Alando Tucker didn’t have a moment to waste. Minutes after finishing his workout for Suns coaches Thursday, the Wisconsin forward and projected late first round pick answered media questions courteously, but as quickly as possible.
The next plane flight was 90 minutes away. The next workout, in New York, was 18 hours away. “I have at least five more,” he said. “I’m a busy guy right now.”
But before Tucker left, the man with a non-stop basketball motor and a communications degree got his points across among a group that included Ohio State freshman guard Daequan Cook, Lithuanian sharpshooter Renaldas Seibutis and USC guard Lodrick Stewart.
Tucker averaged 19.9 points a game as a senior and has been called a power forward in a two-guard’s body. He brings defense, athleticism and a polished game.
“I bring experience, leadership … I’ve been in tough situations,” said Tucker, a rare fifth-year senior with NBA aspirations. “I can adjust to any type of play. I didn’t get to show that at Wisconsin … our offense was ‘pass, move … pass, move.’ I think the style Phoenix plays would be great for me.”
There are some good vibes here. In 1995, the Suns drafted another player from Wisconsin – a player, like Tucker, who had an undefined position and questions about his ball handling and outside shooting. Michael Finley turned out pretty good at No. 21 overall.
“Alando is a high character guy,” said David Griffin, Suns Senior Vice President of Basketball Operations. “To play in a system that shows a lot of his weaknesses and doesn’t play well to his strengths like he did and not complain and be a team player says really good things about him as a human being.
“He can create a lot of matchup problems and overpower a lot of smaller two-guards. He’s definitely intriguing.”
So is Cook, a true freshman who saw his playing time decrease at the end of the season but has impressed scouts with his penetration and shooting skills. He hasn’t hired an agent, has retained his eligibility grade-wise and can still opt to return to the Buckeyes before the June 18 deadline.
But after a good showing at the Orlando predraft camp, Cook is gaining confidence that his matches up well with this draft class.
But to stay in the draft, he would need some type of assurance that he would be taken in the first round and earn a guaranteed contract.
“I have a lot on my shoulders, there are a lot of people who think I should go back to school,” Cook said. “I want to show people I can shoot and I haven’t lost anything.”
The Suns continue their workouts today with Maryland guard D.J. Strawberry and Finnish point guard Petteri Koponen leading the group.