The Kings on Monday held their first 2012 multi-player pre-Draft workout at the team’s practice facility. The session featured UNC forward John Henson, New Mexico forward Drew Gordon and more.
The Sacramento Kings hosted their first pre-Draft workout of the offseason on Monday at the team’s practice facility. The six prospects participated in shooting drills as well as two-on-two and three-on-three sessions.
The group included:
- Oscar Bellfield, G, Sr., UNLV – The Third-Team All-Mountain West Conference selection averaged 9.8 points and 5.4 assists in guiding the Runnin’ Rebels to the NCAA Tournament.
- Yancy Gates, F, Sr., Cincinnati – The 6-foot-9 forward led the Bearcats to the Sweet 16 in 2012 while averaging 12.2 points and a team-high 8.9 rebounds.
- Drew Gordon, F, Sr., New Mexico – A San Jose native, Gordon led the Mountain West Conference in rebounding while taking the Lobos to the Round of 32 in the NCAA Tournament.
- John Henson, F, Jr., North Carolina – The 6-foot-11 power forward led the ACC in blocked shots and finished second in rebounding, vaulting the Tar Heels to another Elite Eight appearance.
- Ricardo Ratliffe, F, Sr., Missouri – The 6-foot-8 forward shot 69.3 percent from the field – top in the country – as he helped the Tigers to one of their best seasons in school history.
- Charlie Westbrook, G, Sr., South Dakota – The 6-foot-4 guard led the Coyotes in scoring with 18.7 points per game while being named to the All-Summit League 2nd Team.
Following the workout, Kings.com caught up with Henson and Gordon to get insight about Monday’s go-round.
How was the workout?
“It went well. We got a lot of shots up early, and we played a lot of three-on-three, two-on-two. It was competitive, and overall, it was a good workout.”
What is it like to go up against guys in a workout with whom you’re not familiar?
“It’s tough, but most of the guys you’ve seen play on TV or seen around when you were in high school or younger. I saw most of these guys – I’ve seen Ratliffe (in person), Yancy’s been on TV, Drew’s been on TV, so I’ve seen all the guys play before.”
What impressed you about Gordon’s game?
“He’s solid, he’s a rebounder, he’s active, he makes the right play – I was glad to have him on my team today.”
Are the teams you’re working out for asking you about increasing your strength?
“All of the teams are asking if I’m going to put in the work and try to get stronger. It’s obviously something I need to do, but I’ve been working on it and I’ve improved every year I was at North Carolina, so I don’t see why I would stop now.”
“I think I can get a lot more physically developed. I’m 21 years old and I don’t think you hit your full physical maturity until you’re about 25, 26. I weigh 216 pounds so I think putting on 15 pounds is going to come natural as well. I’ll also help out the process by lifting weights and eating right, and hopefully, the team that picks me hooks me up – I’ll (work) with the strength coach and we’ll become best friends.”
Do you think you can make an impact in the NBA right away?
“Yes, sir. I think my length and quickness can make an impact immediately, defensively. I’m working on my jump shot and pretty much capitalizing on the right opportunity. They’re not necessarily going to hand me the ball and say, ‘Go score’ from Day One. So you have to do the little things and, hopefully, one day, I’ll develop into the player I want to be.”
Did playing on such a talented team at North Carolina prepare you for possibly being a role player in the NBA?
“We had Harrison Barnes, Kendall Marshall, Tyler Zeller and me down there. Obviously, Harrison and (Zeller) were our go-to scorers. I scored a little bit, but that wasn’t my role on the team. My role was a defensive energy guy and I scored a little bit. But that team really helped you learn how to know your role and stick to it, and it ultimately helped us win a lot of games.”
What do you know about Sacramento and the Kings?
“It’s a great city. When I got here, the (hotel) was nice, and I saw the (Tower) Bridge. I knew DeMarcus (Cousins) in high school. It seems like he’s enjoying himself, he’s out here working out. I think it’s a great city.”
Where are you headed from Sacramento?
