Kings To Interview Walton; Messina Also On Their List

The Kings have formally requested an interview with Luke Walton, who parted ways with the Lakers on Friday, and also intend to request permission to interview Spurs assistant Ettore Messina for their vacant head coaching job, Marc Stein of the New York Times tweets. (Hat tip to USA Today’s Sam Amick).

Walton is reportedly GM Vlade Divac’s leading candidate for the job. Messina was a finalist for the Raptors’ job last season, which wound up going to Nick Nurse. He also met twice with the Bucks’ brass last season before Milwaukee chose Mike Budenholzer.

The Kings fired Dave Joerger on Thursday, even though they improved enough to win 39 games. Sixers assistant Monty Williams is also expected to get a long look from Divac.

The fact that Divac is already lining up interviews suggests he’d like to make the coaching hire quickly.

Latest On Bucks’ GM Search

Milwaukee will begin formal interviews for its open GM position on Monday, Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical reports.

The team has been granted permission to speak with Blazer assistant GM Bill Branch, Heat assistant GM Adam Simon, and Pistons assistant GM Pat Garrity, according to Wojnarowski.

The scribe adds that the Bucks have reached out to the Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon about the opening. Hammon has been working under coach Gregg Popovich for three seasons.

Milwaukee previously reached out to Indiana and gained permission to speak with the team’s VP of basketball operations Peter Dinwiddie. Wojnarowski adds that the franchise also has permission to speak with Denver assistant GM Arturas Karnisovas, Grizzlies VP of player personnel Ed Stefanski and Hawks special advisor Wes Wilcox.

Justin Zanik, who is currently running the team as its assistant GM, remains a strong candidate for the position. Zanik is gathering “significant support” inside and outside the organization, Wojnarowski writes. He joined the team with the expectation that he would be the GM-in-waiting once John Hammond‘s contract expired. Hammond recently left the franchise to become Orlando’s GM.

Draft Combine Update: Friday Afternoon

The Celtics have a tentative workout scheduled with Duke small forward Brandon Ingram, a prime contender to become the No. 1 pick, reports Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald (Twitter link). The outcome of the lottery will determine whether it takes place, according to Murphy, and presumably, the Celtics will have to land one of the top two selections. Ingram is the top prospect in Jonathan Givony’s DraftExpress rankings and second in the listings Chad Ford of compiles.

See more draft news on day three of the combine:

  • Syracuse shooting guard Malachi Richardson and Kansas forward/center Cheick Diallo have told teams they’ve decided to stay in the draft rather than pull out by May 25th to retain their college eligibility, reports Chad Ford of (Twitter link).
  • The Pacers, Warriors, Spurs, Wizards, Rockets and Mavericks are among the teams that have spoken with Syracuse swingman Michael Gbinije, tweets Adam Zagoria of
  • Notre Dame point guard Demetrius Jackson has interviewed with the Suns, Spurs, Kings, Trail Blazers and Bucks, observes Rod Beard of The Detroit News, who also cites Jackson’s previously reported interview with the Pistons.
  • Villanova shooting guard Josh Hart has worked out for the Clippers and has another workout scheduled with the Hawks on May 24th, as Zagoria relays. He’ll also work out for the Celtics and Spurs, and his previously reported workout with the Sixers takes place Monday, Zagoria reveals. The Knicks, Wizards, Thunder, Trail Blazers, Pacers, Grizzlies and Jazz interviewed Hart at the combine, according to Zagoria.
  • Purdue big man Caleb Swanigan has the Pistons, Hawks, Wizards and Suns among the teams on his interview list, Zagoria tweets.

