PALMER CHASING NBA DRAFT DREAMS
With just a week until next Thursday's NBA Draft, Kevin Palmer is busy finishing up a frantic spring schedule that has included working out for no less than six NBA teams and competing in the Portsmouth Invitational in hopes of his name being one of the 60 called by NBA Commissioner David Stern.
Palmer, who was in Atlanta working out for the Hawks on Friday, has worked out for NBA teams coast-to-coast. The Islander leading scorer the past two seasons at just under 20 points a game has worked out for the Detroit Pistons, Houston Rockets, Charlotte Bobcats, Washington Wizards and the NBA Champion Los Angeles Lakers. He was also named to the all-tournament team at the Portsmouth Invitational.
"It has been a lot of hard work," said Palmer, who finished his Islander career in March earning first-team All-Southland Conference and NABC All-District 23 honors for the second-straight year. "I've done a lot of traveling visiting different teams. It has given me the opportunity to experience different things besides getting to be seen. While it has been a lot of work, I have enjoyed it."
Palmer has been taking the constructive criticism he has heard to heart from coaches and scouts. A native of Baltimore, he has spent the spring working out with other draft hopefuls in the Baltimore-Washington D.C. area such as Ricky Harris of Massachusetts and Devin Sweetney of St. Francis (Pa.) with trainer Joe Connelly. The time in the gym has been spent trying to improve different facets of his game.
"I have been working on getting stronger and holding the release of my shot longer," said Palmer, whose gym workouts last up to three hours. "Teams have also wanted me to work on my quickness. We have tailored our personal workouts to what the NBA workouts are like so we aren't blindsided."
He feels he has improved in those areas and others as well thanks to everyday practices.
"I do think I have been able to get stronger since the season ended," said Palmer. "My shot has also improved and my ball-handling is much better. When you work on your game on an everyday basis like we have been doing you can't help to get better."
As the draft day approaches, Palmer is getting anxious.
"I am nervous just wondering what is going to happen," said Palmer, who is ranked amongst the top five Division I small-school players in this year's draft by The Draft Review Website. "My dream has always been to get drafted, but if I am not drafted it won't be the end of the world.
"If I am not drafted, I am going to keep trying to get on a team as free agent. If not, I will go to the NBDL or I will go overseas - whichever will get me to the NBA quicker is the route I will go."