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View Full Version : I met BJ Mullens tonight



docpaul
06-11-2009, 12:49 AM
Many of you all have seem to have brushes with Pacers players, or just NBA players in general, and have been kind enough to post about it here. I always like reading those posts. Well, I happened to have had an opportunity myself tonight, and I thought you all might be interested in hearing about it.

I was in Manhattan for work today, and once I got to LaGuardia, spent a good bit of time ignoring my surroundings as I was talking to my wife on the cell phone. By the time I got off the phone, I was sitting in the transit bus taking us all to our plane. I look directly to the right of me, and I see these two massive femurs, and then I realize that I'm sitting next to one tall *******.

I happen to catch him look at his boarding pass, and I saw "Mullens" written on it, and realized I was sitting next to BJ Mullens. Turns out he's trying out for us tomorrow. We get off the bus, and start making our way to the plane. I was fortunate to be seated up on row 1, but his original seat was in the back of the regional jet (which some of you might know is really small and cramped). I call over to the flight attendant, noticing that the two seats on the opposite side of the row are empty, and coerce her to offer the seats to Mullens. Turns out that he took her up on the offer. I couldn't help but introduce myself by asking him whether he played ball for Ohio State. That turned into a pretty long discussion for a large portion of the flight. The flight ended at around 10:30pm, which doesn't seem like a great setup for a good night's sleep before a tryout. :) Given the amount of stuff we talked about, it's hard to recount all of the conversation, but here are some of the highlights:

He was surprisingly unengaged in the tryout / practice process: he mentioned how he just wrapped up a tryout with the Knicks today, and was in Detroit prior to that, but he couldn't recall who he practiced with, nor did he know who he was set to practice with tomorrow. He did know however, that he had 7 more cities to visit in the next seven days... pretty grueling, eh? Additionally, he didn't know who played at the 5 for the Pacers. When I mentioned Hibbert, Nesterovic, and Foster, he was familiar with Hibbert specifically, but didn't realize he came to the Pacers. "I haven't heard much about what happened to him, has he been any good?" That struck me as odd. My guess is that they would take the time to study the teams beforehand.

He grew up a big fan of Ohio State basketball, but really didn't follow the NBA very much. "I pretty much committed to Ohio State in the eighth grade" was a funny quote. He didn't have a dream place to play basketball for, and said he's only really followed the Cavaliers since Lebron James was brought in. He has a relationship with Greg Oden, thinks he's a hilarious guy to be around. Mentioned that Oden is at Ohio State now trying to work towards his degree. Personally seemed less driven to finish his own degree, but said "what else are you going to do over the summer?" Talked a lot about how most ball players in the public eye are limited in what they do with their spare time... which wasn't what I would have expected him to say. Also struck me funny that getting a degree was his way potentially of passing free time... :)

Didn't strike me as the sharpest knife in the drawer, but someone you could hold a good conversation with. To me he seemed aloof and laid back, and not very driven, but a good guy to hang out with... a good ole midwestern boy.

Felt pretty resolute about deciding to enter into the draft: "definitely happy I'm going to play in the NBA". Seemed confident that he was going to be drafted first round. Mentioned a few times how tired he's getting of the traveling.

His favorite team he's tried out for so far was the Pistons, felt as if there might be a place in their plans for him.

When I asked him about players he'd like to emulate, he didn't have a concrete answer. He seemed to like McDyess a lot, and when I mentioned Kaman (only person that came to mind at the time), he agreed that he shared some similarities. He basically skated the question by saying there were lots of players that had features he'd like to emulate. :)

Has been to Indy many times before and likes the city.

I'm an above average height guy (6'4"), but he made me feel tiny. 7'0" up close is impressive. He's lean and not very bulky... not fantastic definition, but solid... I'd guess he's a good 240-50.

If he ended up emulating Kaman, and lived up to his potential of being a good post defender with above average offensive skills, he'd be worth a late first round pick for us. Not sure how he'd fit with Hibbert, but if we traded Foster around draft time, they might consider him a project @ the 5.

After meeting him tonight, that wouldn't disappoint me all that much, but my vision for a Hibbert complement would be someone more driven, angry, mean... a banger. His personality didn't seem to fit that mold. He's not an imposing presence.

Hope someone found this interesting... :)

PR07
06-11-2009, 01:48 AM
That's pretty cool. It's funny that one of the scouts biggest gripes on Mullens is how passionate he is for the game of basketball, and based on your convo, it doesn't seem like he really is. I mean I'm sure he's busy with school and workouts, but you'd think he'd at least be aware of where he's working out and who he's working out against...and maybe a few things here and there on the NBA. I think he can be a good player in this league, I just hope it's not for us.

