The NBA Draft is what sweet dreams are made of. It's a special night when all that hard work put in from a very young age finally pays off. They have probably imagined hearing their name called and maybe even how the handshake with commissioner David Stern will go down. It is a magical, once-in-a-lifetime moment for all of these upcoming rookies and the beginning of many fantastic professional careers.
Earlier this week, we spoke with Nerlens Noel, Alex Len, Shane Larkin, Cody Zeller, Victor Oladipo, Mason Plumlee, and Raul Neto at the NBA Pre-Draft Luxury Gifting and Style Suite from Conversion Sports and Entertainment, produced and organized by CC Carnie to see what they had to say about everything from the random questions they had to answer during the NBA Draft interview process to what album they simply can’t live without.
Interviews by Rafael Canton (@RafelitoC7)
What has the draft process been like for you this week?
Alex Len: It’s been tough. The last two months have been difficult because I’ve had to travel a lot and I was on crutches. It’s been tough to get around places like airports, but it’s been an exciting time, with my dreams coming true. I brought my family here and we just can’t wait ‘til Thursday night.
Shane Larkin: It’s been cool. I’m really chill about it. My last workout, I was just feeling good and I felt like I did my best in all of the workouts. I gave everything I had, so I have no regrets. I hadn’t been nervous or anxious, but now that I’m actually here in New York, the nerves are kind of kicking in because you don’t know where you’re really going to go. It’s been cool, but you never know with this whole process.
Cody Zeller: It’s been enjoyable. It’s been crazy with a lot of interviews and media photo shoots, but I'm just trying to enjoy it.
Raul Neto: It was a very good experience. I practiced with guys who are going to play in the NBA, and I think I proved a lot this summer.
We were in a room like this, and they asked me, 'how many basketballs do you think fit in this room?' I’m sitting there, like 'how am I supposed to know that?'
What has been the hardest part of the draft process?
Nerlens Noel: I would say that there hasn’t been a hard part. I’ve just been enjoying it and taking it day by day. I want to remember this because it’s a once-in-a-lifetime moment.
Victor Oladipo: Just being a little bit anxious getting to that day. Thursday is the day that you’ve been dreaming about all of your life and for it to actually be less than a week away, I have some butterflies. But it’s an exciting moment. I’m glad to experience it with my friends and my family.
Mason Plumlee: Just kind of letting go of where you’re going to end up because you only have so much control of that situation. You have to realize that it’s up to you only to a certain extent. You can work out well, interview well, but after that, it’s out of your hands. So it’s not like college, where you can pick your city, your coach and all that.
What do you think your reaction will be after you first hear your name called?
Noel: There will definitely be a lot of excitement. I’m going to be very anxious and nervous but to get it all over with will be a relief since it has been a long time coming.
Len: I don’t know. I’m trying to get it together. I might even cry.
Oladipo: My heart’s going to stop for a second. I’m just going to thank god, turn around and hug all of my family, go up there and not hug David Stern and I’ll have a big smile on my face. Looking forward to it.
Larkin: I was thinking about that the other day while talking with my family. I really don't know. I might drop a couple tears. All I know is that I’m going to be extremely happy, so that will be the best moment in my life.
Zeller: It’s going to be a surreal experience just because I’ve dreamed of being drafted and shaking David Stern’s hand and all that. It will be a great experience.
Plumlee: I’ll just be excited to throw the hat on and run up there.
Neto: I’m just going to hug my dad, who’s right here with me. I’m going to be very, very happy.
What’s the weirdest question that you’ve been asked during the NBA Draft interview process from teams?
Noel: They’ve all been pretty much the same in terms of questions and I’ve just been answering them all in the same way. I just want to show my personality.
Len: The weirdest question was “if you meet Barack Obama, what would you ask him?” and somebody asked me “how many basketballs could you fit in this room?”
Oladipo: I remember in one of the interviews, a coach asked me “what does a one-in-one mean to you?” I didn’t really understand that question and he just said, “it can mean a whole lot of things.” So it was kind of interesting. He wanted to be the one that they said asked a weird question. Other than that, it’s been a great process, and people have been just asking the same old questions on my background, and how I got to this point. It’s been all fun, and I’m just trying to enjoy this because it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Larkin: I think I was interviewing with the Mavericks. We were in a room like this [the suite we were interviewing in], and they asked me, “how many basketballs do you think fit in this room?” I’m sitting there, like “how am I supposed to know that?” They were just like “take a guess.” I said like one hundred. I was off by like a thousand five hundred.
Zeller: Most of the time you meet with a psychologist and they ask you some weird ones. One of them asked me "how many basketballs could fit in the room?"
Plumlee: Dallas asked me why are manhole covers round and not square? and then they asked me what the word "recalcitrant" means. [Ed. Note: "Recalcitrant" means having an obstinate uncooperative attitude toward authority, according to Merriam-Websters Dictionary.]