NEW YORK — It seems that everyone, including his own teammates, has concerns about Andre Drummond’s work ethic.
But there was the 7-foot former UConn standout on Wednesday, telling the assembled media at the Westin Hotel that he isn’t concerned about it and is ready to prove everyone wrong once he gets drafted on Thursday night.
“Whatever team I go to, all that talk is going to be put to rest, because I am a hard worker,” Drummond said. “There’s nothing wrong with my motor.”
Drummond’s former UConn teammate, Jeremy Lamb, was not at the media session, although he has been invited, along with Drummond, to the Green Room Thursday at The Prudential Center. Lamb, who is battling an ankle sprain, is not yet in New York because he was meeting with a team on Wednesday, a source close to Lamb told SNY.tv.
Still, Lamb even called out Drummond the other day after a workout with the Portland Trail Blazers.
“It depends on if he wants to work,” Lamb said. “He’s a great athlete. He can jump. He can block shots. He can rebound. I always say, it’s funny, we will have an early practice at like 8 AM, and everyone is trying to get warmed up and stuff. He’ll just come out and do a windmill to warm up. His bounce is amazing. I believe he’s going to work hard, develop post moves, I think he can be a great pro.”
Asked directly Wednesday about criticisms of his work ethic, Drummond said: “I’ve never read anything in the media since I was in high school…I never read what people say about me. Everybody’s entitled to their own opinion. Whether people say good things or bad things, I just stay away from it.”
Drummond, a one-and-done at UConn, said he expects to go anywhere from 2-7 on Thursday.
Someone will pick him because of his vast potential, although he is also the type of pick who could get an NBA GM fired. He has a limited offensive game, shoots 29 percent from the foul line and there remain questions about his passion for the game and work ethic.
Still, he said he’s lost 22 pounds and is now playing at 275.
“Coming in, I feel like I’ll run the floor well, grab rebounds, block shots and let the offense come to me,” Drummond said. “I’m not going to stress too much on offense, because that’s one of the things I’m working on. I’ve worked real hard on my offensive game. But right now, defense is the strongest part of my game.”
Drummond also said that his mother, Christine Cameron, would move in with him wherever he goes and stay with him through his first contract.
“Her work isn’t over,” he said. “She’s going to be my manager, so she’s got a lot of work to do. It feels great to be able to give back to her after she helped me out so much.”
Drummond was part of a mass exodus at UConn after last season. Along with Drummond and Lamb heading to the NBA, Alex Oriakhi, Roscoe Smith and Michael Bradley all transferred.
Incoming freshman guard Omar Calhoun of Christ the King admitted to Connecticut reporters this week that he also considered decommitting after UConn was banned from the 2013 postseason, but ultimately opted to stay.
“I think I was going to leave regardless of the tournament or not,” Drummond said. “This is an opportunity that doesn’t come up too many times. It’s an opportunity I needed to take, and move forward with my life.”
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.