Keith Brumbaugh: "I need to prove that the past is behind me"
Tell us about the workouts you have done lately and your schedule before the draft.
Keith Brumbaugh: Just worked out with the Detroit Pistons and I am currently in New Orleans (Wednesday) working out with the Hornets. I had a great experience playing against the Chinese Junior National Team in Houston the other day and I look forward to the remainder of my workouts. This is a great time and a tremendous learning experience.
How are your preparing for the draft in terms of conditioning? and mentally?
KB: I have a great relationship with John Lucas, so I have been working out with John in Houston who has been huge for me. He really pushes you. I am extremely focused right now.
About the workouts... Are they all the same or do they change from team to team?
KB: Usually a little different, team to team, but it’s great going up against guys from around the country and being able to measure yourself. Everything has been totally first class.
Some scouts compare you to Tayshaun Prince: lefty, 6-foot-9 tall, you play the 2/3 spot... Do you agree?
KB: Wow... That’s a great honor to even be compared to a player like Tayshaun. Obviously, I have a long way to go before I can even place myself anywhere near his level, but I feel like I am a natural scorer who brings versatility and have a good feel for the game.
Have you received any feedback from the teams so far?
KB: Clearly, I was disappointed that the Orlando camp did not go better for me. That week was a great learning experience for me. I did not play up to my ability that week, but this is a long process where I plan on redeeming myself leading up to the draft and giving people a real feel for my true potential. But I know that I need to keep moving, keep working hard and show teams that I do bring a lot to the table in terms of my basketball skill. I have enjoyed speaking with several NBA guys who have been very encouraging and tell me that I just need to keep playing and prove that the past is behind me. They have said some really nice things about my upside and versatility, so I am just taking this process day by day and trying to get better each day.
What are your best skills? And the ones where you have room to improve?
KB: I would say my best skill is my shooting ability and my ballhandling for my size, my court vision and creating mismatch problems due to my size at my position.... I would say my most immediate need for improvement is my upper body strength and my defense.
You averaged 35 ppg in junior college. How did Coach Derrick Worrels help you at the Hillsborough Community College?
KB: Coach Worrels was a huge help. He believed in me, trusted me. Taught me so much about life. Me and coach have a great relationship, so important for any young player to have a coach who really cares in his corner.
Do you keep in touch with anyone you met when you played at DeLand High School, the place where you became somewhat of a star in the making?
KB: I keep in close contact with my high school coach. He was another great influence in my life. I owe him so much. He always believed in me and had great confidence in me.
All the problems you had in the recent past, especially the arrests and withdrawing from Oklahoma State... What have you learned from them?
KB: I learned to surround myself with positive people and keep my circle small and be careful who you trust. I learned how important it is to do the right thing and make smart choices. I learned how important family is… And I learned to take responsibility for your actions and how important it is to learn from your mistakes. I have learned that being a father is the most special thing in the world and I care about giving my daughter the best life possible.
You said that your 17-month-old daughter, Deliah, has been a motivating force. Is there anything else that has motivated you to change?
KB: The biggest motivating factor is knowing that I never want to live through hard times again. I don’t want to live in the past, I want to move forward and show people that I have really grown up and learned from mistakes. I come from a college-educated family who I have learned to lean on quite a bit. Bottom line, I want my daughter to be proud of me and think of me always in a positive way. I want to set positive examples for my daughter. She is the driving force for everything I do. She is my world and I just want the best for her and my family.
Reports say that you have the talent to be a first-round pick, but first you must overcome all of the negatives in the minds of NBA executives. Do you agree?
KB: I definitely realize that I dug myself a hole because of my past mistakes. I look forward to teams getting to know me better and see that I have really matured and have incredible passion for the game of basketball. I have one goal in mind now and this is to be the best player I can be and have success at the next level NBA teams are interested in you.
Draft partners like Ty Lawson think that you are NBA-bound. But as Kevin Pritchard said, they are going to "talk with coaches, classmates, academic counselors, trainers, teachers"... As many people as they can who have been around you, like they do with every prospect. Does it bother you or it's just part of the draft process?
KB:Ty Lawson is one of the best point guards I have played with and I appreciate this compliment very much. Teams doing background checks and learning more about a player’s character goes with the territory. I understand this is a business and they have every right to do whatever they need to do to make the best decision possible. So no, this does not bother me. Me, more than a lot of other guys will be subject to more scrutiny. I understand this and can appreciate how much work has to go into evaluating hundreds of players.
You said that you're not worried if you make the NBA or not. If not, will you consider playing overseas or would you rather play in the D-League?
KB: Playing in the NBA has always been my dream. Maybe I pushed the issue in the past too soon, but I do want to be a part of the NBA. I am a basketball player and will work as hard as I can to get there. If I do not make a roster right away, then I will keep my head up and report to the D-League or overseas to keep improving and fight for my dream. I care about getting better and will work every day to become the best I can be.
Raul Barrigon is the managing editor of HoopsHype.com
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