Former Charlotte Christian basketball star Anthony Gill has enjoyed just about everything about the past month.
Everything except the airports. Those he’s come to dread.
“Sometimes you’re in airports for five hours. But I love the workouts,” the former Virginia forward said of his NBA auditions.
Certainly he’s learned to love them. Thursday Gill did his 12th workout, this time for his hometown Charlotte Hornets. To say his schedule is hectic is an understatement. Friday he’ll be in Oklahoma City to audition for the Thunder. Saturday he’s in Michigan for the Detroit Pistons.
He’s doing all this on what might be a remote chance he’s selected in Thursday’s NBA draft. Draftexpress.com ranks him in the 80s in a process where 60 players are chosen.
But not being drafted isn’t necessarily an end to NBA hopes. Last season Aaron Harrison wasn’t drafted, and he stuck with the Hornets.
There are second-chance opportunities, like summer leagues and the NBA development league. Much of the Hornets’ pre-draft research this month seems devoted to preparing for running a D-League franchise in Greensboro next winter.
Gill, a 6-foot-8 forward, averaged 13.6 points and 6.1 rebounds last season. He jokes that he was perfect from the 3-point line, then acknowledged he attempted just two 3-pointers.
So he knows in an NBA increasingly concerned with shooting range that he has some minds to change.
“Be more confident with my shooting,” Gill said of the hole in his resume. “At (Virginia) we played a structured system where the big men weren’t really out on the perimeter hitting shots. Being able to hit that open shot is really big in the NBA.”
Gill has been leaning on his college coach, former Hornets point guard Tony Bennett, for guidance throughout this process.
“He’s always been there for me. Whenever I ever have a question, he’s there,” Gill said. “I did that before my first workout. He’s always giving me pointers on how to be a professional. Even at the college level, it’s important you treat yourself like a professional.”
Right now being professional means being flexible. Gill might hate all that idle time at the airports, but if a team calls, he comes.
“Any time a team wants you to come in, you can’t say no,” Gill said. “I’m trying to prove to every NBA team that I belong. I’m not going to turn anybody down. They really don’t need me and I want this really badly.”
And how would Gill describe his attributes?
“I’m a high-energy guy, looking to defend every time down the court and giving my all at the offensive end. I’m a great finisher.”
Former North Carolina guard Marcus Paige is among five draft candidates the Hornets have scheduled for a workout Friday morning.
Others at that session: Joel Bolomboy from Weber State, Patricio Garino from George Washington, Melvin Johnson from Virginia Commonwealth and Australian Thon Maker.
Bonnell: 704-358-5129: @rick_bonnell