited to the Green Room tells you something about your draft position?

Rashad McCants: It does. That I'm probably 12-14, somewhere around there.

DraftExpress: Were there any workouts that stood out as particularly strong for you, where you got good feedback?

Rashad McCants: I thought Minnesota was very good, I thought I played well over there.

DraftExpress: They have a pick in that range, don't they?

Rashad McCants: Yup.

DraftExpress: Good luck.

Rashad McCants: Thank you.


Deron Williams

(Mr. Williams initially had to correct a TV interviewer's mis-pronunciation of his name)

Interviewer: Everybody's got you going as a lottery pick after Milwaukee, tell us how that makes you feel to work your entire life and get here...

Deron Williams: It feels great. It's just a blessing right now to be here. If you'd told me I'd be considered a top 5 pick coming out of high school, I probably wouldn't have agreed with [that]. But I worked hard here, put in three long years at Illinois and I'm here feels great.

For fans that didn't get to watch you play all the time, why would they want their team to pick you, what do you bring to the table?

Deron Williams: I'm a winner. I've been a winner at every level. I get other involved. I'm best when I'm out there making plays for people and getting people the ball, that's what I do best. And also, I bring in the defensive intensity to a ball team.

David Aldridge (ESPN): How much do you think the NCAA tournament helped your NBA prospects?

Deron Williams: I think it definitely helped me a lot. I think I was a lottery [pick] before that, but I think the tournament pushed me up into the top 5, top 10 area. So it definitely helped me out.

Interviewer: Talk about your defense and how you shut down opposing point guards in the tournament. Can you talk about your approach to defense.

Deron Williams: I think it's just something I've always taken pride in. You know, defense wins championships -- you see the Spurs and the Pistons in the Finals, and that's the two best defensive teams in the NBA. It's not a coincidence, you know, defense wins games and that's what I pride myself on.

Interviewer: You know, some guys don't want to play defense. How did you learn it?

Deron Williams: You know, my mom just did that to me when I was little. She was defensive player of the year at her high school, she coached me when I was really young, and she always got onto me about defense and passing, and that's two things I pride myself on.

Interviewer: You had a workout in Salt Lake City last week. What do you think about potentially going to a team that has been without a main point guard since John Stockton?

Deron Williams: I think that would be a good situation for me. Jerry Sloan is a great coach and they've got a great organization. I'm sure they're trying to get back on the winning track and I think I'd fit nicely there.

Interviewer: Can you compare and contrast the three top point guards in the draft (Williams, Paul, Felton)?

Deron Williams: I think we all three do some of the same things. You know, we're all pass-first point guards, we can all score. We all do several things well. It's really just up to the teams, up to the GMs, as to who do they prefer.

On which teams are looking at him...

I don't know. It's up in the air. I worked out for [picks] 2-6 and Orlando, so...and I heard there's some other teams trying to trade up. Like I said, it's too wide open right now, so there's no really know, being a point guard, teams want you to come in and run their team, and knowing an organization wants makes you feel good.

DraftExpress: Deron, you look noticeably slimmer, what have you been doing workout-wise to prepare for the draft?

Deron Williams: Well, I've been eating right. I changed my eating habits, and I got a personal trainer and worked out with him for about five days a week for the last two months.

DraftExpress: Did you notice any change in your game being down some weight?

Deron Williams: I'm just quicker, you know, quicker out there on the court. You know, you feel better. Less weight on your knees, just helps me out overall.

DraftExpress: Have you spoken to Dee Brown since his injury? And how is he doing?

Deron Williams: He's doing good. I talked to him the other day. He's happy for us right now, me and Luther (Head) and Roger (Powell Jr.) and Jack (Ingram), you know, the guys who are trying to make it. I think he's real happy for us. He knows he has another year to go back and prove to people what he can do and he'll be here next year.

DraftExpress: How disappointed was he with his injury at Chicago?

Deron Williams: I think he was real disappointed. I think the way he was leaning was to stay in the draft. I know he wanted to have a good Chicago and show people he could run the point because that's a question mark people have of him, but like I said, I think he'll be ready next year, and he'll show people he can run the point.

