The NBA Draft process is a once in a lifetime experience for those who go through it. While there are many broad similarities between the experiences of players during this process – like hectic travel schedules and grueling pre-draft training – each player takes something different away from the process. I decided to talk to 10 different eligible prospects to ask them all the same set of questions to use as a means of comparing their experiences.
Up first is John Henson out of North Carolina. Henson thought about entering the draft last year but decided to return for his junior season at UNC in hopes of winning the national title. While the team fell short of that goal, Henson had a very good year individually. He showed off a much improved offensive game to go along with his defensive abilities, which led to him being named ACC Defensive Player of the Year for the second year in a row. After another successful season, Henson took the leap to the NBA, and is now a projected lottery pick.
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Dime: Where did you do your pre-draft training?
John Henson: I trained in Houston, Texas with John Lucas.
Dime: Describe an average day during pre-draft training.
JH: Wake up at 7 a.m., and get to the gym at about 8, and had a shooting workout from 8 ’till 9. Then on Monday and Wednesday we would have Yoga at 9 and the rest of the days we did skill work from around 9 ’till 11:30. Then we had a break for lunch and to rest, then we would lift and get back on the court at 2:30 or 3:30, and after that we were done. So the training was really the whole day.
Dime: What was your diet like the last two months?
JH: Nothing really changed over the last two months. I’m not a diet guy, I’m not a guy that needs to be on a diet, I need to put on some weight, so I just ate everything I usually ate, I didn’t change anything.
Dime: What area of your game do you think you improved the most during the last two months?
JH: Definitely my attacking ability. I wasn’t always that aggressive in college so just learning when to attack and how to be aggressive offensively I think is the biggest thing I improved.
Dime: What do you think the one thing is about you that stood out to teams during these workouts?
JH: I definitely think it was my skills and my versatility. There are a lot of things I can do on the basketball court, and I’m not going to say I’m the most skilled guy out there, but I think teams may have been surprised to see just how many different things I could do as a player. I’m very versatile and I think the number of things I do well stood out.
Dime: Who was the toughest player you had to guard in a workout?
JH: everybody in the workouts is talented, so nobody was any tougher than anybody else. It wasn’t too tough for me to guard anyone during the process.
Dime: What was the weirdest interview question you got?
JH: Probably, ‘If you had a game in Miami the next day and everybody was going out at 2 a.m. on South Beach, would you go out with them?’ I thought that was pretty weird.
Dime: What was your worst flight experience?
JH: Flying to Sac (Sacramento). It was a smooth ride for about an hour and everybody was knocked out and then we started to hit this rough patch cause of weather. There was rain pelting the plane and there was lightning. It was pretty crazy, the rain was hitting the windows and everybody woke up and was kind of moving around. It was an experience but we got through it so it turned out okay.
Dime: What’s the nicest hotel you stayed in?
JH: The one in Toronto was really nice, I’m not sure what it was about it that I liked so much, but it just had a great feel to it and it’s hard to explain, but I definitely liked that one.
Dime: What was your favorite memory from the whole process?
JH: I would say the friendships I made and meeting all the guys who are going through the process with you. Myself, Terrence Jones, Perry Jones, and Jared Sullinger we all had a lot of workouts together, and got to know each other really well. So we are good friends now just based on going through this whole thing with each other.
Dime: What is the funniest story you have from the process?
JH: Probably when me and Perry (Jones) had to go through customs in Canada when we went to work out for the Raptors so we got on line and they looked at our passports and had us fill out the papers, everything was fine. Then Terrence (Jones) comes up and the lady takes him a whole different way so he had to go through the back and a completely different process. They had to recheck him and look and double-check his passport so it was really funny to see him go through that, and it took him 15 minutes more to get downstairs.
Dime: What was your least favorite part of the whole process?
JH: Probably traveling. Man, the traveling is crazy. All the cities you go to and getting your plane tickets sorted out then going to the hotel and getting your room keys. It’s tough to do all that.
Dime: If you could change anything about the way you went about the last two months, is there anything you would change?
JH: Probably just have all the teams come to me (laughs). They’ve got enough money to do it, so that would be real nice.
Dime: What’s the best advice or best lesson you got from someone during this process?
JH: Probably one of the best lessons was that all of the guys in this draft are very talented. And to this point that talent may have gotten them by to this level because they were just more talented than anyone else. Now it’s a whole new game, you can be an okay player in the NBA on talent alone, but if you want to be great you’ve got to go get it. You’ve got work hard every day and you have to commit yourself to it.
Dime: If you had to give advice to someone who goes through this process next year, what would you say to them?
JH: I would say get a frequent flyer number would be the first thing. Also, just to be ready for the traveling and the effect it has on your body. It can be very tiring and it’s definitely a grind so you have to be ready for that.
Who do you think will take Henson in the draft tomorrow night?
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