Tuesday, June 29, 1999

After hearing rave reviews, Posey will now listen for name


Former XU star to attend draft

BY MICHAEL PERRY
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Posey
Lenny Brown and former teammate James Posey (right) are both NBA draft prospects, but Brown's best bet may be as a free agent.
(Saed Hindash photo)
| ZOOM |
        He will be nervous, saying a little prayer each time the commissioner steps to the podium to announce a selection.

        James Posey is expected to be a first-round pick in Wednesday night's NBA draft, projected most often to be chosen between Nos. 11 and 20. He isn't worried about what position he'll be picked, or by which team. The former Xavier standout just wants to hear his name called.

        “I wish I could go in with the attitude that I'm going to get picked,” Posey said Monday. “But I know things could happen. I've done everything I needed to do; the ball's in their court now.”

        Posey will be right there, too, in attendance at the MCI Center in Washington, D.C. He found out Friday he was invited to attend the draft and will be the first XU player to do so, along with family members and coach Skip Prosser. Brian Grant, the last Musketeer to get picked in the first round, was invited in 1994 but declined.

        NBA scouts saw Posey play at Xavier for three years. The past few months, they've gotten to know him as a person, too.

        “Thirteen job interviews,” Posey said. “And one still to go.”

        Posey has worked out for Chicago (Nos.1, 16 picks), Vancouver (2), Minnesota (6, 14), Cleveland, (8, 11), Phoenix (9), Seattle (13), New York (15), Atlanta (17, 20, 21, 27), Denver (18), Houston (22), Los Angeles Lakers (23), Indiana (26), Sacramento (no first-round pick) and will be in Philadelphia (no first-round pick) today.

        “It's been fun,” he said. “I've been trying to take advantage of each one of them, just making sure I come ready to work every day. That was important. The travel was a little bit tiring, because I was in and out of a different city like every other day. But I got to meet the coaches and the GMs and travel to some cities I've never been to.”

        “There are a number of teams that are really excited about him,” said Mark Bartelstein, Posey's agent. “I think the whole league is excited about him. That's the whole idea. What you're trying to do in all these visits is create a groundswell that James Posey's something special, and I think he's done that.”

        For starters, Posey has worked out steadily since Xavier's season ended and shown up to all workouts in good shape. NBA scouts like his professional approach to the game, the unselfish attitude he displayed throughout his XU career and his ability and desire to play defense.

        What they find out about Posey the person is he is polite, respectful and coachable. He has worked hard on his perceived weaknesses: ball-handling, outside shooting and strength.

        “We've had in over 40 guys to work out and do our testing,” Atlanta director of scouting Gary Wortman said. “He probably approaches it as seriously and competitively as any of the guys we've had in. He just knows how to work, how to compete, how to be serious on the basketball court, and those are all things we were looking for.

        “We had him rated and projected pretty high before he came in, and we still have him rated pretty high.”

        Said Bartelstein: “He's done so well that it wouldn't shock me if someone traded up to get him.”

        Impending trades, which are almost sure to happen, make it difficult to forecast where Posey might be selected.

        The Enquirer has predicted Posey will go to Seattle, with the No.13 pick. ESPN The Magazine has him going to Denver at No.18. Chris Monter, who produces Monter Draft News, predicts Chicago at No.16. The Knicks (15) like Posey but may go first for a point guard or center.

        “I think he's going to go in the lottery (top 13), but to be safe I'll say the top 20. I think he's going to be a much better scorer than people think he is,” Knicks director of scouting services Dick McGuire said.

        “We love his athletic ability,” Phoenix assistant coach Frank Johnson said. “He runs like a deer. That's good. We play an up-tempo game with Jason Kidd in the middle. Jason always loves to have runners. Posey's one of those guys who can certainly keep up with him. No question we'll look at him.”

       



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