Macklin Taking Advantage of The Lockout

Former Florida standout, Vernon Macklin says draft night was like "sitting on pins and needles," but once his name was called as the 52nd pick in the 2011 NBA Draft the weight on his shoulders was quickly lifted. Fightin' Gators' Milani Beaudrault caught up with the Gators' former center to find out what he is doing in preparation for his rookie season in the NBA.

The Detroit Pistons selected Vernon Macklin as the 52nd pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, Macklin describes the experience as "a dream come true" and one he would never forget. When his name was announced, Macklin thought to himself, "Wow, I was just picked as one of the top 60 players, I am so lucky." Upon his selection the Detroit coaching staff called Macklin to officially welcome him to the Pistons family.

"They called me and said "how does it feel to be a Piston?" and we can't wait for you to get here tomorrow to talk with you and your family. They also reminded me that hard work is what got me here and to not stop now," Macklin said.

Macklin spent most of the summer on the road working out for several NBA teams, including the Detroit Pistons. Now, Macklin is enjoying his time off and looking forward to the NBA season.

"I am spending time with my family because I have been on the road for so long that I didn't get to see much of them. I also took a little vacation to Miami for a while with some friends, but now I am back working out and hitting the weights to get better while we are in this lockout," Macklin said.

Due to the impending NBA lockout, Macklin is taking advantage of the time off and is using it to improve every aspect of his game.

"I think the lockout is very tough but at the end of the day I'm going to use it to my advantage and just keep getting better and put on some more Muscle. When the lockout is over, I hope I can report to training camp as a whole new bigger and better player," Macklin said.

Macklin says he is looking forward to picking the brains of the veterans on his team and adds he wants to "learn more about the NBA game, because it is much more different than college."

"I just want to get on the floor with my teammates. I want to focus on getting a lot stronger so I can help get Detroit basketball back to how it use to be a blue collar team who plays hard and plays together," Macklin said.

Macklin says playing basketball for the University of Florida has prepared him for the transition to the NBA.

"Coach Billy Donovan and Matt did a great job of putting us through conditioning drills that had us boarder line ready to give up or fight through and that is just how the NBA workouts were this summer," Macklin said.

Macklin's former teammate, Chandler Parsons was selected by the Houston Rockets as the 38th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. Macklin says he is looking forward to playing against the Gator's former forward.

"It is going to be great, we have both worked for this so long so I can't wait to see him on the court in his Rockets jersey. Knowing him he will most likely joke on me in the middle of the game of something," Macklin joked.

During Macklin's senior season at the University of Florida, he helped lead his team to the regular season SEC Championship, while shooting a team high .593. When asked what he will bring to the Detroit Pistons, Macklin responded, "I can come in and help rebound and play defense. I can also run the floor and help with low post scoring. I am just excited and ready to get on the floor with my new teammates."

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