Draft Interview: Day 1 - Alex Len

Pre-draft Interview: Day 1 - Alex Len
June 18, 2013


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Former Maryland center Alex Len was in to visit with the Cats brass on June 18 in preparation for the 2013 NBA Draft. Prior to his time with the Terps, Len was a standout player for the Ukraine U-18 national team at the U-18 European Championships in 2010. As a sophomore at Maryland Len averaged 11.9 points and 7.8 rebounds per game and led the conference with 78 blocks. Named Honorable Mention All-ACC and All-ACC Defensive team. In an NIT quarterfinal win vs. Alabama Len had 15 points and a career-high tying 13 rebounds and five blocks.

(On how his surgically repaired foot is feeling)
I’m feeling great. I just flew in this morning – it’s been five weeks I’ve been on crutches and today I’m seeing the doctor here.

(On the difficulty of being sidelined for draft workouts)
It’s a little frustrating just watching guys work out. As a competitor, you want to be out there to compete with the guys and show what you can, but it is what it is and I’m trying to just travel, visit teams, meet people and show what kind of person I am.

(On what he’s trying to get across in his draft interviews)
I’m just trying to be myself and show what kind of person I am. When I get drafted to a team, it will make the transition easier.

(On the strengths he brings to the NBA game)
I can shoot. With my size – I’m 7-1 and 7-2 with shoes – I’m pretty agile and can step out and shoot, which makes me different from other players.

(On if he views himself as a true center – like a Tim Duncan or Marc Gasol)
That would be a great comparison. Yeah, I’m a true center but can also step out and shoot. People compare me a lot with (longtime Cleveland center Zydrunas) Ilgauskas.

(On the similarities between him and Zydrunas Ilgauskas)
He was a great shooter, that’s what made him different. He was pretty tall, so it’s hard to block him. You always want to have a player like that on the court.

(On if his matchup with Kentucky’s Nerlens Noel early last season showcased the type of player he could be)
I think I showed I have a lot of potential, a big upside – it was a great game I wish we could have won.

(On his rise up the draft board and where he thinks he might end up on draft night)
I have no idea I just let my agent do that stuff. I’m just focused on getting better. I still workout with my coaches in Maryland and am just trying to take advantage of rehab and coming back quicker.

(On if he feels he would fit in well with the Cats)
Definitely. I would love to play with Kemba (Walker). It’s a really young team with a really bright future. Most of the new coaches here – (Head) Coach (Steve) Clifford and Patrick Ewing are known for working with the big guys, so I’d love to be here working with those guys.

(On if there are aspects of his game that might be more suitable to professional basketball, rather than the college level)
Yes – the difference in spacing. In the NBA, it is better spacing so you have more room to work on the low post. Also, in college teams were double-teaming me, so that made it harder.

(On his basketball background)
I started playing basketball pretty late, when I was 13, and had a pretty good high school coach back home in the Ukraine. But if you know European style basketball, they let big men do whatever they want to do. In high school I was allowed to step outside and shoot or kind of do whatever I wanted, so I think it helped me.

(On how many teams he has talked to)
Five teams

(On the biggest challenges he’ll face during his first year in the NBA)
Just a totally different style of play. I’m just going to be focused on getting better every day and coming back as fast as I can and we’ll see.

(On a timetable for his return)
They told me I’ll be back on the court by August but fully be cleared to play in October.

(So you anticipate being able to participate in training camp?)
Yeah, I should be.