The 2009 NBA Draft will unfold Thursday evening at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Once the final selection is made in the 2nd Round, the lives of 60 young men will be changed forever. Some will stick in the league; some won’t. Some players will get passed over altogether and go on to make a name for themselves in the Association someday. All are hoping though to have that moment when their dreams are realized and they’ve made it to the pinnacle of organized basketball. One such player is former Pittsburgh Panthers power forward Dejuan Blair. The 6′6″ 1/2 bruiser is expected to go somewhere in the mid-teens of the 1st Round. Perhaps he’ll go even higher, but it’s not entirely likely considering he’s a bit short to play the 4 but not quite skilled nor quick enough to play the 3. Furthermore, there are concerns about Blair’s knees and how they might hold up over the course of a grinding 82 game season. There may be some red flags with Blair but he does enough little things well and never takes a night off. To me, that means some team will likely end up happy they acquired the spirited and competitive Blair in the 2009 NBA Draft. Blair joined KTAR in Phoenix to talk about the upcoming draft.
On his knees and why he thinks it should be a non-factor in his draft status:
“My knee issue, it isn’t nothing because like I’ve been saying, I got Player of the Year in high school three years in a row after my knee issue; and I got Rookie of the Year [in the Big East] on these knees; and I got Player of the Year on these knees, All-American, a Big East Championship and we got to the Elite 8 and I’ve been fine. So if you’re worried about my knees [chuckle], then I don’t know what to say…”
On the passion and heart that he plays with each and every night and how that will benefit him at the next level:
“I think heart is a big thing in the NBA because there’s a lot more players that are bigger than you and some are better than you. You just got to have the heart to go and compete out there every day. So I think I got that and I try to think there’s not anyone out there better than me and I accept every challenge every night. I’m going to take that to the NBA and hopefully I’ll be fine.”