Today is the big day if you’re one of the projected top picks in the 2010 NBA Draft.
On Wednesday afternoon, 15 future draft picks were allowed to be kids one more time before heading off to their soon-to-be-named teams. The players held a basketball clinic with approximately 100 New York area kids as part of the league’s NBA FIT initiative at Madison Square Garden. Four of those prospects -- Evan Turner, Greg Monroe, Gordon Hayward, and Luke Babbitt -- took time to answer a few questions heading into tonight’s draft...
SIKIDS.com: What do you remember about the game when you were a kid?
Evan Turner: I just remember when we would have guest speakers [at basketball camps]. The thing I took from that is that all our guest speakers worked hard to meet their goals and they all had trials and tribulations that they overcame. That just motivated us to work hard.
Gordon Hayward: My parents went to Purdue, so I remember going to a basketball camp [there]. I remember just idolizing the basketball players and just thinking they were the greatest, so to be here and to be in the opposite position is kind of a weird feeling. To have these [kids] looking up to you, it really is surreal.
Luke Babbitt: Just shooting around in my driveway [in Reno, Nevada]. Just shooting around by myself. I played a lot of sports: basketball, baseball, soccer.
SIKIDS.com: The kids here range in age from 8 to 13. How tall were you when you were 13?
Evan Turner: I was probably about 5’ 7” as a 13-year-old. I was decently tall.
Greg Monroe: I was probably 6’ 3”, something like that.
Gordon Hayward: I was 5’ 11” as a freshman in high school. I was like middle of the pack. I was real skinny. I was a [jokester] with my friends. I wasn’t like a class clown. I was serious in school. I did real well in school, but I was ultra competitive. I played every sport you could play. I remember changing uniforms in the car from like soccer to basketball.
SIKIDS.com: What’s going through your mind right now?
Evan Turner: It hasn’t hit me. It’s like when I won the Naismith Award. It didn’t hit me until they started to announce [my name] and I was like, “Oh, my gosh. This is really happening.” So it might hit me tomorrow.
Greg Monroe: You want to get that day. You want to get the green room, but I’m taking it all in. I’m having fun with kids and just trying to enjoy the moment.
Luke Babbitt: We’re just having fun. I’m sure tomorrow will be a bit nerve-wracking, but I think just everybody’s having a good time.
SIKIDS.com: How many people will be in the green room with you on Draft night?
Evan Turner: I think I’ve got five, but I’ve got like 40 friends and family [members] coming out here.
Greg Monroe: We’ll have five at my table and I have a couple of other people coming up.
Luke Babbitt: Six people at the table.
SIKIDS.com: What does working with kids at this event mean to you?
Evan Turner: The kids see us and we used to be them. It gives kids motivation to go to college, to better yourself, and to work hard at the game and dedicate yourself to something. Everybody here dedicated themselves to the game of basketball. [But] it doesn’t necessarily have to be basketball. It can be academics, or whatever else, you know?
SIKIDS.com: What’s something that kids should know about you that they might not know?
Evan Turner: I love Welch’s fruit snacks and Capri Suns.
Greg Monroe: I like candy a lot, but not anything in particular.
Gordon Hayward: My doctor said I was supposed to be 6’ 2” [Hayward is 6’ 8”]. My parents are both 5’ 10”. In high school, for some reason, every single night I would have a box of macaroni and cheese and an Oreo shake. Maybe that’s the reason that I grew.
SIKIDS.com: Are you tired of answering all these questions this week?
Evan Turner: It’s a little different. It’s been a long process overall since the season stopped. But it’s part of the job and they’re good questions.
Gordon Hayward: I think a little bit just because we’ve had these workouts for a month now and [we’ve been] playing all over, but at the same time you’ve got to enjoy because you only do it once. That’s the advice you get, is to just enjoy it because come Friday you’ll be working for someone.