Huskies' Drummond is all about potential

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Photo - NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 08:  Brandon Triche #20 of the Syracuse Orange goes to the hoop against Alex Oriakhi #34 and Andre Drummond #12 of the Connecticut Huskies during the quarterfinals of the Big East Men's Basketball Tournament at Madison Square Garden on March 8, 2012 in New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 08: Brandon Triche #20 of the Syracuse Orange goes to the hoop against Alex Oriakhi #34 and Andre Drummond #12 of the Connecticut Huskies during the quarterfinals of the Big East Men's Basketball Tournament at Madison Square Garden on March 8, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Sports,NBA,Wizards,Craig Stouffer

Verizon workout shows he has much to improve

Andre Drummond said there wasn't a single motivating factor that drove him to enter the NBA Draft.

"It's just that the opportunity was put in front of me, and I went after it," Drummond said after finishing up a workout with the Wizards on Monday. But it's hard not to feel like the 18-year-old center from Connecticut is only a bit player in his own ascension.

His ability was impossible to ignore when he joined the Huskies last season, the next great mammoth presence in the middle for the then-reigning national champions. Of course, UConn went on disappoint and so did Drummond, who averaged 10.2 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.7 blocks, not nearly enough for a player who was supposed to have so much potential.

But the 18-year-old's upside hasn't changed. Since he decided to forgo his final three years of NCAA eligibility, his stock has risen ahead of the June 28 draft the same way it did in high school. Projected as high as a top five selection, Drummond has done his part, dropping 22 pounds since the end of the college season. The scales and measuring tapes have taken care the rest. He checked in at 6-foot-11 and 279 pounds (with 7.5 percent body fat) at the NBA Draft combine, where he took honors for the longest wingspan (7-6?).

But none of those things will help his free throw shooting. His .295 percentage at the line at Connecticut included an 0-for-4 outing that overshadowed 18 points and seven rebounds in a loss to Georgetown at Verizon Center. Back in the building Monday, he closed his workout by badly missing three of four free throw attempts.

It's a work in progress. So are Drummond's footwork and offensive game.

"Wherever coach puts me is where I'm going to be happy at," Drummond said when asked how he expects to contribute as an NBA rookie. "I'm definitely going to work hard wherever it is that I'm placed. When I'm on the floor, I'm going to give it my all. I'm going to run the floor, block shots, rebound. That's one of the things I can definitely make sure I do when I get into the league."

Asked whether he has felt rushed by the process, Drummond focused on his game, not the whirlwind of the last year.

"Not really," he said. "I just take things a day at time. I don't really try to go too fast."

By bringing Drummond in to work out, the Wizards aren't taking chances, knowing that possession of the third pick could lead to any number of permutations on draft night. But fresh off ending a three-and-a-half year experiment trying to develop JaVale McGee -- not to mention the seven-year Andray Blatche trial, which seems likely to end this summer -- the Wizards likely will be wary of how adding Drummond would lengthen their own rebuilding timeline.

cstouffer@washingtonexaminer.com

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