(Matt Freed, Post-Gazette)
In less than 48 hours, the top basketball prospects in the world will embark on the next phase of their promising careers at the NBA Draft. For all of those involved, it's a dream realized, getting the opportunity to play the game they love at its highest (and highest-profile) level of competition.
For Karvel Anderson, that dream -- however faint it may seem -- remains. The former Robert Morris standout and 2014 Northeast Conference player of the year has participated in workouts the past two weeks with the Houston Rockets and Indiana Pacers, invitations that show there is at least some level of interest in him at that level.
Anderson will wait to hear his name called Thursday night, but for the time being, he's working to put himself in a position to play professional basketball somewhere. I talked with him last night to go over what his journey has been like over the past few months and what he feels his future may hold.
Below is a full transcript of the interview:
With the draft just two days away, what's your overall mindset? Do you feel there's a chance, based on your two workouts, that you might hear your name called?
Honestly, I don't put too much into that. Obviously, that would be a tremendous accomplishment and tremendous honor if that were to happen. But at the same time, I'm realistic. I thought I did very good in my workouts. I think the Pacers' one was stronger than the Rockets' one, but they might have been looking for something other than what my skills are. People want me to be a point guard right away and that transition is really difficult, to be honest with you. I don't know if I fit into the prototype that they need me to be. I just know I went out there and shot the basketball to the best of my ability.
I'm hoping for the best. I'm not going to be heartbroken if it doesn't happen, but it would definitely be a gift from god if my name does get called on Thursday.
You touched on it some, but how difficult has it been to be forced into a different spot, playing point guard, as opposed to your customary role as a two-guard?
It's very difficult. I was just telling one of my friends yesterday that a lot of people know I've been through a lot of things in life, but this is definitely one of the more challenging things I've had to face. For my entire basketball career, I've been a scoring guard. That's what I've worked on every single day. That's what I've tailored my game to be and those are the type of players that I've idolized. Now, I'm 23 and I'm trying to reinvent my game all over again. It's very difficult. It's hard. It's a completely different spot on the floor, you have to have a different mindset, a different type of toughness and just a different type of view on the game to be a point guard.
I'm having to learn the game in a whole different way and learn every single position on the floor, how to pick apart those positions and how to make my teammates around me better. It's a lot and I feel like I can do it. I will do it, in time. It's going to take a little while, but I'll get it.
Were there any particular things from either workout or either team that stood out to you at all? Anything you gathered that you think back to a whole lot from those experiences?
Going against the other players they brought in and the type of things that we had to do within in the workout, a lot of it made me uncomfortable at first because it was a lot of point guard stuff, a lot of point guard skill stuff that I have not yet perfected. Once we got to the shooting parts of the workout and the more competitive drills, where I was going against another body, I was able to showcase my game a little bit.
The individual breakdown drills were new to me. They weren't something I was accustomed to doing. Those things are something that stuck out. It might not be part of the question, but seeing Larry Bird [at the Pacers' workout] definitely stuck out.
For people that maybe aren't familiar with these workouts -- are they mostly drills? And were there other college guys there with you as well?
They measured height, weight, wingspan, vertical measurements, then they'd warm us up. Then we got right to ball-handling stuff, pick-and-roll stuff, just being able to make reads off of a pick-and-roll, shooting drills, a lot of shots, one-on-one, two-on-two, three-on-three stuff, just to see how you can play the game and move around. That was pretty much it. We'd have interviews with the coaching staff.
There were other players there. For my Rockets one, I was with Sean Kilpatrick from Cincinnati, Nick Johnson from Arizona, Jarnell Stokes, the big guy from Tennessee, a guy named Tre Bowman from Iona.
Anyone from the Pacers workout that stood out to you?
Yeah, Bryce Cotton [from Providence]. Obviously, we had played them in the NIT my junior year. He's a great scorer, kind of like another version of me. He and I got to go at it the entire workout and that was fun. Then there was Jordan McRae, a guard from Tennessee. Lamar Patterson [from Pitt] was also there at the Pacers' workout. He did really well. It was a good group -- all competitors, all guys who play at a high level.
During the interview process, were there any bizarre questions teams asked you? I know some team asked Nik Stauskas from Michigan whether he'd rather win rookie of the year or party with Justin Bieber.
Nothing to that degree. With me, they got more into the personal, into my background, into my family, my upbringing, things that happened to me while in high school and basically my whole background story. They asked about a speeding ticket I had while I was a freshman in college and they asked me things about my girlfriend, but that was it. There was nothing too bad.
Did you get much feedback from the workouts? If so, what kind of feedback was it?
Both teams told me they could tell I compete really hard, that I play with a lot of emotion, that I have a big heart. Obviously, they acknowledged my ability to shoot the ball. They just said that they love what I've been through to get to where I am. They thought I could be successful and definitely said I could play at that level. I would have to reinvent my game a little bit, but they said once I figure out how to do that, they said I would be a valuable basketball player because of how I can shoot. New-age point guards are more of scorers anyway, so that's kind of what they're looking for.
They just told me to work on my game, get stronger, improve my ball-handling, improve my point guard skills and that I should be fine.
Even beyond the NBA, have you and your agent talked with many clubs abroad?
They're talking to a few teams. It's kind of in the preliminary stages right now, just gauging interest, finding out what teams need and what kind of players they're looking for. My agency is very good at what they do. They know a lot of people and have a lot of connections. They're talking to a variety of different options and a lot of different places. There's nothing that's for sure, but they've spoken with teams in Italy, Germany, Spain and Australia. But like I said, it's just preliminary. It's just discussions and gauging interest.
Like I said, if god blesses me, I get my name called on Thursday. But if not, we're going to try to push to see if I can land somewhere in the summer league and then if not, we'll finish up somewhere overseas?
Are there any countries you would have a particular interest in playing in?
Obviously, first off, because of my relationship, Italy [his girlfriend is from there]. That would be ideal. But I'd like to go play in Spain, Germany or anywhere with good basketball. I'd even go to Australia. Russia pays well. I don't really have a certain place I'd want to go. I'm hoping to go anywhere as long as it's the right situation. That's all I'm concerned about is if it's the best fit for me and if it's a good move for my career.
Say that we're talking one year from now -- where do you hope to be and maybe where do you see yourself?
Hopefully, I'd love to try to work my way into the NBA somewhere, trying to work my spot on to a roster. Before I got called and said I was going to have these two workouts, I was all focused on going overseas. That was the realistic option at that point and that might still be it even after these workouts. I'm just hoping that by next year, I can have my game where it needs to be, I can be more comfortable in being an attacking point guard, a scoring point guard.
Hopefully, I'm fighting to be on some NBA team's roster. If not, I'm hoping I'm making some good money playing professionally overseas. In a year from now, I honestly just want to have a job playing basketball.