Syracuse's McCullough Meets With NBA Teams, Aiming to Return from ACL Injury by Training Camp | Zagsblog
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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Tuesday / June 18.
  • Syracuse’s McCullough Meets With NBA Teams, Aiming to Return from ACL Injury by Training Camp

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    Jan 11, 2015; Syracuse, NY, USA; Syracuse Orange forward Chris McCullough (5) shoots the ball against the Florida State Seminoles during the first half at the Carrier Dome.  Syracuse defeated Florida State 70-57.  Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

    Jan 11, 2015; Syracuse, NY, USA; Chris McCullough is at the NBA Draft Combine but can’t participate because he’s recovering from ACL surgery. Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

    CHICAGO — After less than one full season at Syracuse, New York City native Chris McCullough declared for the NBA Draft despite the fact that he tore the ACL in his right knee in January.

    Now he’s taken a break from his rehab at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York to visit with NBA teams this week at the NBA Draft Combine.

    “It’s a little boring for me because I can’t play so I just get to watch and enjoy the process,” the 6-foot-10 McCullough told on Friday.

    Still, his goal is to be ready for the 2015-16 NBA season.

    “By NBA training camp, I’ll be ready to play,” he said.

    McCullough, who averaged 9.3 points and 6.9 rebounds at Syracuse, is projected as the No. 33 pick in the Draft by

    It remains to be seen where McCullough will get drafted and then what will happen when he does. He could end up sitting for part or all of next season depending on his recovery, he could spend time in the NBA D-League or he could immediately join an NBA roster.

    “I think potentially they [NBA teams] would be very interested in him, he has a very good upside,” one NBA scout said of McCullough. “But he’s a year and half away from playing I think because he’s coming off the injury. He’ll have to play in the D-League.”

    “No team I met with said anything about it, so I’m not even sure,” McCullough said.

    As for his upside going forward, McCullough said, “I see myself as a LaMarcus Aldridge, Chris Bosh type of player,” he said.

    He has met with 13 teams so far, including Miami, Houston, Philadelphia, Utah and Golden State.

    “They ask me who did my surgery, the timetable of me coming back, how’s my knee right now, if the swelling is still there,” he said. “They asked me strengths and weaknesses of my game.”

    Asked what the craziest question he’s gotten here was, he said Utah asked him, “What does one and one mean to me?”

    “I just said two,” he said.

    McCullough, who looks trim and fit, began running again last week and said he’s “feeling real good about it.”

    Asked if he is frustrated that he can’t work out to improve his stock and show teams what he can do, he said, “It is what it is right now. I’m just going to sit back and enjoy it.”

    He said he “considered” returning to Syracuse for a second season, but ultimately decided coming out was the best thing.

    “It was the initial plan for me to go there for one year anyway, so I didn’t want to get off course even though I tore my ACL,” he said.

    Meantime, he’s rehabbing and trying to get back to where he was.

    “I don’t know the timetable when I’ll be back,” he said. “I don’t want to rush it, either.”

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. 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.

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