Check out complete coverage of Thursday’s individual pre-Draft workout, as the Kings welcomed Cody Zeller to Sacramento.
On Thursday, Head Coach Michael Malone, Assistant Coach Chris Jent and the Kings hosted their second individual pre-Draft workout – sixth overall – at the team’s practice facility. The session featured forward Cody Zeller, who pundits rank among the top big men in the 2013 Draft.
The 7-foot sophomore earned a number of prestigious honors in 2012-13 – including First Team All-Big Ten, a John R. Wooden All-America Team nod and USBWA and AP All-American Second Team selections – while ranking among the Big Ten’s top performers in PER (29.8 – first), free-throws made (196 – first), rebounds (8.5 – second) and scoring (16.8 points per game – third). The efficient forward holds the Indiana record for career field-goal percentage (59.1 percent), and led the conference at a 62.3 percent clip as a freshman.
In a 72-71 victory against Michigan, Zeller scored the go-ahead lay-up and altered the potential game-winning shot on the opposite end, securing the Hoosiers’ first outright Big Ten title since 1993. The 20-year-old also helped lead Indiana to a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament and consecutive Sweet 16 appearances for the first time since 1994.
Following Friday’s workout, Kings.com caught up with Coach Malone and Zeller to gain insight into Thursday’s go-around and more.
Coach Michael Malone
What were your impressions of Cody Zeller?
“(He’s a) great kid and hard worker (who) obviously had a terrific career those two years at Indiana. He works extremely hard and we appreciate that.”
What were you hoping to see during today’s workout?
“Whenever you have (an individual) workout, sometimes you’re limited in what you can see. But as I said last week, we want to see how competitive (prospects) are, what kind of effort they’re willing to give – are they willing to fight through fatigue? Cody did all those things for us today.”
Is there any aspect of Zeller’s game that surprised you during the workout?
“You can tell he’s really working on his three-point shot. He’s working out down in L.A. right now and he’s put a lot of time in … I didn’t know he had NBA three-point range like he showed today, and it’s definitely an area he’s put in a lot of time and effort.”
How was today’s workout?
“I thought it went well. I’m kind of getting the hang of all these workouts now that I’ve done. I don’t even know how many – five or six now.”
How would you characterize your game and what you’d bring to an NBA team?
“I think my quickness and athleticism as a big guy kind of sets me apart, just because I try to use it to my advantage. I’m not always going to be the biggest, strongest guy, but I try to use what I have to (get) the advantage.”
Do you view yourself more as a power forward who can stretch the floor or a center in the NBA?
“A little bit of both … playing more (power forward) on offense, but I can mix it up. I think I would cause a lot of mismatches for the defense.”
Are there any current or former NBA players with whom you model your game?
“Not too much. I’ve drawn a lot of comparisons to someone like LaMarcus Aldridge (since I) play in the mid-post. He’s an underrated passer, which I think I can bring to a team.”
– For complete Kings pre-Draft workout coverage leading up to the 2013 NBA Draft, visit Kings.com’s Offseason Central.