NBA Workouts Ended and DRAFT DAY is Approaching...June 21....Coming Full Circle
DRAFT DAY is approaching quickly. Although it didn’t happen as we had planned, a lot has occurred since that last game against Florida in late March. Jay didn't have his best performances during the NCAA tournament but he did take and hit the shot that ended UCLA's season and gave St. Bonaventure it's first NCAA win in a LONGGGGG time. Next game, he turned around and fouled out against Florida and the naysayers would suggest he can't run with the big dogs because of it. One thing for sure, we are used to hearing that rhetoric and more importantly, he has learned to put his blinders on and keep marching towards the DREAM. In addition, between competing at Portsmouth where there were more naysayers, completing finals, graduation and not making the Combine he has had many opportunities to show his strengths.
The combine came and went and he never was called up from the alternate list. In fact, only one person did. I couldn't bring myself to watch the combine so I don't even know how it turned out. That was frustrating for me but didn't really seem to be so much for Jay. I might need to take a lesson out of his book....that page that says....which he always says..."Chill mom...it's not a big deal. It will all work itself out!" The fact of the matter is that there are potential gains and losses in attending the combine. The combine itself includes medical assessments, interviews, shooting drills, measurements, athletic testing, and 5 of 5 games. If you have a flaw or do exceptionally well in any of those categories it can change your trajectory either direction. It's also good for small school prospects (like Jay) if you really haven't been seen. However, NBA scout representation was present at most of his college games this season. In addition, he participated in the draft process last year so some teams had a chance to see him already. There is more than one way to skin a cat and the combine is not the only entry point to the next level. The pro is the opportunity. The con is that you have to keep your body prepared throughout the heavy workouts and travel. All things that need to be in place prior to this moment. The rigor of the process and he has been ready.
My observation has been that in order to WIN at this process, the athlete, agent, parents and anyone else involved must know the strengths and weaknesses and ensure the athlete is in the best positions to highlight those strengths while still developing the weaknesses. Portsmouth isn’t for everyone. The COMBINE may not be necessary. Workouts may be your asset, which is Jaylen’s case.
When it’s all said and done, Jaylen will have worked out for 11 teams. The feedback has been promising but in this process, there are no guarantees. Therefore, as we approach draft day our prayers are being raised and his work ethic and grind is still on full tilt. A friend asked me what has been the most shocking thing about this process. I really did not have an answer because I'm not shocked by much and have observed many things on this basketball journey. In my opinion, it’s all the same just on a different level, as the stakes get higher and higher. Early on we were worried about winning AAU national games, then there was "What's the right HS?" and then "How about college (best fit)?" Now it's just… show what you can do as it always has been but this time THEY decide NOT YOU.
One thing I learned is on this level there are many factors going into a decision. What I observed and could be one improvement implemented into the combine process is the timeline (MY OPINION ONLY). Many players who attended (roughly 65) ultimately decided to go back to school instead of pursuing a professional career and 46 underclassmen were considered to be "undrafted," as of May 31. The decision to go back to school and team work out process should come before the Combine invites, that way all parties know who is serious and capable and who is not. Benefits the league, the player, and those players who are on the fringe from smaller schools as everyone gets a fair shot. (DISCLAIMER...THAT WAS ALL MY OPINION ONLY)
The good in this is he has always been the FRINGE guy so the uphill battle has always been the process. JAY wants to be in the gym shooting JUMP SHOTS. I want him with ALL the family. He just wants to watch the notifications on his ESPN notification...I want to be standing right next to him either way it goes. There is always that kind of push and pull with us. ALWAYS. He's a man now. He's gotta do it his way and I have to accept it. Regardless of how we do this...the love is all here. Out of the approximately 4500 Division I college scholarship basketball players, I am proud he is still in the conversation. As a side note, it's exciting to see the after effects of what Jaylen (and his teammates) have done for a program that few people knew or heard of since the Bob Lanier days. Many higher level recruits CHOOSING St. Bonaventure U. When I was there for graduation, I had a chance to sit and talk with the the freshmen PG coming in to replace Jaylen. The coaches told them that I was probably the best person to talk to if they had any questions and they asked many. Jaylen has cemented a LEGACY for himself. One small town young man, attending a small town school, making MAJOR impact. I'm proud....
I spoke to Jay after he had his last workout with the Knicks last night. He was excited and happy about how he feels like he did in the process and having the last month of experiences. He was also a bit nervous about Thursday at the same time. We all are. Every young man dreams of this day and wants to hear and see their name on the BIG BOARD on draft day. I just want him to know his family is PROUD regardless.
WISH US LOVE, BLESSING AND LUCK EVERYONE!
Excited Future NBA Mom
A Mom Her Sons and the Ball
Check out this interview from PRESSBOX.