Jonathan
06-11-2009, 09:04 AM
Mullens would not be terrible pick if we trade back into the draft and Eric Maynor, Sam Young, Austin Daye, and Tyler Hansborough are all gone.

DrFife
06-11-2009, 09:19 AM
Beautiful, DP, many thanks! Your story is entertaining, insightful and eminently credible.

As the draft nears, I find myself taking a step back from the skills/measurements/team needs details and reviewing each prospect with a summative evaluation. The triplet of fuzzy questions I ask myself are a) Does he get it? b) Does he want it? and c) Can he do it? I believe that part of the Pacers' identity lies in placing particular emphasis on the first two. Mullens, IMO, only scores high on the third, but his draft-night wait won't be long. Methinks 14-18, and in a perfect world, he'll be the key to a beneficial trade-down for us. (Good idea to have invited him in, then, eh?)

idioteque
06-11-2009, 09:25 AM
Interesting conversation, Mullens seems like a nice guy, but at the same time this reminds of why I'm not wild about him at all. This is a weak draft and mid first rounders will be relatively easy to get, I think, at least compared to most years. If we were to get the guy we are targeting (pretty sure it is not Mullens) and get a another first for very little, and we were to draft this guy and stash him away for a couple of years, that would be fine.

I have questions about Hibbert's stamina and think we need a sort of "complementary" center for him.

count55
06-11-2009, 09:28 AM
I have questions about Hibbert's stamina and think we need a sort of "complementary" center for him.

This is one of the reasons that I tend to think that the "perfect fit" for this Pacer team would be closer to Antonio than Dale.

duke dynamite
06-11-2009, 09:29 AM
Cool beans...thanks for sharing!

Trader Joe
06-11-2009, 10:07 AM
I get the feeling that a lot of college guys don't follow the NBA at all.

pacergod2
06-11-2009, 10:21 AM
That is VERY kool. I know that a lot of college guys are so busy playing basketball themselves and going to school etc, that they don't have a ton of time to catch up on the NBA. They probably have a working knowledge of the players and teams, but aren't like us. :D

Also, I would find it particularly bad for a guy coming in as a rookie to say anything at all about NBA players. A. because they could very well be his teammates in a couple of weeks and B. that they are already are established in the NBA and he isn't. He has probably been told by his agent to never say anything about other players (at least up to this point in the process).

travmil
06-11-2009, 10:58 AM
I get the feeling that a lot of college guys don't follow the NBA at all.

My older brother played for Bradley in the 80's during the Bird/Magic era. Between classes, practices, games, and traveling, he barely had time to eat and use the bathroom, let alone follow the NBA.

Dr. Awesome
06-11-2009, 11:09 AM
Good story man.

I was actually on a plane with Mike Dunleavy once. Of course, at the time he was still on the Warriors and I hated him because he went to Duke. I wasn't sitting next to him or anything, so I didn't strike up a conversation, but its funny to me looking back.

I also went to high school with Stephen Curry for a year, but he was on varsity while I was on JV. I scrimmaged against him and Jeremy Thompson though(now on the Packers).

Smoothdave1
06-11-2009, 11:36 AM
Cool story! Thanks for sharing.

I always enjoy hearing about encounters with Pacers and NBA players. Most are nice guys and very approachable.

As far as the draft and workout process, I am sure that it can be very tiring. A lot of these guys will vist maybe a dozen cities in the span of 2 weeks and many times do not even realize what city they are in when they wake up.

Imagine if your schedule was:

Wake up at hotel and catch a ride to Arena to work out for said NBA team for a few hours. Take a shower, catch a ride to the airport and fly a few hours to next city, check into hotel and do it all over again the next day for a few weeks. It would get old real quick.

Jose Slaughter
06-11-2009, 12:30 PM
Thanks for the strory but I came away with the impression that he just doesn't have an overwhelming drive to play ball. Some guys just play cause they're tall, I feel that Mullens might be one of those guys.

I'd rather have a guy that lives & breathes hoops.

docpaul
06-12-2009, 02:34 PM
Thanks for the strory but I came away with the impression that he just doesn't have an overwhelming drive to play ball. Some guys just play cause they're tall, I feel that Mullens might be one of those guys.

I'd rather have a guy that lives & breathes hoops.

I think you might have it right there... just doesn't seem like you are living and breathing basketball, if you're a casual fan of your local NBA team (started following the Cavs after LeBron came to town), and don't have a sense of what players are on what teams.

He clearly was passionate about Ohio State basketball, but that was where it began and end. He lit up the most when we talked about "getting paid"... :) "Man, Ariza's going to get paid this offseason", etc etc.

docpaul
06-12-2009, 02:37 PM
Other little interesting tidbit that I just remembered: the Pacers seem to put their players up at the Embassy Suites downtown... as that's where he was going. He showed me their itinerary, and it was pretty straightforward: breakfast at 8:30, practice at 9:00, and interviews etc afterward.

