NBA Education is Andre Drummond’s Main Priority
After being selected with the ninth overall pick in the 2012 NBA draft, Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond is getting a crash course in NBA basketball this summer. At just 18 years old, Drummond is viewed as an athletic but raw center that will need some seasoning before being able to produce at the NBA level.
Less than a week into Summer League play, Drummond has proven to be a project, but has also displayed the size and athletic ability that made him a top-10 pick. At nearly 7-feet tall, Drummond’s combo of height and skill makes him one of the most highly anticipated players of the 2012 draft. Even though Pistons’ coaches have been busy focusing on the fundamentals with Drummond, the former Connecticut Huskies’ big man believes he’s on the right track with his “new family” with Detroit.
“This has been great,” Drummond told HOOPSWORLD. “Just being out here with Detroit and being out here with my new family, my new brothers and my new home. I’m just learning a whole lot every single day. I’ve learned things I’ve never heard of my entire life within three days of being with Detroit. It’s just been a great learning process for me. Just being on the floor with the guys and soaking up everything that’s been told to me – it’s just been great.”
Being coachable early on his career could be one of Drummond’s greatest strengths. The new terminology at the NBA hasn’t been lost on Drummond and that could pay dividends early on in his career.
Early on this summer, some veterans on the Pistons came out and practiced with the team’s new additions. Drummond feels this extra practice time and one-on-one tutelage has been pivotal in incorporating him into this Pistons’ team.
“It was fun seeing Charlie Villanueva there,” Drummond said. “Greg Monroe… [Jason] Maxiell came; Chris Douglas-Roberts came so it’s just been great. They kind of showed us that it’s not easy. What we’re walking into is a whole different ballgame than what we do in college.
“That kind of gave me a rude awakening, now knowing what I’m about to get into over the next few weeks.”
That “rude awakening” is to be expected for a teenager embarking on his first voyage with an NBA squad. Coaches for the Pistons have stressed to Drummond that this summer is a learning opportunity for the young center and have told him not to get too down on himself for mistakes along the way.
“Just keep running the floor well, play hard,” Drummond told HOOPSWORLD of his coaches’ expectations. “Rebound the ball, block shots. Scoring will come to me so [coaches just preach] not to get down on myself if I miss shots or whatever because it will come to me.”
While both Villanueva and Monroe are already in the frontcourt rotation for Detroit, Drummond believes his skill set translates with either of the two players on the floor.
“We complement each other pretty well,” Drummond said of his low post teammates. “We all do similar things on the floor. We all can [play] interchangeable positions so I think this will be a great learning experience for me just trying to feed off what Charlie does and what Greg does because they both do similar things. I just think it’s going to be great to be able to learn from those two guys.”
Overall, Drummond believes the young, pedigreed competition he will be facing this summer is going to help to mold him into a better NBA player.
“It’s fun for me,” Drummond said. “Playing against some of the top guys that have been in the draft already… Just going against some of these guys has been a great experience for me to try to get myself better as a player.
“I’m only 18 and some of them are in their mid-20’s, so going up against those guys is a great learning experience and great experience for me altogether.”
For a player with the youth, explosiveness and potential Drummond possesses, the Summer League should only assist in the young center’s development. Drummond continues to say all the right things and that positive attitude and willingness to learn from the professionals will pay dividends.
Although still learning the game of basketball at the NBA level, Drummond’s inherent willingness to learn combined with his innate size, athletic ability and speed is exceptional. This combination has the possibility of culminating in an outstanding player on the NBA stage.
Experience is the key here for Drummond, as only extensive playing time against NBA-level competition will prepare the young center for life against the best basketball players in the world.
At 18 years old, time is clearly on Drummond’s side.