Taking a litany of tests and long, grueling interviews with random questions is typical for college students this time of year. Even NBA hopefuls.
The NBA draft combine – formerly called the pre-draft camp; more on that later – came to a close Sunday after four days of poking, prodding and probing about 50 of the nation's top college players.
OK, it's not like taking the bar or a series of finals, but six hours of interviews can't be easy. It's been a while since I did the post-college job interview marathon, but the pressure of saying something wrong to a prospective employer is nerve-racking. Just ask Jonny Flynn.
"You've got to talk the whole time, you've got to sit up right, you've got to make a good impression. So that's way more tiring. Playing basketball, that's the easy part," he said Thursday.
And it must be tough to maintain a straight face during some of the questions. The Washington Post dug up these nuggets from the weekend:
Ty Lawson shared a story about an interview he had with the Memphis Grizzlies. Someone asked him about one of his uncles who was a barber. Lawson had no idea who the guy was talking about until the team representative informed Lawson that his uncle cut his hair. Chase Budinger said one team official asked him if he had a girlfriend, then asked if he had any "friends with benefits." Budinger offered a "no comment." Jordan Hill said that one team official asked him what drink he prefers whenever he goes out to party. Hill's response? "Water with lemon."
Of course, players and agents know these types of questions are coming. According to Chad Ford, one agent prepared all of his clients with some stock answers.
If asked about their hobbies, they respond as such: "My hobby is doing community service. That's what I like to do in my spare time." Classic.
So what's involved in the basketball part? Not as much as it used to …
When it was the "pre-draft camp," there were 5-on-5 and 3-on-3 scrimmages. Now, it's a bunch of drills, strength and agility tests and physicals. Thus, the "combine" label. (Turns out the more scrimmaging you do, the less players want to be involved. Greater likelihood of injuries that way.)
"Teams have expressed dissatisfaction with the caliber of players participating in the 5-on-5 games at the camp, the absence of players who refused to play in games ... in addition, the cost of the 5-on-5 portion of the camp didn't seem to be justified by its benefits to the teams."
That decision didn't keep five of the draft's top prospects from skipping the drills, though. Blake Griffin, Hasheem Thabeet, Ricky Rubio, James Harden and Jordan Hill all passed on the drills.
Plenty of guys did participate. Ford has a breakdown by position here. He says Jrue Holiday, Flynn, DeMar DeRozan, Austin Daye, Earl Clark and DeJuan Blair fared well. Ty Lawson was one of the few guys who didn't impress onlookers.
Then again, it's the NBA draft. The thing that usually impressed NBA teams the most are players' measurements. Height and arm reach still rule the rankings. NBADraftExpress always puts out every player's height (with and without shoes, though why they do measurements without shoes is beyond me since they play in shoes), weight, wingspan and standing reach.
Even better? The database goes back to 1989 and is sortable. It's the kind of thing you could look at for hours. If you're like me and don't have anything better to do, that is. It's all a great way of comparing players on paper, but doesn't capture just who can play and who can't.
Maybe that's what the questions were for …