Draft Combine Update: Friday Morning

Skal Labissiere‘s impressive private workout on Wednesday didn’t quite measure up to the hype, contends Chad Ford of in an Insider-only piece, who pegs the draft range for the Kentucky big man as No. 9 to No. 20. The Suns and Kings are among the teams Labissiere has interviewed with at the combine, tweets Adam Zagoria of, echoing previous reports about interviews with Philadelphia and New Orleans. Ford’s sources remain solidly in the camp of Ben Simmons over Brandon Ingram for the top overall pick, while it appears it’s a battle between Jamal Murray and Kris Dunn for the No. 3 pick, Ford hears. Still, no one had a more impressive combine showing Thursday than Cheick Diallo, a high second-round prospect, according to Ford. Both his strengths and weaknesses were on display, as Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz of DraftExpress detail. The Kansas center/forward says he’ll probably remain in the draft, as Adam Zagoria of details, adding the Warriors, Mavericks, Nets, Sixers, Knicks and Raptors to the list of teams he’s interviewing with at the combine.

See more updates as the combine continues:

  • The Lakers interviewed Ingram, notes Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News.
  • The Bulls, Hawks, Kings, Spurs and Rockets are among the teams interviewing Cal swingman Jaylen Brown, as he told reporters and as Basketball Insiders relays in a video. Also on the list are Boston and Minnesota, as we passed along earlier.
  • UNLV shooting guard Patrick McCaw listed the Raptors, Bucks, Hornets, Cavaliers and Heat, as well as a previously reported meeting with Boston, among his interviews, as Basketball Insiders relays in another video.
  • Wisconsin power forward Nigel Hayes will work out for the Suns, Celtics and Knicks, reports Sean Deveney of The Sporting News (Twitter link). Ford heard some negativity surrounding his performance Thursday.
  • The Pelicans, Knicks, Mavericks, Hornets and Lakers are the previously unreported teams on the interview list for Maryland point guard Melo Trimble, as J. Michael of CSN Mid-Atlantic relays. Ford heard from NBA types down on Trimble’s showing Thursday.
  • Former Iona combo guard A.J. English met with the Pelicans and will do so with the Wizards and Nets, Zagoria tweets Adam Zagoria of
  • The Spurs, Warriors, Nuggets and Grizzlies are the previously unreported teams interviewing Seton Hall shooting guard Isaiah Whitehead, Zagoria relays (Twitter link). He’ll work out for the Sixers on Monday, the Pacers on Wednesday, the Celtics on May 20th and the Bulls on May 23rd, a source tells Zach Braziller of the New York Post (Twitter links). Boston, Indiana and Chicago are particularly interested in him, Braziller hears.

Q&A With NBA Draft Prospect Jordan Mickey

In advance of Thursday’s draft, Hoops Rumors has been talking with some of the most intriguing prospects in this year’s class. Today, the Hoops Rumors Draft Prospect Q&A series continues with LSU big man Jordan Mickey, who is ranked No. 31 in this year’s class by Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress and No. 44 by Chad Ford of

LSU big man Jordan Mickey has been climbing up draft boards all spring and summer and, as Hoops Rumors reported Tuesday afternoon, his meteoric rise could land him in the first round when all is said and done.  Mickey said that officials from a team picking in the 20s told him that if he’s available, they intend on pouncing on him.  Meanwhile, the Celtics are bringing him in for a second look on Wednesday and it’s quite possible that they’re considering him for the No. 16 selection.  The C’s could also be eyeing him for their No. 28 or No. 33 picks, but it doesn’t sound like he’ll be on the board at that point.

Why has Mickey been such a fast riser in recent weeks?  There are multiple answers to that question, but his greatest appeal undoubtedly is his uncanny shot-blocking ability.  Blessed with a 7′ 3.25″ wingspan, the 6′ 8″ big man plays much bigger than his size and swats shot with ease.  In fact, as a sophomore this season at LSU, Mickey recorded an average of 3.6 blocks per game to go along with 15.4 PPG and 9.9 RPG.

Jordan Mickey (vertical)

Courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Mickey spoke with Hoops Rumors on Tuesday to talk about his draft stock, the art of shot blocking, and much more.

Zach Links: I understand that you’re working out for the Celtics on Wednesday.  What’s that workout going to be like?  Will it be a solo audition or will you be going up against other prospects?

Jordan Mickey:  You know, I’m not exactly sure.  I haven’t heard anything about it yet, so as far as I know, it might just be me by myself.

ZL:The Celtics have a lot of picks (Nos. 16, 28, 33, and 45) this year.  Have they indicated to you that they’re looking at you for No. 16?