Charlie Villanueva

Interviewer: Several guys from UCONN have done well in the NBA, do you think that helps you that people know that you got similar instruction?

Charlie Villanueva: Coach Calhoun has done a great job with the guys who left early. If you look at them now, several of the guys who left early are successful, so I have some big shoes to fill. I'm definitely excited, but Coach Calhoun does a great job.

Interviewer: Do you get to talk to Emeka (Okafor)?

Charlie Villanueva: Oh, yeah. I ran into Emeka in Charlotte, and I ran into him in Chicago, as well as LA. I ran into him everywhere pretty much.

Interviewer: What advice did he give you?

Charlie Villanueva: Same advice as every player gives me. Just go out there, no worries, just do what you do. Play basketball. And stay mentally tough. One thing he emphasized is taking care of your body. Emeka's been doing that for a long time. That's something very important, just taking care of your body, eating right.

Interviewer: Did you really show what you had in the last 12 games at UCONN?

Charlie Villanueva: Without a doubt. At the time we didn't have a leader. I just wanted to go play hard.


Interviewer: Have you heard from the old neighborhood friends, guys you haven't seen in years who are now looking at you because you're making it?

Charlie Villanueva: Yeah, you hear from them. But you have to keep some of them away. I mean, you acknowledge them as guys you grew up with, but I just have to learn how to say 'No.' I'm not very good at saying no.

Interviewer: Who's your favorite NBA player?

Charlie Villanueva: I'd have to say Larry Johnson. That probably shocked a lot of people (laughs).

On what he'll do with his first big check...

The first thing I'm going to do is establish my mom, getting a house for her. Because that's one of my dreams is to help her out. All her life, she struggled, you know. And now that I got this opportunity, I'm able to help financially.

DraftExpress: "Charlie, can you talk about how the draft process this year is different from the first time you went through it (in 2003)?

Charlie Villanueva: The first time I went through it, I had a private workout and I worked out basically in front of all the teams. I thought I had a decent workout, but I didn't know. I didn't know how to work hard. This process has been long, what I'm going through now. It's been long, I've been traveling, working out for teams, but it's definitely exciting....the first time, I didn't really know what to do. You gotta be in shape in order to play in this league.

DraftExpress: What position do you see NBA teams playing you? Are you big enough to play the four (power forward) or quick enough to play the three (small forward)?

Charlie Villanueva: Whatever position coach wants me to play, whatever position he sees me best at, that's what I'm going to play -- the four or the three, I can play both.


Sean May

Interviewer: What advantage would you have over, say, a young kid who's seven feet but who hasn't had any great level of competition, but they might be picking him on potential, whereas you have a great resume?

Sean May: That's the thing with this league now, I think they're trying to get away from that now with this age limit thing. They draft so much on potential...what is potential? A guy, he's either going to be good or he's not. Nobody knows, nobody can see the future. For them to draft a high school player, maybe that's what they need. But when you look at Sean May -- I don't mean to talk to myself in third person -- you know what you're getting. You're getting a guy who's going to come, who's going to bring it every night, who prides himself on getting double doubles, who's heady, who knows the game of basketball.

And I think a lot of teams, now, are starting to get away from that era of drafting just solely on potential because they're not really getting anywhere with it.

Interviewer: have you talked to guys from UNC in the pros about what it takes mentally and physically to go from playing one or two games a week in college to four games a week in the pros?

Sean May: Yeah, I talked to Jerry (Stackhouse), I talked to Vince (Carter), I talked to Antawn (Jamison) -- I hung out with him for a few days in LA -- and he just told me the biggest thing is getting your body in shape for training camp, and you want to be healthy going into the season. Any nagging injury is just going to nag you all year. That's the biggest thing for me. I think my game is fine, it's my body...being able to play every night, and through that pain, and the travel and everything that comes with playing at this level.

Interviewer: Have you gotten any inclination of what the Bobcats are thinking?

