Early morning rehab on his surgically repaired ankle is followed by a session with a strength and conditioning coach. After a quick lunch, he heads over to the Smith Fieldhouse to work out with his ex-teammates. What does he do to relax at night? He takes his wife back to the gym so she can rebound for him while he nets jump shot after jump shot. This is how former Cougar basketball star Noah Hartsock is preparing for Thursday’s NBA draft.
“It’s one of those things growing up that you always watch,” Hartsock said. “It’ll be another fun experience.”
After a fantastic career as a three-year starter at BYU, the Bartlesville, Oklahoma native will look to take his game to the next level.
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“I’d be happy just to get a chance to play in the league,” Hartsock said. “It wouldn’t matter where, just being in the league and being a part of it.”
While Hartsock will not be among the first players taken in Thursday’s NBA draft, his agent Ben Pensack is optimistic that his client has a future in the league.
“I would say he has an outside shot of going in the later part of the second round,” Pensack said. “He brings a very unique skill set to a team in that he’s a power forward that can really stretch the floor.”
Hartsock’s shooting stroke makes him an attractive option for teams looking for a versatile big man. The 6’ 8” power forward averaged 16.8 points per game as a senior, and shot 39 percent from beyond the arc during his BYU career. The recent success of impact forwards like Orlando’s Ryan Anderson and San Antonio’s Matt Bonner has proven the value of a big man with shooting touch from outside.
“At the power forward position, being able to shoot the ball like he does, I think it’s a real advantage,” Pensack said. “He’s one of the best shooters in the country at his position.”
Pensack reports that the Cleveland Cavaliers, Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, Oklahoma City Thunder and Utah Jazz have all expressed interest in the former BYU star. Even if Hartsock is not selected in Thursday’s draft, he still has a chance to make an NBA roster.
“The few days after the draft is when teams can kind of really figure out what their needs are in terms of their summer league roster,” Pensack said. “If he is undrafted, we will be in touch with all the NBA teams seeing if we have a taker for summer league.”
Hartsock is doubtful that he’ll be one of the 60 players taken in the NBA draft tomorrow night.
“I’d be very shocked if my name is called,” Hartsock said. “But I think it’s just fun just working out with NBA teams, and hopefully get a chance to play in the summer league with some of those teams.”
As former Cougars Travis Hansen and Chris Miles have done, Hartsock could also start a successful career overseas.
“It seems like every coach I talk to in Europe is looking for a power forward that can shoot,” Pensack said. “If he does end up in Europe, they’re really going to love him over there.”
Hartsock is quick to point out that he will not be making his decision alone. He and his wife Kendalyn were married in 2010, and her opinion will play a major role in the couple’s future.
“She’s a little nervous,” Hartsock said. “I think she’s excited as well. From living out here for a while, we’re both ready for a change and to move on.
Pensack reports that Hartsock has a deal in place with a Belgian team, the Okapi Aalstar. The contract includes an out-clause in case Hartsock earns a spot on an NBA roster.
“Belgium is looking like a really good offer and a really good place. I think it’d be fun to live over there. My mission was in Salt Lake, so I’ve been here for a while now,” Hartsock said. “It’d be nice to travel and see the sites and visit. And also, just playing in a different environment, different league, in front of different people, I think that’d be really fun. My agent has got calls from different teams and so we’re kind of just looking at those right now and hoping that something great turns out.”
Regardless of what happens, Cougar fans everywhere also hope that something great turns out for their sharp-shooting former star. The NBA draft begins Thursday at 5:00 PM.