The final goal is a spot on an NBA roster. To get there, though, college basketball's best spend the months between the end of the NCAA season and the NBA Draft working on everything a organization will analyze from on-court skill to physical conditioning to how they interview. The IMG Academy basketball program has successfully prepared prospects for the NBA Draft combine, private workouts and NBA career for years, including names like Kobe Bryant, Chauncey Billups, Tayshaun Prince, Jrue Holiday, DeJuan Blair and many others.
Iman Shumpert's decision to leave Georgia Tech and declare for the NBA Draft has been debated and discussed by many. That's just fine with him, because he doesn't pay attention to it anyway. As the 6-5 guard prepares for the Draft, he recently answered some questions on his defining Georgia Tech moment, his love of music and how he would defend the NBA's best.
Iman Shumpert on...
...his 22-point, 12-rebound, 11-assist, 7-steal performance (including holding Malcolm Delaney to 8 points and 8 turnovers) against Virginia Tech: Before the game, my assistant coach said, âYou have to show them the way and dominate both sides of the ball.' The Coliseum had a little different feeling that day. Malcolm, who I know, was talking noise the night before saying he was going to get 40. At one point the crowd started going crazy, and my coach told me the triple-double means nothing if we don't win. I had no idea I even had it. Malcolm and I were jawing back and forth, but it got quiet at the end. I love watching that tape.
My brother used to tell me all the time, âYou have to leave your mark at Georgia Tech.' I think I did it with that game.
...his critics: I don't read any of it, but my father is all over the Internet. He tells me the worst, just to get me mad. I couldn't even tell you how to get to a mock draft. I'm not into all of that. I'm my own worst critic. I take the evaluations of my game from the people I work with and try to improve everything I can.
I feel like the main thing I have to work on is shooting more consistently and improving my range. I feel like with this decision, I can focus my whole time on developing those aspects and playing against better competition. That can only help me.
...how he would defend Derrick Rose: I wouldn't back off of him. I'd pressure him. I'd make him make decisions and try to wear him down. He's way too good to give him a full head of steam. If you let him get comfortable, he's going to kill you. If he's going to kill me, he's going to do it while I'm going hard at him.
...how he would defend Kevin Durant: He's a handful because he's such a matchup problem, but I'd make him count by twos. With Durant, he'll start going to the basket, but he wants to do step-backs. I don't think he wants to score 30-40 in the paint. I think he wants to get 15 in the paint, 10 from mid-range and 15 from three. If he's going to get 30, make him get it how you want him to get it.
...growing up with four brothers: In our house, one of the brothers would excel in something and it usually became a competition. The youngest, Kasani, can play anything. He played basketball, baseball, football, soccer. He'll even win when you play the claw game at the arcade. I play basketball. Ahrii does art and cuts everyone's hair. My oldest brother, Odis, is in films. He calls himself âblack Spielberg.'
Everyone does their own thing, but basketball is the toughest to conquer in the house. My dad was supposed to play at Loyola. It became all-out wars in the backyard for who would become the best at basketball. I'm glad I conquered that one. I've never actually beat my father, because he stopped while he was still ahead.
...his musical talent: When I first started, I only wanted to rap. But a teacher in high school made me write a poem that didn't have any rhymes. Then he made me do poems with different rhyme schemes. I work on it all the time. After practice, I'll write lyrics in my phone. All my coaches have encouraged me to keep writing. I also started taking a music engineering class. I just like being creative.
...his perfect song: I'm getting my beat from Kanye. My dream collaboration would be with Jay-Z. I can't do a song with B.I.G., but I'd love to take one of his verses that nobody's heard, add my own verse and say we made a song. They tell stories. I love that.
...training at IMG: Everyone here wants to help. Every day we work out, we hear a different voice. With us having to go into these workouts and maybe seeing five different coaches, then going to three different cities, it helps us get to used to it. I feel like this place has already helped me tremendously and I've only been here a few weeks.