JM: My understanding is that I’m being brought in for a second workout for that exact reason.

ZL: Obviously your shot blocking prowess comes largely from your athleticism and wingspan, but how much of that do you attribute to timing?

JM: A lot of it is about timing. You watch some guys in their first season and they have everything down when it comes to blocking, except for the timing, and it shows.  You have to know when to jump and when to initiate body contact.  Otherwise, you’re not going to get far as a shot blocker.

ZL: As an excellent shot blocker out of LSU, I’m sure that you’ve heard Shaq’s name mentioned more than once.  Have you gotten the chance to speak with him?

JM: I haven’t had a chance to speak with him personally, but he’s come to our games before.

ZL: Growing up, did you emulate him at all?

JM: I can’t say I ever did.  We’re very different players.  He’s more of a post guy and I’m more of an athlete.

ZL: Who would you say you’re similar to in today’s NBA?

JM: Draymond Green and Paul Millsap.  We’re all about the same height and kind of undersized for the position.  When I look at Green, that’s a guy that can play the 5, 4, or 3 and he guards everything from the 1 to the 5.  That’s something I feel I can do.

ZL: At LSU, you showed that you can score effectively with a jump hook, a move that some big men tend to neglect.  Did you always have that in your arsenal or is that something you developed in college?

JM: I’ve always had a pretty good jump hook for as long as I’ve played the game.  It’s one of the first things that I ever learned, and I always worked hard at that.

ZL: You had a pretty strong freshman season for yourself.  Did you consider going pro last year?

JM: I did, I considered it.  I looked at it but I thought that if I came back my sophomore year, I could continue to improve my stock.

ZL: I saw a report recently indicating that you have a promise from a team drafting late in the first round.  Is that the case?

JM: This month a team picking in the 20s told me that if I’m available, they’ll definitely take me.

ZL: Your teammate Jarell Martin is also projected to hear his name called on Thursday.  If someone asked you for a scouting report on him, what would you say about him?

JM: I would say he’s very athletic and he gets around pretty easily.  He goes to the rim hard. … I’d also say he’s a pretty good jump shooter.  He has a great three-point shot and he’s just a very capable shooter and scorer.

ZL: What led you to choose Adie von Gontard and Matt Babcock of APAA Sports Group as your representation?

JM: Well, I didn’t want to go with a big agency.  I kind of wanted to stay small and I didn’t want to go to an agency just because of the big name appeal alone.  I wanted personal attention and I felt like I could get that with Adie.  He’s based out of Dallas too, and that’s where I’m working out of now.  I just felt comfortable talking to him and he had confidence in me and believed that I could be a first-round pick.  All of that made me want to join up with him.

Q&A With NBA Draft Prospect Norman Powell

In advance of Thursday’s draft, Hoops Rumors has been talking with some of the most intriguing prospects in this year’s class. Today, the Hoops Rumors Draft Prospect Q&A series continues with UCLA guard Norman Powell, who is ranked No. 41 in this year’s class by Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress and No. 53 by Chad Ford of

After four years at UCLA, guard Norman Powell is battle tested and ready to take the next step.  While he doesn’t have the prototypical size for a shooting guard, Powell more than makes up for that with his tenacity and athleticism.  In his final year on campus, Powell showed that he can score with his jump shot, and he also put up points by slashing to the basket.  In total, Powell averaged 16.4 PPG, 4.7 RPG, and 2.1 APG in 34.6 minutes per contest as he impressed NBA scouts and helped lead his team to the Sweet Sixteen.  Last week, Powell took some time out of his schedule to talk to Hoops Rumors about his skill set and how it’ll translate at the next level.

Zach Links: You really seemed to come into your own in your junior year. What factors led to you breaking out?

Norman Powell (vertical)

Courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Norman Powell: It was just the opportunity that was presented to me.  Coach [Steve] Alford, when he got hired, he came to me and told me I was going to be his guy.  He told me my junior year was going to be my breakout year and he was right.  I was finally able to show what I was capable of.

ZL: How close were you to going pro last year?

