Jordan Adams doesn’t think he’ll cry when he hears his name called during Thursday night’s 2014 NBA Draft. However, he does think some of his family members will tear up, including his father, John.
“Oh yeah, my dad is probably going to cry,” Adams said with a laugh.
The 19-year-old says it hasn’t hit him that his NBA dream is less than 48 hours away from becoming reality, but he’s ecstatic to start the next chapter of his life.
“It’s going to be so exciting; ever since I was young, I always went into the gym and acted like my favorite NBA players and now I’ll actually be one,” Adams said. “Whatever happens, happens. I’m just preparing myself and I’m just ready for the journey. It hasn’t hit me yet. I don’t think it’s going to hit me until my name is actually called. So the guys that go on before me, I’ll congratulate them and everything. But I won’t feel it. It won’t hit me until my name is actually called.”
Adams is certainly a player to watch on draft night, as he has steadily been climbing draft boards in recent months. Throughout the 2013-14 college basketball season, he was being projected as a second-round pick and not receiving the attention the deserved.
However, after a number of strong performances in the NCAA Tournament – in which he averaged 19 points and 5.6 rebounds while shooting 56.4 percent from the field – executives started to take notice and pull up some of his older film to see what they had missed. What they saw was a player who filled the stat sheet, scored at will all over the court, played incredibly efficient basketball and was a major reason for UCLA’s success.
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One NBA executive, who spoke under the condition of anonymity, explained why Adams is climbing draft boards and winning over so many talent evaluators around the league.
“There are a lot of executives who are in love with Adams’ game,” said the executive. “He can score the ball in a variety of ways, he’s efficient, he gets a lot of steals and his advanced stats are impressive. Also, he’s young so he still has room to develop. I like his game a lot and I think he’s a first-rounder.”
It seems that Adams has solidified himself as a first-round pick, as the executive stated, and he’s even getting some interest from teams selecting in the teens. The Chicago Bulls, who hold the No. 16 and No. 19 picks, have worked out Adams twice and he says that they have shown serious interest in him. Throughout this process, Adams says that the feedback he has received from teams has been great.
“I’ve been getting a lot of really positive, good feedback and all of my workouts have been really good,” Adams said. “Every time I talk to a team, they say I can go from the late teens to the mid-20s. I haven’t worked out for any second-round teams. I’ve worked out for a few in the late first-round too.
“I’m enjoying it, being able to work out for these general managers and front office people. It’s good to show what you can do. It also helps you get acclimated and learn what the NBA is going to be like. Some of these teams have given me advice and I’ve been able to develop some good relationships with all of these guys around the league. The workouts have been very cool. I’ve been prepared for those because my pre-draft training back home, so the workouts have been pretty good. I’m used to playing basketball, so I’m straight with that.”
The fact that Adams has been holding his own in workouts and performing well has him feeling optimistic that he’ll go high on draft night and that he can be a difference maker once he makes it to the league.
“It gives me a lot of confidence,” Adams said. “My confidence is very high after the way that I performed in my workouts. I think I did my part. I just wanted to come in and perform. I just showed teams what I do best and it’s worked out well so far. I did everything I could do, so now it’s just a wait and see.”
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While Adams waits, he has tried his best to avoid mock drafts. Some players look at the projections on a daily basis and obsess over the mocks, but Adams has blocked them out. He knows that the only draft board that matters is the official one that’s filled out on June 26, so he’s not interested in mocks or rankings.
“I ignore them, but you know people will randomly bring it up,” Adams said. “You may try to avoid it, but somebody will either mention it to you or someway it’ll get brought to your attention. I do know that it’s not 100 percent. You may not go to that spot [that the mock draft is projecting]. I just try to focus on my next workout that comes up.”
While the workouts have been easy for Adams, the hardest part of this process has been the constant traveling. Draft prospects basically live out of a suitcase during the pre-draft process, as they fly around the country to work out for teams.
“The biggest surprise has probably been the traveling,” Adams said. “I didn’t think about it that much, but I’m always going to the airport and doing all of this traveling.”
Adams has enjoyed the process and hasn’t taken it for granted, since he knows that it’s something he’ll never go through again and it’s something that a lot of people never get to experience. However, he’s looking forward to finally being able to see his family again and find out where he’ll be playing and living for the next several years of his life.
“On draft night, I’m just going to gather around with family back in Atlanta – my family, friends and all of the people who have helped me get to where I’m at now,” Adams said. “I think it’ll not only be for me, but it’ll be good for them as well.”
As a child, Adams pretended to be Allan Houston and Tracy McGrady when he was shooting around or playing pick-up games with his friends. On Friday morning, playing in the NBA will no longer just be a daydream for Adams. He’ll be on an NBA roster and ready to start his professional basketball career. Then, it’ll only be a matter of time before kids around the country are pretending to be Jordan Adams at their local rec center.
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