At the NBA pre-draft camp in Orlando, Fla., Thursday was a day to meet the top early-entrant picks, who are here for physical testing and measurements. That included USC freshman O.J. Mayo, UCLA freshman Kevin Love and his teammate, sophomore Russell Westbrook. Some quick takes:
Peppered with more questions about the Miami Heat than about NCAA investigations, Mayo carried a USC jacket and was ever polite.
Asked if the NCAA had called him about an ESPN report that he had received improper payments through L.A. event promoter Rodney Guillory: “No, ma’am.” Asked if he had spoken to any NCAA representatives: “No, ma’am.”
No, he has not hired another agent since breaking off his relationship with Calvin Andrews. Yes, he still talks to Guillory by phone. And he is living in a Chicago apartment and working out with Tim Grover, Michael Jordan’s former trainer.
On Guillory: “It’s not that I’m not seeing him. I’m talking to him. But I’m preparing for the isle of pride, the NBA, something I’ve worked for since I was a little kid. I call him occasionally to see how he’s doing.”
On working with Grover: “I went there, saw the facility and as a basketball player it is the best facility to work out in. It has everything you need. A barbershop, a pool, a treadmill. You can take a shower, lay down, work out again and never leave. That’s my day.”
On speculation he’ll be picked by the Miami Heat: “I’ve been working out with Dwyane Wade and I’ve been asking him all the questions about the league. It would be in my good interests to play with Wade.”
He hears the questions about his size, his quickness, his athleticism. The answer: He has four NBA workouts coming up -- Seattle, Minnesota, New York, New Jersey. And despite what his father, Stan, said on an Oregon radio station last week on how UCLA did not live up to all the recruiting promises, Love said his life as a one-year Bruin was a positive.
On the NBA: “There have been a lot of questions about my athleticism. That’s what I’m here for. To change people’s minds. . . . I’m hoping to surprise a lot of people.”
Where he’d love to play: “Obviously I would have to say the Clippers because that’s where I’m from now. The Blazers as well because I’m from there originally. I’m ready to make a new favorite city anywhere I go. I don’t know if Memphis fans want me, though, after my showing in the Final Four. But I’m an Elvis fan.”
On how tall he will be today after being listed at 6-10: “I’m hoping to reach 6-9. Maybe it will be a good day for me.”
On what he will be weighed at: “I’m aiming for 252. I played as high as 271.”
A late signee for UCLA two years ago, he is ranked on most draft boards as a top-10 pick. Westbrook hasn’t signed with an agent, which would make him ineligible for school next year, but he said he wasn’t going to class this quarter.
On college: “I could return and become eligible this summer if that’s how it goes.”
On pre-draft preparations: “I’ve been working at St. Monica High School [in Santa Monica] with [Memphis’] Derrick Rose and [Stanford’s] Brook and Robin Lopez and [Louisiana State’s] Anthony Randolph.”
On being at the pre-draft camp: “It’s surreal. I thought it could happen sometime but not this soon. When I see my name where it is sometimes I can’t believe it.”