My NBA Draft Experience: Martell Webster

My NBA Draft Experience: Martell Webster
Jun 07, 2007, 08:36 pm
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Charlie Bury: First take me back to your senior year of high school. How did you make the decision to turn pro instead of attending the University of Washington?

Martell Webster: Well I really didn't have any intentions of going to the NBA during my high school season for Seattle Prep. I wasn't even thinking about going to the NBA, I was more focused on college. The decision didn't really come to me until I played in the All-American game, all the all-star games like the Jordan Capitol classic, the Nike Hoop Summit. After gong through those All-Star games, I started hearing the word around the league that I could possibly go first round. That was after the first game, the McDonald’s game. Then after I played in the Capitol Classic, I played well and I heard “potential lottery pick.” Then, after I played in the Hoop Summit, I heard again,”yeah this kid is definitely a lottery pick”. After that, I took all the information back home, information not only from some of my college coaches that were talking to me but also word that my family had heard. I collectively got my family together and we made the decision that we were 100% on. We weren't going to turn back once we made the decision. So that's how I made my decision of going to the NBA out of high school, through all the information I got and the All-Star games.

Charlie Bury: You mentioned talking to your family about making your decision. How important is it to have a strong inner circle to lean on?

Martell Webster: It's very important because your family’s there for you from day one until the day they can't help you anymore. They are very key in all my decisions, even the simplest things from buying a car to buying a house, anything like that. They were a very important component to my decision and I needed their feedback and their input more than anything during that process.

Charlie Bury: What was the agent selection process like for you?

Martell Webster: At first, I was just really excited about getting an agent and I kind of jumped to the first thing that came at me. Nothing against the agents that were trying to pick me up--the Goodwin Brothers--but my family, once again, came in and sat me down and told me that agent picking is something that you really have to take your time with. You have to go out and do your research, your homework. Then, you have to invite them to your house and they present their folders and what they’re about. Once I realized that, I began opening up my resources to see who would be the best possible agent for me. I had like four or five good ones that came in. WMG, which was SFX a couple years ago, they really intrigued me with their presentation and from then I knew that they were who I wanted to be with.

Charlie Bury: What was your expectation before you even started your pre-draft workouts?

Martell Webster: The only expectations that I had was to try and be the best possible player in those workouts by just going in and going hard and having a chip on your shoulder. Playing like you have something to prove basically every time you step up on the court and work out for these coaches and against these other players. That was the mentality that I had throughout the whole workout process for all these teams. Whenever I stepped on the court, I wasn't going to regret anything.

Charlie Bury: Who were some of the guys you worked out against?

Martell Webster: I worked out against Danny Granger; I worked out against David Lee. I didn't get to work out against Gerald Green. I worked out against Rashad McCants, Nate Robinson, Antoine Wright.

Charlie Bury: Which one of those match-ups sticks out in your mind as the most heated battle?

Martell Webster: The best workout that I had was probably against Rashad McCants and Nate Robinson in Portland. That was a very intense workout for me. Also against Danny Granger, that was a great workout too.

Charlie Bury: What kind of feedback did the teams give you after you worked out for them?

Martell Webster: They were saying that I was very skilled for my height and size and that I was very mobile. They said I need to work on my ball-handling, being able to create a shot off the dribble. That was one of the things that I'm working on right now, that’s why I'm down here in LA working out. My ball-handling, coming off screens with the dribble hesitation and being able to create (shots) for myself.

Charlie Bury: What did teams do to get to know you as a person, not just a basketball player?

Martell Webster: They kind of see how you are in the community. When they do the community outreach things, Read to Achieve, going up to schools to sit with the children, going to museums. They kind of evaluate you off that. I'm a people person; I like to be around people, talk to kids and give them advice. Those are the type of things I like doing. I'm a very open person, outgoing, very easy to talk to, easy to get along with.

Charlie Bury: Fast forward to the draft. Describe your emotions on draft night.

Martell Webster: It was an overwhelming feeling. It was an experience that I've always wanted to take on, but I didn't know it was going to come so early. So I feel fortunate, I feel like I was blessed. And for it to come right out of high school…I mean it was just extraordinary, it was electrifying. I'd never had a feeling like that before. Once they called my name for that 6th pick I felt this tingling sensation. I was like “Oh my God, is this real or am I dreaming? I need to wake up now." I just kind of fell back in my seat and looked at my grandma and gave her a kiss and a hug and told her that I made it. I thanked her and I thanked the Lord. It's just one of those feelings that you'll never feel again and I wish I could still feel it every day. As soon as I heard it I said 'Ok now its time to go out there and prove to these guys what I can do'. I try to keep that mentality to this day because it's very important to try to keep those expectations for myself and try to meet those goals. That's very important to me, and the day I got drafted, it’s like all that came into one and it was like 'Ok, lets go do this'.

