LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Not long ago, Pat Calathes was a lanky backup point guard getting pushed around at St. Joseph's by players nearly a foot shorter than him.
Skinny has always been his curse. But Calathes worked around it and excelled anyway.
This week, Calathes is one of 64 NBA hopefuls trying to improve their stock at the NBA's predraft camp near Orlando. Adding muscle to his wiry frame, the 6-foot-10, 210-pound Calathes is drawing attention from NBA teams and could be one of the 60 players taken in next month's draft.
"Coach [Phil] Martelli had me playing backup point guard" as he began his college career, Calathes said. "I was probably a buck-75 coming into school. Six-one, 6-foot guys were ribbing me."
Instead of gaining a lot of weight and playing inside, Calathes gained a little bit and stayed outside at the guard position.
He averaged 17.5 points per game and made 44.8 percent of his shots in his senior season, when he led the Hawks in points, rebounds, blocks, three-pointers and free-throw percentage.
"I think he got a lot better from his freshman year," former Temple guard Mark Tyndale said. "He was very weak coming in, but he's gotten a lot stronger."
Although Calathes is still too thin to be a post player, his jump shot and perimeter skills make him marketable as an NBA player, as do his passing and ballhandling abilities.
As soon as he graduated, Calathes moved to the IMG Academy training center in Bradenton, Fla. He went on a strict diet and workout plan. Calathes gets one day off a week and said the workouts have improved every aspect of his game.
He's faster. His vertical is higher. He has learned a lot about the game.
He also eats four high-protein meals a day, plus protein shakes and a snack before bed. Within five days of being at IMG, Calathes gained six pounds.
"I feel stronger," he said.
Tyndale has a bit of experience playing against Calathes, and yesterday, the two matched up against each other in the day's first game.
Playing 20 minutes, Calathes scored 10 points with four defensive rebounds, two assists and one turnover. Tyndale picked up six points, four rebounds, and five assists in 20 minutes.
Tyndale said he liked playing with Calathes more than against him.
"You can see he's got a really good feel for the game," Suns general manager Steve Kerr said of Calathes. "Just an all-around player, knocks down open shots. . . . I think he is a three man [small forward]; he's a guy who moves well on the perimeter."
Calathes will work out for the Suns in Phoenix, then move on for workouts in Sacramento and Chicago. He has 13 workouts scheduled.
"A couple teams are pretty excited about getting me down to their workouts," Calathes said. "Either way, it's going to be a great opportunity."
Tyndale said he planned to work out for 10 teams, including Orlando and the Los Angeles Lakers.