NP: A lot of people thought I wouldn’t return for my senior year given that I had a strong year.  But, I was really focused on graduating and getting my degree.

ZL: You made a lot of strides with your jump shot this season. Do you feel like that addition to your arsenal is going to make you an even more dangerous offensive threat?

NP: Yeah, definitely, I always felt like I had a strong mid-range pull-up game.  I’ve also shown that I can get to the basket and score.  Increasing my range is something that I’m definitely working on and that needs improvement.  I need to stay focused on that to get it to the level that it needs to be.

ZL: With a 6’11” wingspan, do you feel like you have a greater defensive potential than people realize?

NP: Yeah, definitely.  I think a lot of people are questioning me because of my size.  People always told me I was undersized, but with my length and athleticism, it gives me an added edge out there.  That’s something that people are counting out.  My length makes up for a lot of that. I think I have the potential to be a lockdown defender at the next level.  The sky is the limit for me, honestly, especially because I have that tough mentality and that wingspan.

ZL: Do you have any last minute workouts scheduled?

NP: I’ll actually be working out for the Lakers on Wednesday, June 24th, the day before the draft.  That’ll be my second workout with them.

ZL: What led you to choose Todd Ramasar as your agent?

NP: Todd is a UCLA guy, so he has a similar background to me.  He also understands my mindset.  I was being slept on by a lot of people when it comes to what I can do at the next level.  I feel like I have a lot to prove, I have a chip on my shoulder, and I want to show that I’m one of the top talents in the draft.  We want to put people on notice that have been counting me out.  We both have the mentality of an underdog that wants to succeed.

Jordan Mickey Likely To Go In First Round

LSU big man Jordan Mickey has been climbing up draft boards over the past couple of months and his rise could culminate in becoming a first round selection.  On Tuesday afternoon, Mickey told Hoops Rumors that a team picking in the 20s told him that they’ll select him if he’s still on the board at that time.

Mickey is currently is ranked No. 31 in this year’s class by Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress and No. 44 by Chad Ford of  The athletic 20-year-old (21 in July) would outperform those projections by a wide margin if he’s selected in the 20s, but he could conceivably go even higher than that.

Mickey tells Hoops Rumors that he’ll be working out for Boston on Wednesday, his second audition for Boston in recent weeks.  Given the last-minute workout, it’s quite possible that the C’s are viewing Mickey as an option with their No. 16 pick.  Boston picks again at No. 28, No. 33, and No. 45, but he might not be available that far down.

Earlier this week, LSU blog TigerRag reported that Mickey received a guarantee from a team picking later in the first round.  In his sophomore year at LSU, Mickey averaged 15.4 PPG, 9.9 RPG, and an eye-popping 3.6 blocks per contest.

Q&A With NBA Draft Prospect Ryan Boatright

Leading up to the draft, Hoops Rumors will be talking with some of the most intriguing prospects in this year’s class. Today, the Hoops Rumors Draft Prospect Q&A series continues with UConn guard Ryan Boatright, who is ranked No. 84 in this year’s class by Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress and No. 96 by Chad Ford of

At 5’11” and 170 pounds, UConn’s Ryan Boatright packs a lot of punch for his small size.  Over the course of his four years in college, Boatright made a name for himself as a tenacious pick-and-roll point guard on offense and a pesky perimeter defender on the other side of the floor.  In 2014, Boatright and backcourt mate Shabazz Napier helped lead UConn to a national championship.  While there was some talk of Boatright going pro early, he opted to stay in school for his senior season to show that he can lead a team all by himself.  Boatright, a client of Aaron Goodwin, spoke with Hoops Rumors last week about the workout trail, his draft stock, and much more.

Zach Links: At the draft combine this year, you clocked in with an eye-popping 41-inch vertical leap.  Did you get a lot of extra attention from scouts and team executives after that?

Ryan Boatright: I spoke with my agent and he told me a lot of people were impressed.  The funny thing is though, I normally do a 44-inch vertical.  So, that 41-inch jump was good, but it wasn’t my best.