“I’m going to Portland tomorrow, then I’m going to Phoenix, Golden State and Houston. Then, I’ll start all of the East Coast teams with Toronto, Philadelphia and Detroit. It’s going to be a long two weeks, but I’m ready for it.”
How do you think you would fit in with the Kings?
“Cousins drew a lot of charges and he’s a big rebounder so I think a shot-blocker would compliment him. He’s obviously the man down low. He’s improving every year, and I think we’d be a good little tandem in the future if I’m selected.”
Are there any current or former NBA players with whom you model your game?
“There’s not necessarily any players I model my game after. I’m a little different, as I’m more of a defensive guy. I do have offensive skills but (defense) is my calling card. I think I’ll just try to find my niche at the next level – that’s how you become successful.”
What are you trying to showcase during pre-Draft workouts?
“I think I’m skilled and I can pass a little bit more than people think. However, one of the coaches on the staff kind of said, ‘Hey, get out there and do what you do, don’t try to do too much.’ From watching film and seeing you the last three years, they know what you can do, so it’s more just the setting and seeing if you work hard.”
How was the workout?
“It went well. My shot was a little bit off but I’m going to chalk that up to not being able to touch a basketball for the last couple of days due to all of the medical stuff in Chicago, the [NBA] Combine and everything. The last day we got to play was on Friday so I really didn’t have the opportunity to get into a gym or anything like that, but I think overall it went well. I tried to keep it up-tempo and do what I do best.”
How special would it be to play in your home region of Northern California?
“It’s my home state, (and) it’s relatively close to where I live. I know if for some reason or another I ended up here, the support would be huge. I’d have basically my hometown coming to every game and supporting me. It’s always nice to be able to come back and play here. If I got picked here, I would be able to watch my brother play. It’d be nice.”
What are you trying to prove during these pre-Draft workouts?
“I really feel like I’m able to compete with a lot of the (players) in the Draft. Granted, it’s a big Draft and its full of talent, but people from the (less publicized) schools somewhat get overlooked. So coming up here and being able to compete with everybody and all the big names from the big schools, it’s more proving to myself that I’m able to compete and go out there and play with the best of them.”
Where have you heard that you might land in the Draft?
“I’ve heard I’m going to go anywhere from mid-First to early Second (Round). Whatever pick I get, it’s going to be great. I can’t wait to play basketball at the next level, and regardless of where I go, not a lot of people get this opportunity so I’ll be a happy camper.”
What was it like to play against John Henson?
“The (guy) is long – he has a 7-foot-5, 7-foot-6 wingspan … It was funny because you’d think you had him beat and he would come block your shot. It was fun. I think it was the first time I’ve actually been able to play with him and/or against him.”
How important was your strong performance in the Mountain West and NCAA Tournament in boosting your Draft stock?
“I think that helped a lot, actually. Everybody is working to get to the Big Dance, get to March and be able to participate in it. Fortunately, our group of guys was able to do it, and I was able to perform well. I think I averaged (19.5 points) and (13.5 rebounds), so obviously people are going to notice. I would have liked to have gone deeper into the Tournament, but we played Louisville and they’re a highly-talented team. They did well in the Tournament for themselves so you can’t be upset, but I think it helped me out a lot. People were able to see me who might not have had the chance, and I was able to help my team and show that I (am) a team player (that fights) through fatigue and injury.”
Who else have you worked out with so far and what workouts do you have coming up?
“I’ve worked out with Brooklyn, the Warriors, OKC, Cleveland (and) Boston. I did the combine and have Toronto, Miami, Portland (and) San Antonio. Then, I think I’m flying back to a few of the places to work out with teams again. I’ve been pushing. I don’t really know what time zone I’m in anymore or what day of the week it is, I just get on planes and go.”
For complete Kings pre-Draft workout coverage leading up to the 2012 NBA Draft, stay current with Kings.com’s Offseason Central.
Stay current with the Kings pre-Draft workout schedule – Click Here.