Pro Prospects

For most graduating seniors, the end of college classes means a trip to the beach or some other form of ease in celebration of a well-earned diploma. That hasn't been the path, however, for Mountaineer alumnus Alex Ruoff, who hasn't even been home since he finished out his stellar career at West Virginia.

"I don't want to look back and have any regrets," said Ruoff of the reason for his travels since the end of his college career. "I want to make sure that I give this everything that I have."

'This' is the dream of an NBA or other pro basketball career, something that Ruoff has long held dear, and he has been doing everything he can to give himself the best possible shot at drawing the attention of NBA clubs. After playing in the Portsmouth Invitational, one of two NBA-sanctioned pre-draft events, he has been working out diligently, most recently at Attack Athletics, a Chicago-based business that prepares professional athletes for the challenges of their sports.

"They are pretty much preparing me for everything," Ruoff said of his routine at Attack, which is an all-day affair. "It might not be any more intense that Coach Huggins' practices, but here we are going all day. We work out, eat and train, and that takes up most of the day. I'm just trying to get into the best shape of my life so that I am ready for tryouts."

Ruoff has already set sessions with five teams, and anticipates more to come in the near future.

"This weekend, I'm going to Houston on Saturday, and the Rockets, Grizzlies and Timberwolves will all be there," he detailed. "Then I go to San Antonio on Sunday to work out for the Spurs. And on the 20th, I have a workout set with Detroit.

"I'm not sure what I'll be doing at each one, but in talking to some players that have already worked out, they tell me that they are all different. One might try to run you till you drop, but another might be mostly shooting. One I was told about did some drills and then played three-on-three for the last half hour. So I'm not sure what to expect, but I have to be ready for anything."

Ruoff, who has been projected as a second round pick in some mock drafts, knows that the workouts are critical to getting attention from NBA clubs, and thus isn't wasting any time in his preparation. Shooting, lifting and conditioning are all part of his routine – one that he hopes will lead to a spot on an NBA roster. If that doesn't happen, however, he will look at overseas options.

"I've talked to a lot of my former teammates," he noted of the list of Mountaineers who played out of the country this past season. "I talk to Frank Young, and I talk to Darris Nichols a lot. I email Mike Gansey a lot, and I've talked with Rob Summers too. I know there are a lot of opportunities out there."

First, though, is his NBA dream. Through his agent, Doug Neustadt, he figures to wind up going through as many as ten different workout/evaluation sessions prior to the NBA Draft.

"Doug is Joe Alexander's agent, and he is a good guy," said Alex. "He listens to the teams and sets up the workouts, and then he will contact them right afterward to get feedback and find out what they are thinking. He did a good job for Joe, and he's doing the same for me."

The NBA draft is scheduled for June 25th.

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