Ryan Boatright (featured)

Courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

ZL: Did you think about doing it again?
RB: They gave me the opportunity to do it again but I didn’t take it.  I think 41 is impressive enough and that day I was dealing with a bit of a groin injury, so I felt like I should leave it alone.
ZL: Has your agent told you about specific teams that are especially interested in you?
RB: He said that the Clippers, Nets, and Trail Blazers are really interested in me.
ZL: Do you have an idea of where you might get drafted?
RB: I don’t ask him for the details or whatever.  I just go in there and focus on the workouts and do my best.  I don’t ask him for the range I might go in because that can always change.
ZL: After winning the National Championship in 2014, did you give any thought to going pro?
RB: Yes, I was going to go pro right after we won.  I knew my name was hot and I had a great tournament.  However, after I spoke with everyone whose opinion I trusted, I felt like one more year would be good for me.  The last day before the deadline, I decided to go back to school to show everyone that I could run the team and be a true point guard.
ZL: Are you glad that you stayed in school?
RB: Yeah, I’m glad I did that.  A few wins and a few losses this year could have made my draft position a little bit different but I don’t have any regrets.
ZL: I’m sure that you enjoyed playing alongside Shabazz Napier, but did you also enjoy getting to take on more of a leadership role in your final year?
RB: I’ve always been a leader.  I’ve never been a follower in my entire life and that role just came naturally to me.  I shared it with Shabazz when he was here; we were co-captains.  This year, though, it was just totally different.  This year I had to lead a young and inexperienced team and that was exciting.
ZL: In your freshman year at UConn, you made headlines in the New York Times Op-Ed section after the NCAA held you out for several games due to what they felt were improper benefits.  In actuality, it sounds to me like you didn’t really do anything wrong.  What was that experience like?
RB: It was extremely tough.  It was one of the hardest situations or things that I went through in my life. But, it made me stronger as a person and as a player and made me more hungry and determined to succeed.  To have something snatched away from you for no reason, when you did nothing wrong, it was devastating.  I couldn’t play basketball and that was the whole reason I went to UConn.  Still, I got through it and persevered and made the best of it.
ZL: This year, you shot 41.6% from three-point range, the best showing of your collegiate career.  What led to that major improvement?
RB: Teams were just more scared of me getting into the paint and creating havoc for myself and others.  They really contained me to keep me out of the paint.  I knew that in order to be efficient on the floor, I had to improve my three-point shot off the catch and dribble.  I just focused on practicing hard and knocking it down.

ZL: What would you say to critics who fear that you’re too small for the NBA?

RB: Everyone is going to have their opinion.  I’ve been doubted my whole life.  No one thought I’d go to UConn, let alone start and win a national championship.  The same people I’m playing in college, those are the same people I’m going to be playing in the NBA.  Even if they’re bigger and stronger, I’m going to get bigger and stronger.  I’ve held my own my whole life.  I came up in Chicago playing against pros.  If a team takes a chance on me, I’m going to hold it down for the guys that are 6’0″ and under.

ZL: Why did you choose Aaron Goodwin to represent you?
RB: Part of it was family ties, but he’s just a good guy.  I trust him.  I don’t think he’d do anything to steal from me or harm me in any way.  He takes his job seriously.  I believe that he’s going to work hard for me.  Some agencies, they only want the guy who is going in the lottery or top 20.  I feel like Aaron believed in me as much as I believe in myself.  That sealed the deal for me.

Q&A With First-Round Prospect Kevon Looney

Leading up to the draft, Hoops Rumors will be talking with some of the most intriguing prospects in this year’s class. Today, the Hoops Rumors Draft Prospect Q&A series continues with UCLA forward Kevon Looney, who is ranked No. 19 in this year’s class by Chad Ford of and No. 20 by Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress.

Coming out of high school, scouting services collectively had Kevon Looney as the No. 11 player in the nation and he had offers from just about every elite program under the sun.   Now, after one year at UCLA, Looney is making the jump to the pros and is widely projected to be a first-round selection.

Looney is blessed with great size for the power forward position at the next level.  Standing at a shade over 6’9″ in shoes, Looney boasts an almost freakish wingspan of 7’3.5″.  With that length, Looney can grab loose rebounds with the best of ’em and has the potential to grow by leaps and bounds on the defensive end.  On offense, Looney showed last season that he’s getting more and more comfortable with his jump shot, a skill that helped to spread out the floor for the Bruins.

