The Washington Wizards on Monday morning continued their evaluation of potential players whom they could select with the No. 3 pick in the NBA draft by working out former Connecticut standout Andre Drummond.
At 6 feet 10, 270 pounds, Drummond is a projected top six selection in the June 28 draft after having played one season for the Huskies. Drummond fills a need along the front line, where the Wizards continue to search for a long-term solution at center.
Also working out for Wizards Coach Randy Wittman, his staff and team president Ernie Grunfeld was 6-9 Turkish forward Ilkan Karaman, but all the attention belonged to Drummond as he tried to convince the club’s decision makers to take a chance on his considerable upside.
“Everybody has room to improve on their game,” Drummond said. “The sky’s the limit, so I know I have room to improve. That’s what I’m going to do.”
Part of that process has included losing more than 20 pounds since the end of his college season and constantly working on his foul shooting. Drummond shot below 30 percent from the line last season, although he averaged 10 points and 7.6 rebounds per game despite some turbulent circumstances at Connecticut.
Such is the tantalizing potential NBA teams see in Drummond, who almost opted for prep school before deciding to attend college. While at Connecticut, Drummond suffered a concussion and a broken nose early in the season and had to wear of protective mask for nearly a month.
Other travails included the suspension of Huskies freshman point guard Ryan Boatright and Coach Jim Calhoun missing more than a month while on medical leave.
“Wherever a coach puts me is where I’m going to be happy,” Drummond said. “I’m definitely going to work hard wherever it is that I’m placed. All I know is when I get on the floor, I’m going to give it my all. I’m going to run the floor, block shots, get rebounds. Like I said before, those are definitely things I can make sure I do when I get into the league.”
Drummond’s potential is reminiscent of what compelled the club to draft JaVale McGee in the first round (No. 18 overall) four years ago. McGee never reached the heights Grunfeld and the front office had hope for, and the 7-footer was dealt to Denver this past season for Nene.
Like McGee, Drummond’s measurables are in large part what make him such an attractive propsect at the next level. He owns a wingspan of 7-6 1/4, a standing reach of nine feet and has 7.5 percent body fat.
But questions about motivation and energy dogged him throughout college, and during this pre-draft process, Drummond has been doing all he can to allay concerns about a perceived inadequate work ethic.
“Definitely some of the staff I’ve talked to understand that,” Drummond said when asked about his light-hearted on-court demeanor. “You can see it’s in my workout. All I do is smile when I play. I enjoy playing the game, and that’s just one of the things people kind of misunderstood.”
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