2001 NBA Draft
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Somewhere out there

Battier unsure where he'll land in draft

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Posted: Saturday June 23, 2001 1:25 AM
Updated: Saturday June 23, 2001 7:26 PM
  Shane Battier Shane Battier has completed tryouts with the teams who hold the top six picks. Jamie Squire/Allsport

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) -- Shane Battier, master of the spoken word, hasn't always been comfortable promoting himself -- a personality quirk that has changed over the past few weeks.

"If there's any time to sell yourself, it's during this time," the college player of the year said Friday. "If you don't do it or your agent won't, nobody else will. It's not really in my personality to go out and say I'm the greatest thing, but you do have to show people things they may not see or want to see."

Battier learned his 19.9 scoring average, or his leading Duke to this year's national championship in his senior season, didn't carry much weight with NBA general managers, coaches or scouts who are preparing for next Wednesday's draft.

"I don't think it matters if you can walk on water or eat bullets or be the second coming of Michael Jordan. They are still going to try to find a part of your game that's less than scintillating and comment about it," Battier said. "I was waiting for them to measure the length of my earlobes and comment on how that would affect my jump shot."

Battier has completed tryouts with teams who hold the top six picks in the draft -- Washington, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago, Golden State and Vancouver.

But this year's draft is about as uncertain as Battier's stock. Though he's a good outside shooter and a superb defender, many have questioned Battier's overall athletic ability. Sports Illustrated even projected him to be picked between 14-20.

Keith Drum, who scouts the Atlantic Coast Conference for the Sacramento Kings, said that assessment is ridiculous.

"If he's picked at 20th it would be the biggest shock I've ever had in the NBA," Drum said Friday from California.

"Shane has gotten better in his career and he will continue to get better on using the dribble to get shots," Drum added. "There is some rap about what kind of athlete he is. Well, he's not a Vince Carter or a Corey Maggette type of athlete, but he's good enough and he's better than a lot of athletes in this league."

Battier, who heard about the article, remains confident he'll be one of the top 10 players selected.

"I think that was written a long time ago. I take that stuff with a grain of salt," Battier said. "Everybody has an opinion."

Battier's individual workouts may have changed the opinions of some general managers. In Atlanta, Battier beat Michigan State underclassman Jason Richardson in a "Superman" drill, dunking the ball 70 straight times without missing or quitting.

At the other end of the court, Richardson dunked 63 times before falling to the floor from exhaustion.

"I could have kept going but I messed up my footing and missed a dunk," Battier said. "After that I turned to the GM and said, 'I guess I'm a little more athletic than you thought, huh?' He smiled and walked away."

The feat "doesn't surprise me at all," Drum said. "In a lot of ways that's not pure athleticism, it's that mentally he is tougher and more prepared than anyone in this draft."

Battier's college coach, Mike Krzyzewski, although biased, couldn't agree more.

"He is the most proven person in the draft," Krzyzewski said. "But to some people, they won't take that. They'll take something for the future."


 
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