CHICAGO - With the 76ers possibly looking to choose a point guard in this month's draft, several candidates expressed their interest in the job at the NBA Draft Combine last week. Here's what they said:
* Ty Lawson, North Carolina - "It fits me real well, because there are real athletic wings on the side, so going there would be the best situation for me."
* Jonny Flynn, Syracuse - "I talked to the 76ers the first day I got here and I think it went pretty well. An up-and-coming team that in the playoffs really scared the Orlando Magic, so that's a good situation, a good place to go.
"I think I would fit well. You've got Andre Miller in there so the first year you would learn from a veteran guy like that. So I have no problem coming off the bench and being a sponge and soaking up everything. Just be ready to play and spare him and go in and be a valuable asset to that team."
* Jrue Holiday, UCLA - "I think it went well. I really like the guys. I'm going out there to visit and try out for the team and I think I'll do well.
"They have a lot of athletes. They like to get up and run, get up and down the floor just like I do. I like pushing the ball. They have a really great point guard in Andre Miller and I could play behind him. He's a really smart player and he's been in the league a long time and I think he'd be a good guy to learn from."
* Jeff Teague, Wake Forest - "I had an interview with them. It went real well. They made me relaxed. I enjoyed talking to them, being around them. They're good people. They have an athletic, up-and-down team, that's the kind of game I like to play.
"I feel I can adjust my game to fit any style. I'm an up-and-down type of guy. In college we played an up-and-down style so any team that likes to get out and run, I feel that would be my style, but I'm willing to adjust."
Sam Young, the fourth-leading scorer in Pittsburgh history, was hesitant when it came time for his vertical leap test last week. Just 3 weeks ago, Young was injured on the same test during a workout in Toronto.
"I jumped and smacked the flaps, I came down and the knob from the [vertical leap] pole went in my arm," Young said. "I felt it pinched me or scratched me. When they turned it [the pole] sideways, the knob twisted in my arm and made it a little more difficult to get it out."
Young said the maintenance department was called to bring out a chain saw, which was used to shorten the pole so that Young could get into an ambulance with the knob still stuck in his upper left arm.
"The pole was rattling, the knob was rattling in my arm, it was crazy," Young said. "The ambulance driver had to go over speed bumps to get out of the facility. [At the hospital] they drugged me up, I couldn't feel it and [the doctor] took the thing out of my arm. It took about an hour. It was 3 millimeters away from a blood vessel and another millimeter away from a nerve."
Because of the injury, Young could not perform the bench-press test, but he gave the vertical leap another go.
"I had a phobia and probably didn't do as well as I should have," Young said. "I was just trying to get it over with."
Temple guard Dionte Christmas witnessed Young's mishap.
"That was pretty crazy," Christmas said. "He's a tough guy. I can see that just from seeing him out on the court, but after that, he's definitely got my respect."
Thabeet gets his kicks
Connecticut center Hasheem Thabeet grew up playing soccer in his native Tanzania, so it's no surprise that he still likes to kick the ball around.
"I used to practice with the UConn soccer team," he said. "When I'm free I like to go out there and have fun. Even in [basketball] practice I'm tempted to kick the ball, and the coaches tell me this is basketball."
Thabeet is projected to be a top-three pick in the draft. He was asked if he'd rather play in the World Cup or NBA Finals.
"I'd say NBA Finals," Thabeet said after pausing briefly to think about it.
Syracuse point guard Jonny Flynn tells critics to wait and see before declaring this year's draft as weak.
"When people say it's a weak draft, I don't see how you can tell it's a weak draft until you see guys play in the NBA," he said. "Everything is off of potential right now, but until you get into game situations in the NBA, that's when you can find out how good a draft class it was." *