Former North Carolina guard Marcus Paige spent the past month looking to change some minds.
For various reasons, Paige didn’t play much point guard for the Tar Heels his last two seasons. So in 11 pre-draft workouts so far, headed into Thursday night’s NBA draft, Paige has been pushing the agenda he really is a point guard.
“At Carolina I had to play a lot off the ball, which is not my game, not my strength,” Paige said Friday after auditioning for the Charlotte Hornets.
“At the next level I’m going to be a point guard. So I need to show them how I can play in the pick-and-roll, how I can set up guys and attack the basket from the top. I think I did those things well today, but I need to keep convincing teams I’m a point guard first.”
Paige had a solid college career: He played the most minutes in ACC history at 4,570. He played in the national championship game in March.
But as far as individual accomplishments, they were fewer as a junior and senior than as a sophomore, when he led the ACC in 3-point percentage (38.9 percent) and free-throw percentage (87.7 percent).
Paige is still a fine shooter. But he needs to remind future employers that’s not all he is.
“This workout is only an hour and a half, but a lot of these scouts have seen you play 140 times,” Paige said. “They know, but I haven’t played healthy and significant minutes at point guard since my sophomore year.
“I need to remind them I am a point guard. Not just a shooter who plays off the ball.”
Paige has one workout remaining, next week with the Los Angeles Lakers. He says, based on feedback from teams, he has a good chance of being chosen in the top half of the second round.
The Hornets don’t have a second-round pick, but Paige came to Charlotte on the off chance the Hornets might select him 22nd overall.
“I think I could help a lot. They need a little more depth at point guard,” Paige said of the Hornets. “They have Jeremy Lin and Kemba Walker, but I’d add depth and some shooting to the roster. That helps space the floor and any team could use that.
“I have good character, good leadership qualities. I’d be a good locker-room guy, so I think I could fit in well.”
Before his Friday workout, Paige consulted with Hornets forward and ex-Tar Heels star Marvin Williams. He has been leaning heavily on school ties that way.
“I’ve talked to basically every guy who has played in the NBA from North Carolina in the past five or six years.,” Paige said. “They just tell me to embrace it. Yes, it’s a grind and you get tired, but this is your chance.
“I lose track of what day it is. All I know is the number – that this is the 17th day (of June); I couldn’t tell you what day of the week it was. When you have back-to-back workouts, (sometimes) four in five days, sometimes the flights don’t work out.
“But it’ll make it all worth it if you hear your name called next Thursday night.”
Bonnell: 704-358-5129; @rick_bonnell