Breaking Down the Bynum Decision

Publisher
Posted Jun 15, 2005


UConnfan.com had a chance to sit down and speak to Cory Thomas, Andrew Bynum's brother and spokesman, about the decision Andrew is facing and the factors that will play into his decision to remain in the NBA draft or head to UConn to play for Jim Calhoun's Huskies.

Q - What’s Andrew’s daily schedule as he preps for the draft?

A - Andrew is getting up early every morning and heading down to the beach. He’s running an hour to an hour and a half over the sand and has lost 20 pounds. After running, he goes indoors and plays one on one under the supervision of Coach Larry Marshall. The competition is made up of several current and former Div. I college players like Eric Williams (Wake Forest), Jack Ingram (Illinois) and Herve Lamaziana (Rutgers). Bynum is weigh-training around mid-day and then returning to the indoor court for more one on one drills in the afternoon.

Q - Why isn’t Bynum working out at IMG or another training academy?

It’s too expensive. The family is paying all expenses themselves to make sure that they protect Bynum’s eligibility.

Q - Does he have any workouts scheduled with NBA clubs prior to the deadline to withdraw from the Draft?

He has a workout scheduled today with the Lakers. He will be working out for other teams over the next week, but Thomas declined to name them. He added that the reported workout scheduled Memphis (pick #19) would not happen and that Bynum would only be working out for teams drafting in the lottery.

Q - What feedback has he received from the NBA? Specifically, what weaknesses have they pointed out?

A - They seem to center on two weaknesses; first, is a general concern about his maturity and second, his jumpshot lacks arc. If Bynum remains in the draft, he will be the youngest player ever drafted – he would be several months younger than Jermaine O’Neal, currently the youngest player drafted. NBA teams are concerned about whether a player that young would be able to work and maintain focus over an 82 game season.

Q - Will he stay in the draft if, as reported, he is only guaranteed of being a first round draft pick?

A - Thomas stated that Bynum would withdraw from the draft if he were not given a guarantee that he would be chosen in the lottery. However, at this stage of the process, they are confident that Bynum would be drafted in top ten. However, according to Thomas, “If (Andrew) is not a lottery pick, he knows he can go play for a Hall of Fame coach and win a national championship at Connecticut.” Maintaining the college option has been a priority of the family throughout; according to Thomas, going through the process without the aid of an agent is much more difficult, but that preserving Bynum’s eligibility has been a focal point.

Q - Why do they feel that he is assured of being a lottery pick?

A - “He’s a natural center. He loves to play in the post. Detroit drafted Darko Milicic with the second pick and have spent two years trying to make him a center – Andrew is already a natural center. He has good hands and can log minutes for an NBA team now.”

Q - What is their time frame for making a decision?

A - “The next few days would be the most important, but, you know, we can go right up to the deadline and probably will.”

Q - Did the proposed NBA age limit play a role in the decision to declare for the NBA now?

A - “It did not play significant role. Lengthening his career by two years was factor. Look at a player like Ray Allen. He left college after three years and right now, he’s 30 years old and looking for a six year deal. That’s not easy.”

Q - Has Bynum been in contact with the UConn staff during this process?

A - “Yes. NBA teams have been contacting the UConn staff and the staff has passed that feedback on to us. Any time a team is considering spending millions on a player, they’ll want to talk to everyone involved. Tom Moore recruited Andrew and he’s our primary contact right now. Of course, Jim Calhoun has given advice. He said if Andrew is a top ten pick, he should go.”

Q - How hard is the NBA process as opposed to the process of choosing a school?

A -“ Much harder. During his recruitment, you would have more phone calls to deal with, but you knew the deal. Coach K would call and then a Duke recruiting site would call twenty minutes later. Coach Williams would call and then a North Carolina recruiting site would call twenty minutes later. Now, Sonny Vaccaro is calling or Nike is calling. Lots of businesses and agents are calling and it much more stressful because you don’t know what their deal is.”

Q - How is Bynum handling the experience?

A - “During all of this, Andrew is trying to enjoy just being a kid…he just got his driver’s license in late May and he’s hanging out and getting a chance to relax and be a kid. He had his prom and he graduated from high school just last month. It doesn’t matter if he goes to school or to the NBA, he knows that it’s a huge change in his life so right now he’s trying to set aside time to enjoy himself.”

More details and discussion on our new UConnfan.com Men’s Hoop Board!


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