On Saturday, Hoops Rumors caught up with the very busy 19-year-old between flights to talk about his stock heading into June 25th, and his NBA future.

Zach Links: What was it like coming to UCLA as a freshman and immediately jumping into a starring role?

Kevon Looney: It was a great experience for me and a great learning experience for me. I think I got better as both a player and as a person. I made a lot of strides and I made a lot of friends while I was there.

ZL: What were some of the strides you made on the court?

KL: I would say my biggest improvement was probably my shooting. As the year went on, I shot better and it continued to get better. I don’t know if I got better at rebounding, but I showed that I could do it for sure. I proved that I could do it in high school but to show that to the world in college was important to me. That was probably my greatest strength this year.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Courtesy of USA Today Sports Images

ZL: Did you consider staying for another year?

KL: Yes, a little bit. I figured I could stay at UCLA for another year and get better. I mean, everyone wants to win a college National Championship and I felt like if I came back, we could have won even more as a team. But, at the end of the day, I wanted to pursue my dream and become a first-round draft pick.

ZL: You’ve shown that you can rebound over bigger and stronger opponents. What’s your secret?

KL: It’s just something I always had a knack for. I’m really long and I have good timing for it. I’ve always been good at it and I’ve always wanted to be the best at it.

ZL: Are you looking to add muscle to your frame? How much weight are you looking to put on?

KL: I’m not sure what my goal weight is. Right now I’m playing so much that it’s hard to get in the weight room. But, as soon as I’m done with the draft, I’ll talk to whatever team drafts me and get a plan for my body. I’ve never had a problem putting on weight before, so I think I’ll be able to put on weight pretty fast.

ZL: What workouts have you had so far and what workouts are coming up?

KL: So far, I’ve worked out for the Thunder, Suns, Jazz, and Pistons. Coming up, I’ve got the Hawks, Heat, Bucks, Raptors, Hornets, Celtics, and Knicks.

ZL: Do you have an idea of where you might get drafted?

KL: My agent tells me anywhere from No. 7 to No. 20. That’s my range right now.

ZL: What NBA player would you compare yourself to?

KL: I don’t know if I’m all that similar to anyone but I can tell you that I try to play like Anthony Davis and LaMarcus Aldridge. I don’t know if I’m exactly like them but I’m trying to be [laughs].

ZL: You shot the ball well from three-point range (41.5%) last season, but you only attempted 53 three pointers in total. Could you see yourself shooting from outside more at the next level?

KL: Yeah, I think I’m comfortable shooting from NBA range and I think I’ll be called upon to spread the floor out. That’s one of my strong suits, and I really zoned in on that this offseason.

ZL: It seems like there’s a perception that you have a good amount of upside but that you’re still a little green and won’t make a big impact right away.  Do you disagree with that assessment?

KL: I think so. I don’t think I’m that far away from making an impact at all.  I know I have a lot of work to do, but once I get stronger, I’ll be much better.  I know I can gain weight fast and once I get stronger, I know that I can make an instant impact.

ZL: What kind of things are you doing day to day to get ready for what’s ahead?

KL: Before I got busy with all these team workouts, I was doing yoga in the morning and then going to the track to do sprints. Then I would run a couple miles and come back and play some basketball.

ZL: How long have you been doing yoga?

KL: I did yoga in high school, I did some at UCLA, and I’ve been doing it every day ever since the season ended.  It helps me a lot.  I do hot yoga all the time and that helps me to keep my core strong and helps my breathing for some reason.  I learned how to breathe and get rid of tension pent up my lungs.

ZL: What led you to choose Aaron Goodwin and Todd Ramasar to represent you?

KL: I let my parents pick out a few people that would be the best for me and I met with the people that they picked.  Those two guys were the best fit for me. … When you look at someone like Aaron, he has some big-name people there but he also has time for me.  He’s a great guy with vision and I really feel like I’m going to benefit from his experience.

