Maryland never made Alex Len available to reporters during his freshman season, protecting him from conducting interviews in a foreign language while he mastered its most basic principles. He first learned English through Google Translator, the mobile app helping the Ukrainian center order at his new favorite American restaurants: Boston Market and Chipotle.
Len’s English skills improved drastically over the offseason, so much so that he could easily hold conversations with reporters, joke around with teammates and, most importantly, actually understand what his Terps coaches were saying. Of the strides Len made — overall strength and interior presence chief among them — Coach Mark Turgeon often said he was most proud of Len’s lingual improvements. And with a partial stress fracture now sidelining him for four to six months, Len has little to do but practice interviewing before heading to Chicago for the NBA draft combine.
And so it came to be that Len, sidelined from actual workouts, made a bold splash while meeting with reporters at the combine, displaying some outward confidence that seems to have emerged since his final season at Maryland ended.
Alex Len: “I think 10 years from now, I’ll be the best player out of this draft.” #terps
— Michael Lee (@MrMichaelLee) May 17, 2013
As reported yesterday, Len met with Utah, Sacramento, Minnesota and Boston upon arriving on Wednesday, and was scheduled to meet with 10 of 14 lottery teams. Thanks to Twitter, we can track Len’s progress and meetings.
— J. Michael(@JMichaelCSN) May 17, 2013
Maryland center Alex Len said he’ll meet with Cavs today. He’s on crutches.
— Bob Finnan (@BobCavsinsider) May 17, 2013
Maryland center Alex Len said he has no interviews scheduled with Portland at the combine.
— Jason Quick (@jwquick) May 17, 2013
The #Magic don’t have any interviews set up with Maryland C Alex Len.
— Josh Robbins (@JoshuaBRobbins) May 17, 2013
Alex Len has nothing set up with #Pistons and wasn’t too enthused when asked about them.
— David Mayo (@David_Mayo) May 17, 2013
So that makes Portland, Orlando and Detroit as three of the four lottery teams who won’t interview Len. The Magic hold a 25 percent chance at scoring the No. 1 overall pick, tops among all teams. He’s reportedly met with around 12 teams so far.
Len also did minor testing, getting measured for wingspan (7 feet, 3.5 inches), body fat (6.4 percent), hand length (9 inches) and hand width (10.75 inches), all per ESPN.com’s Chad Ford.