Florida's Speights to skip NBA predraft camp
Center Marreese Speights has decided to decline an offer to participate in this week's Orlando predraft camp, opting to focus on the individual workouts he has scheduled with several teams in early June.
"Marreese is going to take this week to prepare for the individual workouts and get his body healthy, in shape and ready to go into the individual workouts as soon as camp is concluded,'' said Matt Ramker, his advisor and former AAU coach.
Speights (left in photo) declared for the draft on April 8, but has not signed with an agent. Since then, he has been wroking out in preparation for his NBA team workouts. Under NBA rules, which went into effect this season, teams cannot conduct individual workouts until after the predraft camp.
Florida coach Billy Donovan said last week the rule hampers players like Speights, who has been projected anywhere from a Top 10 pick to a late first or early second round pick.
"You've got a point where we finished playing our season over six weeks ago, and there's just no new information,'' Donovan said. "That's the unfortunate part for a lot of these kids.''
Ramker said Speights, who remains academically eligible to return to Florida, and Donovan are expected to meet in mid-June to make a final decision on whether Speights will return to school. The deadline is June 16.
Speights, who averaged 14.5 points and 8.1 rebounds, currently weighs 240 pounds and has about seven percent body fat, Ramker said.
In his individual workouts, Speights hopes to dispel his image as a player who lacks endurance.
"I think the biggest thing Marreese is going to need to to show teams as he works out is a level of endurance and stamina,'' Ramker said. "That's something that has been a negative on him. A lot of it was because he didn't have himself in shape during the season and it cost him playing time.
"Pushing him beyond the brink of exhaustion has been a focal point of preparation,'' Ramker added. "The majority of teams that have seen him play know he's a talented and skillful offensive player. They want to see if he can sustain through a 1 or 1 1/2 hour workout. These workouts are not rah, rah, we're clapping for you, we're happy for you. They are trying to make you quit. They want to see what they are working with.''
[Brian Cassella, Times files]