Charlie Bury: Prior to the draft, did you have any indication you'd be taken by the Blazers?

Martell Webster: I knew once they put the timer up, what is it ten minutes, five minutes? With three minutes left to pick I got the call, my agent told me who I was going to be drafted by and that’s when I knew. I knew that Portland needed a shooter and I also knew that the Clippers and Raptors needed a shooter, so I knew I wasn't going to slip past twelve. I felt so fortunate to go at 6, it was just a blessing.

Charlie Bury: After such an emotional high of being drafted, you head almost right away to summer league. What was that first summer league like for you?

Martell Webster: My first summer league was just a great time. Basically it was just like go out there and make mistakes, you will learn along the way. I mean these first two years have been an experience, trying to get better and learning new things about the game. Now the third year (of summer league,) I'm taking it very seriously. The first year of summer league was just to go out there and be a rookie, try to learn the game, but also go out there and have fun and see what it’s like to play twelve minute quarters and stuff like that. So it was a very good experience and one that all rookies should remember, because it’s their first time being in an NBA uniform, going out and playing for their team and it’s just a great feeling.

Charlie Bury; There's been such an influx of talent from your hometown of Seattle in recent years. Tell me about the basketball scene in Seattle?

Martell Webster: Yeah, especially with me and Brandon Roy and Nate Robinson out of Seattle into the league, it’s definitely put that city on the map just to watch out for the talent out of that area. Seattle basketball; we’re balanced. We play defense, we've got a lot of great up and down teams and we like to get out and run. Seattle to me is just great place, because that’s where I was born and raised. The people around there are great. The talent is magnificent, especially coming up, we got a lot of players that definitely have some D-1 talent and they are getting a lot of looks. So you should definitely watch out for the Northwest because we've got some great players coming out of there.

Charlie Bury: One of those Seattle area guys is Spencer Hawes. You played with Hawes in high school, what kind of a pro do you think he's going to make?

Martell Webster: He's going to be a great player; I mean he has a lot of potential. We'll see, potential is just what people think you’re capable of doing and you still have to prove it yourself. He definitely has an upside and he's going to be a good player, but only he can determine how good he wants to be.

Charlie Bury: Last year the Blazers drafted Brandon Roy. Did you feel at all like you were being passed over before you got a chance to come into your own?

Martell Webster: Definitely you feel that, but I see it as my time to prove to the coaches and the organization that I'm ready for that position. I’m not just thinking that because I'm putting in work, they’re going to give it to me, but I have to prove it when I go down there to summer league that I'm definitely ready to take this position. They drafted Brandon and, yes he's a great player, but he's a combo guard. He can play point guard, two guard and the 3. I'm more of a 2-3. He's a great addition to our team; he's a franchise player. I'm just really focused on getting a spot in helping out this team and contributing to this organization.

Charlie Bury: What was your welcome to the NBA moment?

Martell Webster: Playing against Kobe probably. Just seeing him score sixty-five. For the two years that I've been in the league, seeing how a great player has had that mentality of bringing it every night. It's just something amazing to see. When I saw that, and Lebron James and Dwyane Wade and all the top players in the league--just seeing how they’re out there playing, it’s like they're having fun. That's why the slogan is "I love this game." You can't play this game unless you love doing it every night. Once I got here, and I saw those guys out there doing it, that’s when I knew. I was like "Now I'm in the NBA".

Charlie Bury: Well it had to be amazing coming in at only 18 playing against those guys. What was it like being so young playing a grown man's game?

Martell Webster: It's not really tough physically, but mentally…it definitely takes a toll. Because you want to do right all the time, but you have to realize that you’re coming out of high school and not everybody gets it, not everybody is LeBron James. You have to take your time and just have fun and experience the life. Once you get those two years under your belt, that’s when you begin to take it serious. Knowing what you have to do during the off-season, taking care of yourself, eating right. All those things fall into place and that’s when it becomes very serious, but then at the same time you’re still having fun. So that’s very important to me.

Charlie Bury: Martell, I appreciate your time.

Martell Webster: Thank you Charlie.

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