ZL: What are your plans for draft night?

KL: Hopefully I’ll get an invite to the green room! Even if I don’t, I’ll probably end up going to New York to get the full experience.

Q&A With Duke Guard Quinn Cook

Leading up to the draft, Hoops Rumors will be talking with some of the most intriguing prospects in this year’s class. Today, the Hoops Rumors Draft Prospect Q&A series continues with Duke guard Quinn Cook, who is ranked No. 62 in this year’s class by both Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress and Chad Ford of

After helping Duke win the National Championship, Quinn Cook couldn’t have asked for a better way to end his collegiate career.  Now, he’s busting his tail on the draft circuit in order to solidify his place on draft boards around the league.  Cook told Hoops Rumors (Twitter link) that he has the Nets, Knicks, Jazz, Lakers, Clippers, and Thunder all on his workout schedule and there could be even more to come.  The speedy point guard spoke with Hoops Rumors recently about Coach K, making funny faces during games, and his draft stock heading into June 25th.

Zach Links: How much did it mean to you to end your college career in the best way possible, with a National Championship?

Quinn Cook: It meant a lot to me to end my college career as a champion.  I had some tough losses in my four-year career at Duke.  To leave winning the tournament, that’s the best thing you can do as a college player.  I’m just really proud of my team.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

ZL: Do you think you might be better prepared for the NBA than other guys in this year’s class thanks to your time spent playing for Mike Krzyzewski?

QC: Definitely. He’s the best coach of all-time and for him to have the respect of guys like Michael Jordan, Kobe BryantLeBron James, KD [Kevin Durant], it just shows how great he is.  He has coached everybody, but he has also learned from these guys.  He learns from other coaches too like Tom Thibodeau and Monty Williams.  He prepares us very well.  Guys who leave our program have a leg up going into the pros because we’ve been around Coach K.  He’s a pro’s pro.

ZL: At 6’2″, you’ve shown that you can give taller opponents trouble.  Is that something you pride yourself on?

QC: That’s going to be my niche in the league.  I think I’m going to be a guy who comes off the bench and causes havoc for the guys on the other side of the ball.

ZL: At your banquet ceremony this year, you spoke a bit about becoming the leader of your Duke team. When did you really start embracing that leadership role and what do you think makes for a great leader in a locker room?

QC: I started embracing that after we were eliminated from the tournament in my junior year.  From March 2014 onward, I was determined to be a leader.

To be a leader I think you first have to lead by example.  Some guys are more vocal than others, but I think the leader has to be there every day and lead by example more than anything.  You can be a “rah rah guy,” as we say at Duke, but the leader has to be the first one in and the last one to leave, setting the tone for everybody.

ZL: What’s the main thing you want to work on?

QC: Everything.  I want to just get better in every aspect of the game.  I want to be a more consistent shooter off the dribble, finish around rim better, and defend the ball better.

ZL: Do you have an idea of where you might be drafted?

QC: I’m a second round guy.  It could be anywhere in the second round. I was a champion and an All-American at Duke, I think I have a solid resume and I think I performed really well at the combine.  Hopefully, I’ll get my name called.

ZL: You spent your first three years of high school at DeMatha before transferring to another high school powerhouse in Oak Hill Academy. What was the reason for that change?

QC: I just wanted a new challenge.  My best friends, Jerian Grant and Victor Oladipo, they were at DeMatha with me and that was a lot of fun, but I needed a new challenge.  My mom had a great relationship with [Oak Hill head coach] Steve Smith so I decided to go there and team up with Ben McLemore.

ZL: You enjoyed some internet attention during the tournament for your unique facial expressions. What was your reaction to inadvertently walking into a new kind of fame?

QC: It was fun! You kind of forget how big the NCAA tournament is and how many people pay attention to it.  It was cool to see a few pics go viral and for me to become Instagram and Twitter famous.  My teammates kept sending me new pictures that popped up and my friends were too, so that was funny.

ZL: Why Tandem and Jim Tanner?

QC: They’re first class.  Jim is first class and everybody in the office is first class.  I was comfortable with them…It was a tough decision but I made the right one.