Drummond Ready to Provide and Thrive

NEW YORK – Andre Drummond's mother is about to relocate, so her final day as a nurse at Middlesex Hospital in Middletown was Monday. Thursday night, during the NBA Draft in Newark, N.J., Christine Cameron will learn the location of her new home.

Drummond is taking his mother and younger sister, Ariana, to his new place of employment – wherever that might be as a rookie in the NBA.

"Whether I like it or not, she's coming," Drummond said with a laugh Wednesday afternoon in a hotel ballroom in New York's Times Square.

The former UConn center, who departed Storrs after his freshman season and won't turn 19 until August, is about to experience a drastic change in lifestyle. He said the first thing he wants to do is build a house for his mother.

And basketball will be giving his entire family a new opportunity.

"She's been there since day one and she's been my biggest supporter," Drummond said of his mother during the NBA's media availability session Wednesday. "She needs to relax."

Kentucky's Anthony Davis, college basketball's national player of the year, is a lock to be the No. 1 pick of the New Orleans Hornets. After that, nothing seems certain and Drummond said he has been told he could be taken anywhere from No. 2 to No. 7.

Drummond worked out for Charlotte (No. 2 pick), Washington (No. 3), Cleveland (No. 4), Sacramento (No. 5) and Portland (No. 6). Many mock drafts have him landing in Sacramento with the Kings. Others link him to Portland. If he isn't taken in either of those spots, he might drop to No. 7 where the Golden State Warriors select.

Regardless of the destination, Drummond will still be shadowed by his reputation as this draft's "high risk/high reward" pick. Translation: He has an NBA body, he is a defensive force who can rebound and block shots, but his offense needs work and his desire is constantly being questioned.

He could be that guy with tremendous potential. Or he could be another Kwame Brown. The question about his personal work ethic came at him more than once during the 30-minute interview session Wednesday.

"Wherever I go, I am going to work my hardest," said Drummond who was wearing a blue suit, white dress shirt and striped tie. "Everybody is going to have an opinion on you until the day you die, so I don't really let it stress me or get to me. I just know that I am a hard worker and I'm going out there to do my best.

"Everybody knows what I'm capable of. They had the same kind of concerns about Dwight Howard when he came in [the league] and look where he is now. All I know is I'm going to come in and work hard. . . . I am a hard worker. There's nothing wrong with my motor."

Since school ended at UConn in May, Drummond has been working with popular NBA trainer Idan Ravin, also known as the Hoops Whisperer. Drummond said he has lost 22 pounds since the UConn season and he feels "great." He has also made adjustments to his shooting form, correcting problems with his jumper and his foul shot. Drummond said his free throw shooting (29.5 percent at UConn last season) has improved with a higher release and by removing his left hand from the ball.

"It was a real battle," Drummond said. "[Ravin] used to get so mad at me because I kept changing it back after we had it right for a couple of days. It took us about three or four weeks to get it right."

Thomas Robinson: Nothing wrong with Drummond's aggressiveness (KEN DAVIS)

In Charlotte and Cleveland, Drummond worked out one-on-one against Kansas power forward Thomas Robinson, expected to be the No. 2 or No. 3 pick in this draft. Drummond called Robinson the "best big" he has played against and credited him with helping his game.

"Those were two of the best workouts I've ever had," Drummond said. "I told Thomas before the workouts, ‘Yo, I'm here to work. We're not here to B.S. We're trying to get something done here.' He looked at me and said, ‘Let's go at it. We'll make each other better today."

Don't count Robinson among those questioning Drummond's work ethic. The former Jayhawk All-American says Drummond reminds him of DeAndre Jordan of the Los Angeles Clippers, who played at Texas A&M in the Big 12.

"Andre's going to make it; he's going to be a great player," Robinson said. "He's definitely one of the best athletes I've seen."

Robinson certainly wasn't ready to give Drummond penalty points for a lack of aggressiveness on the court.

"Most guys I can hit once or twice and they fade away from you," Robinson said. "I hit him once or twice, he took it, and then he came back. He's definitely more aggressive than people think. He's young right now, so offensively you really can't judge him."

Robinson said Drummond isn't alone. Other than Davis, most of these players are going to need two or more years to develop their pro games. Then if they aren't producing, Robinson said the criticism becomes fair.

Drummond isn't looking down the road that far. Perhaps it was youthful enthusiasm that had him smiling throughout his encounter with the media Wednesday. Or maybe it's the thought of becoming a millionaire soon.

"It's just a lot of joy and excitement," Drummond said. "I'm really excited to be here. I can't wait for tomorrow to come around."

He said he isn't nervous; he's leaving that to his mother. She seems to get more nervous with each passing day, Drummond said. And he just keeps reminding her that everything is "going to be fine.

"Her work isn't over because she's going to be my manager," Drummond said. "She's got a lot of work to do still. But it feels great to actually be able to give back to her. After helping me out so much, I've got her now."

Former UConn guard Jeremy Lamb was invited to Wednesday's media day but squeezed in one last workout before the draft. Drummond said Lamb was in Milwaukee. The Bucks have the No. 12 pick and Lamb is expected to go in the 8-15 range. He missed a few workouts after spraining an ankle in Toronto during a workout with the Raptors.


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