Alex Len in Blazers’ scope, calls team “great organization”
Two weeks ago after the Portland Trail Blazers saw Indiana center Cody Zeller up close and personal for an individual workout, the team quietly shuffled in another highly-touted big man in this upcoming NBA Draft.
Alex Len, the 7-foot-1 center from Maryland with ever-increasing stock, met with Blazers general manger Neil Olshey, head coach Terry Stotts and several team scouts over the June 8th weekend. The Ukrainian-born Len declared for the Draft after his sophomore season in which he averaged 11.9 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game and has climbed atop the DraftExpress.com board as the No.1-rated center. Amazingly, Len has done all this heavy lifting without showcasing a single post move this summer. Len is currently rehabilitating in Maryland from an April surgical procedure that repaired a partial stress fracture in his left ankle.
Recently, Len answered questions that The Columbian e-mailed to his agent, Michael Lelchitski, and described his physical capabilities, his upside as an NBA center and his meeting with the Blazers.
“It was a great organization and a great place to work at,” Len stated in an e-mail. “They show that they can develop players really (fast). They also show that they know how to work with young players (they have the rookie of the year on their team).”
Len, who turned 20 on Sunday, said that he has met with four teams and still has four more meetings to go, which includes the Cleveland Cavaliers who own the No. 1 selection. For months, Kentucky center Nerlens Noel has been widely viewed as the top pick but recently the tide has shifted. Len believes that he is in fact the best center in the draft and explains it so by highlighting his potential.
“I feel as though I have so much more to offer,” Len expressed. “I have only been here for two years and I have proven that I want to get better as the years go on. So I think I am only scratching the surface as to how far I can go. The sky is the limit!!!!”
When he met with the Blazers, Len likely landed in Portland with the assistance of crutches. Though he could not work out, Len described the meeting as casual as team officials simply asked “question(s) to try to get to know me better as a person.”
“Just by showing them the type of person I am and that I am willing to work as hard as I can to help the team in any way,” Len said, describing how he tried to convince the Blazers, and other teams, to draft him without the benefit of playing on the court.
Len said that he does not have another meeting scheduled with the Blazers and the team continued its pre-draft workouts on Monday with six new candidates. Len maintains his base in College Park, Md. and reports that he can do “pretty much everything upper body and on my healthy leg” and he also has “range of motion” in his left ankle.