Exclusive Melvin Ely Interview
A power forward with an established
low post game, Melvin Ely is expected to be taken in
the first round of the 2002 NBA draft. InsideHoops.com
editor Jeff Lenchiner, who, despite his terrific shooting
ability, will not be taken anywhere in the 2002 NBA
draft, spoke with Ely at draft media day event.
InsideHoops.com: What aspects
of your game did you show off the most in workouts?
Melvin Ely: That I was a low post presense. And I was
a defender. I went out and played hard, I took it like
a game. I just went and played hard and showed everything
everybody already knew, basically, that I can actually
shoot now. When I was at Fresno State, if I didn't have
paint under my feet coach kind of got nervous, so I
stayed in the paint, and I did what I can do best. I
just went in and just showed everything I've been showing
for the last four years.
InsideHoops.com: Of guys you went up against in workouts,
who excelled and impressed you?
Melvin Ely: There was a lot of people that impressed
me, Drew and his quickness, Chris Wilcox and his jumping
ability, and Marcus Haislip, oh my God, he can... I
was in a workout with him, and he dunked over this 7-2
guy, and I just looked like... so my whole goal was
to make sure he just stayed away from the basket, because,
he jumps quick and he jumps high, and together that's
a bad combination to be around.
InsideHoops.com: So was he the best jumper of all the
guys you played with?
Melvin Ely: You know what, between him and Wilcox, I
don't know who would beat out who, so, the basket stays
the same height, so, everybody's over it.
InsideHoops.com: And who, other than yourself, had the
most refined low post moves in these workouts?
Melvin Ely: (Carlos) Boozer. Boozer added a lot to his
game, he was already a great player at Duke, I didn't
see some of the moves he did, probably because somebody
else was too busy shooting the ball, so, he impressed
me with his low post moves. I didn't know he had all
the fakes and up-and-unders, but I learned, I seen what
he did to other people, so, he can do it.
InsideHoops.com: What do you think about the age trend,
that younger guys who haven't proven much yet are taken
over older guys who have already shown some refined
Melvin Ely: It kind of makes it hard on people like
me that's actually tried their hardest and stayed the
extra year to prove that they can play at that level,
and to grab a guy that you're not sure but you think
so, I mean, that's all up to the team that wants them,
it kind of hurts guys that stay in the school, because,
there's really no reason to stay in school now, well
if you have a little bit of athleticism and you can
jump, or they think you can play, they're going to take
you. It doesn't hurt them (the players), it's lucky
for them that that's what they're (the teams) looking
for, but it hurts guys that try their hardest and plays
hard and tries to prove that they can play, so that's
the problem with that.
InsideHoops.com: And why did you decide to stay in school?
Melvin Ely: I stayed because I wanted my degree, I wanted
to play, I wasn't ready for a job in the NBA, because
once you go to the NBA, that's a job. So, I wasn't ready
to leave so I just stayed in.