To prepare for NBA workouts, Florida point guard Nick Calathes has begun working out at IMG Academy in Bradenton.
Calathes has been going back and forth from Gainesville to Bradenton for the past week-and-a-half and will begin working out there full time when he takes his last final exam Friday.
For now, Calathes is taking part in individual workouts to avoid potential injury. In the coming weeks, as more college prospects arrive, Calathes will be involved in more five-on-five workouts. UCLA point guard Jrue Holiday, who like Calathes has put his name in the draft without an agent, is working out in Bradenton with Calathes. So is Louisville forward Earl Clark.
Pittsburgh center DeJuan Blair, Pittsburgh forward Terrell Biggs and Memphis forward Robert Dozier will arrive to start working out in Bradenton this week.
Part of the knock on the 6-foot-5 Calathes going to the next level is his athletic ability. But IMG executive director of pro training David Thorpe said some aspects of Calathes’ athleticism are underrated.
“From watching him play, Nick is faster than what you would think,” Thorpe said. “He’s very fast with the ball in his hands. He’s not a high-flyer. We all know that. But the NBA playoffs are filled with point guards who can’t dunk. Rafer Alston (Orlando Magic) isn’t a guy who plays above the rim. You can probably say the same thing about Mario Chalmers (Miami Heat) and Andre Miller (Philadelphia 76ers).”
Thorpe acknowledged he’s been working with Calathes on his leaping ability, perimeter defense and free-throw shooting.
“We’ve made a slight adjustment with his shot and he’s shooting with a lot of confidence,” Thorpe said.
Whether it’s enough to push Calathes into the first round of the draft and a guaranteed contract remains to be seen. Calathes has until June 15 to decide whether to keep his name in the NBA Draft and hire an agent or return to Florida for his junior year. Thorpe estimated that Calathes will begin workouts for NBA teams in mid-May.
Thorpe also credited Florida coach Billy Donovan for Calathes’ development.
“Nick and I have talked about it and Coach Donovan really let him play his game,” Thorpe said. “He allowed Nick to be creative. It’s a credit to Billy because when you talk to a lot of players from different programs they played for coaches that were maybe more restrictive. That made the game not as fun for them.”