Can Quick Myck Kabongo Be Like Tony Parker?
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HOOPSWORLD talks to Myck Kabongo about his draft stock and more at the 2013 NBA Draft Combine.Watch More Video Here
Canadian Myck Kabongo is the seemingly typical 6’2 180 lb college point guard. Small, quick and likely destined to be a second round draft pick despite his skill level. Expectations were very high for Kabongo in college and this sophomore had a lot to prove if he wanted to be considered a possible first round pick in this year’s NBA draft.
Unfortunately, Kabongo got off to a rough start in his second season with the Texas Longhorns. The NCAA suspended him for 23 games after they found out someone had paid for his airfare to visit fellow Canadian Tristan Thompson and trainer Jerry Powell last spring. However, in the 11 games he did play, Kabongo showed that he had taken another big step forward in his development.
“You can see the difference between this year and last year,” Kabongo said. “There is a synergy. You can see what players have done and between their freshman year and how they adjust in their sophomore year. I am just going to continue to get better. That’s the difference. The tape don’t lie. That’s the saying [Longhorns head] coach [Rick] Barnes always told me. The tape don’t lie and the tape don’t lie that from my freshman year to my sophomore year I got a lot better.”
Kabongo dramatically improved on his scoring, rebounding and steals while maintaining his level of assists from his rookie season. A pass-first point guard coming into college, Kabongo showed that there is more to his game than just playmaking. He averaged 14.6 points on 41.8 percent shooting and got to the free throw line an average of seven times per game. Advanced statistics from Sports-Reference.com showed an impressive player efficiency rating of over 20 and a true shooting percentage of 54.9, Kabongo had a very good season.
This very quick guard is showing the potential of the NBA point guards he likes to watch, someone who can score and create for others.
“You can never compare yourself, but I enjoy watching Tony Parker,” Kabongo said. “Someone who is very quick and goes wherever he wants to, whenever he wants to. Michael Conley, Rubio and also Rondo are guys who are quick and can think a play ahead of the play. Guys like that, I enjoy watching.”
The comparison to Parker didn’t come out of the blue. In 2001, the San Antonio Spurs took Parker with the last pick of the first round and the goal for Kabongo at the 2013 NBA Draft Combine and the workouts to follow is to convince an NBA team that he is worthy as well. After missing so many games during the college season, Kabongo knows this is his opportunity to convince teams he has the work ethic and potential to warrant the guaranteed contract of a first round draft pick.
“You just have to work,” Kabongo said. “All you can do is compete and work, everything else will take care of itself. I am not going to say anything like that [jumping into the first round]. All I know is I am coming into these workouts, working hard and being myself and let’s see where it lands me. That’s all you can do. Show them that I am going to continue to get better. I have so much potential and I have yet to hit my ceiling, far from it. Show that I have the potential to be a great player hopefully one day in this league if I continue to work hard and that is what I am going to do. I give it my all and let’s see where it gets me.”
At the Combine, however, the most important tests are the ones done off the court. Teams want to get a sense of these potential rookies’ personality, interests and drive. A player’s fit on a team can matter as much as what they can do. Kabongo is trying to send a clear message. He wants to join a winning organization and learn from veterans.
“All it is when you get to meet with these teams is they want to get to know you as a person.” Kabongo said. “I think they got to know me a little better. They talked to me. That is all you can go into these interviews just being yourself and I think I was that.
“I just want to continue to improve and be part of a winning organization. Wherever I go, I want to learn from winners, learn from pros and veterans and adjust to the league so I can be part of a winning organization and be a solid true point guard.”
Since teams at the back end of the draft have typically just come off successful seasons with solid rosters and numerous veterans, Kabongo’s message is targeted to the right crowd.
It was unfortunate that Kabongo missed over two-thirds of his sophomore season in Texas. The absence hurt his prospects and the young point guard has his work cut out for him between now and the draft. However, if Kabongo can perform well in interviews and workouts, the first round of the NBA Draft isn’t out of reach and that limited sophomore college sample may have shown just enough for a team to take a chance on him.