Sean May: The Bobcats, you know, they don't know what they're going to do right now. They've got [picks] 5 and 13, but they may trade, they don't know. The feedback I got from them was, they told me to come back in better shape in the second workout they had. In the first one, my back got hurt, they thought I was a little bit out of shape, but they were pleased with what they saw. Charlie (Villanueva) and I had a great workout, you know, who knows what's going to happen? I'm just here trying to relay myself as a good person, a good candidate, a good fit. ...I think they'll go guard with the fifth pick, but I think I'm anywhere from 8 to 13 -- 15, really.

Interviewer: Do you wish you could pick who picked you?

Sean May: Definitely. If it were up to me, I'd be going to Milwaukee. (laughs) I just wish they'd give us some more information after these workouts. 'You're in the mix." I think I've heard that a thousand times.

On fellow big men Charlie Villanueva/Chris Taft...

Charlie...I think a lot of people questioned Charlie's passion, and I don't think that's right when you're talking about Charlie. He loves the game of basketball, it's just the way he plays. I went through that same process when I can into college, but Charlie, to me, is very skilled, and the thing he has over a lot of people in this draft is the ability to shoot the long ball at 6'11". I never really thought that Charlie liked to bang that much in the post, but his finesse game is such that he didn't have to. Chris, to me, is a little bit more raw than Charlie. He had such a great freshman year, and everybody expected him to be a top 5 pick, and now he's kind of fallen by the side, you know, I've worked out with him three or four places. The kid, he's got the body. You're talking about potential, you're talking about a guy like Chris. I think eventually, everything will click. I think something will make him work a little bit harder, and he'll be fine. I think he'll have a great NBA career.

DraftExpress: Do you think you'd be in this position if you'd gone to Indiana?

Sean May: Eventually. It might not have been this year. I think at Indiana, when you talk about Bracey (Wright) and Marshall (Strickland), Rodrick Wilmont and D.J. White, who's going to be a terrific player, I think we could have had the same type of success had the pieces fit right. And that's what it's all about, making sure the pieces fit right. So I think had I gone there, yeah I think I could have gotten to this level, and I'm confident that I would have.

DraftExpress: Is you dad helping you in this process?

Sean May: He's trying to stay a little bit in the background, that's why he's not coming until tomorrow afternoon, just to kind of let me go through this on my own. It's not my wishing [that], I wish he was here every step of the way giving me guidance, but, you know, he wants me to evolve into a young man and experience things for myself, and he's doing a great job of allowing me to have these experiences.

DraftExpress: How do you think your game will translate to the pro level? Some people have questions about your size.

Sean May: Effective. I'm going to be effective regardless. I'm confident in my game, I know I can play, and if I'm struggling, I'm going to fix it. For me, I think I'm fine. I think I'm going to have a long NBA career. I think longevity is really what I'm going to base my career on, on being a guy who gets X amount of rebounds and X amount of points every game for 10 or 15 years.

DraftExpress: Sean, as you follow the changes to the Collective Bargaining Agreement, and there is the possibility of some young guys or players at the end of the bench possibly spending development time in the D-League, how do you feel about the possibility that if you go to a better team, you might have to spend some time on buses in Roanoke instead of jetting in NBA charters?

Sean May: It's the business part of it. I think that's when you get a guy with good character and his head on straight who's going to bust it to make sure he's not on that bench in Roanoke, he's going to be flying on that private jet with [an NBA team]. It's the nature of the business. I don't necessarily want to go to the D-League, but if a team sees that I need more development and more help, as long as they give me my check and I'm still playing, I'm happy. I'm going to play hard wherever I go. You know, maybe I go to the D-League and play a little bit of time, but, you know, eventually, I'm going to be back up because that's just the nature of the person that I am.

DraftExpress: If you had a choice between playing in the D-League and learning on the end of an NBA bench, do you have a preference?

Sean May: I think as long as you keep the work ethic, you stay in shape, I think you gain more by learning from veteran players. At the same time, you learn everything by playing and from stuff you experience on the floor, but the level of play isn't the same in the D-League. Let's just be honest, the guys, the athletes, aren't as good. The nature of the game is just not as good. For me, I think I would learn more by having an older guy mentor me, telling me more about the league, what I need to expect, and going through it that way. But that's me...

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