There wasn't any time for him to meet up with current team players (he mentioned that he hadn't met any at any of his previous stops), and no time to really check out the city. To the hotel, to the gym, and back to the airport. :)

PR07
06-12-2009, 02:39 PM
Does Mullens enjoy playing basketball? Or does he just play because he's big and pretty good at it?

Peck
06-12-2009, 03:54 PM
Thanks for the strory but I came away with the impression that he just doesn't have an overwhelming drive to play ball. Some guys just play cause they're tall, I feel that Mullens might be one of those guys.

I'd rather have a guy that lives & breathes hoops.

Exactly the same feeling I got when reading this.

BTW, thanks to DocPaul for shaing this story.

count55
06-12-2009, 04:00 PM
Thanks for the strory but I came away with the impression that he just doesn't have an overwhelming drive to play ball. Some guys just play cause they're tall, I feel that Mullens might be one of those guys.

I'd rather have a guy that lives & breathes hoops.


Exactly the same feeling I got when reading this.

BTW, thanks to DocPaul for shaing this story.

I got the feeling that the guy was a 7-footer stuck on a regional jet wallowing in the doldrums of a grueling process that still has multiple flights and three weeks of people poking, prodding, questioning, and criticizing him.

Take a wander through some evening commuter flight sometime, and you'll see some highly successful, driven people looking very apathetic and uninspired.

Trophy
06-12-2009, 04:53 PM
Nice!

docpaul
06-20-2009, 01:40 PM
His favorite team he's tried out for so far was the Pistons, felt as if there might be a place in their plans for him.

When I asked him about players he'd like to emulate, he didn't have a concrete answer. He seemed to like McDyess a lot, and when I mentioned Kaman (only person that came to mind at the time), he agreed that he shared some similarities. He basically skated the question by saying there were lots of players that had features he'd like to emulate. :)


Looks like there might be something to this:

http://www.nbadraft.net/node/7444


Two different sources have indicated to NBADraft.net on Friday that the Pistons have a promise in place to take BJ Mullens if he's available to the them at 15.

Mullens works well with the rebuilding Pistons as he's a player with significant upside but will take time to become a contributor. With the Pistons in the process of rebuilding their squad, Mullens offers them a potential center for the future.

Based on how he spoke about Detroit, I'd bet this happens.

Naptown_Seth
06-20-2009, 02:24 PM
Frankly that conversation sounds just about how I've read him from other interviews, and that's not a good thing. Seems a lot more like a guy just doing this because it's the next thing you do. I really, really want the Pacers to avoid him.

Remember all the MANY busts and guys that seemingly lack motivation. How many of them went to interviews and said "F this league, draft me or don't, I could give an F about you".

The answer is none. They all say roughly the same positive things, but that doesn't stop them from flopping. To me Mullens is a guy that has had basketball success handed to him by his physical gifts and isn't that interested in it otherwise.


He's also a kid, like Jrue, so I can cut him some slack there. Still not every freshman carries the same overall mentality to the process.



OTOH I think we do overlook just how taxing these workout tours can be on guys. Each day a new no-name assistant (or less) telling you to do this and do that. It's not like they are having Bird, Riley and Jackson tell them how to play and it's not like these are coaches whom they've come to respect over time.

I mean I remember how much I respected my manager at Hardees when I was a kid. Then I quit that job because they wouldn't give me the night off for the Aerosmith concert. ;) :D



Take a wander through some evening commuter flight sometime, and you'll see some highly successful, driven people looking very apathetic and uninspired.Sure, but at the same time I had to fly in for an interview right out of college and I was bouncing off the walls with excitement because that was the goal I'd been driving for. The tour's are tough, but if that's your dream and it's finally coming true then I'd assume you might also have a bit of adrenaline going.

OTOH if you think this is just the boring process and "whatever, when do I get my signing bonus" then you probably will be disheartened and bored.

Sorry that I'm taking both sides a bit. But ultimately I'm with Peck and Jose. Okay you are sluggish at times and getting burned out, but this is a few weeks of the most important point in your life. However well they've been treated before this, now they are getting the super-deluxe royal treatment. More people care about them and have interest in them than at any point in their life.

Strange guys on planes help them get a better seat and then talk to them for an entire flight. Or does DocPaul do that for everyone? ;)

The celebrity is too new (the NBA level of celebrity) for it to be boring yet. Exhausting sure, but also exciting.

Kstat
06-20-2009, 02:36 PM
I can't say I'd be thrilled with mullins at #15, but given the lack of quality prospects in this draft, I can't say it would be terrible either.

Thank you for the post. It as very informative.