Hawkeye Gatens Takes Eight Pre-Draft Visits to NBA Teams
By Scott Dochterman, Reporter
IOWA CITY — Former Iowa shooting guard Matt Gatens has participated in eight workouts with seven NBA teams in the last couple of months. He hopes he’s selected in Thursday’s NBA draft, but he’s also realistic.
“I’ve heard there’s a chance, a possibility, but I’m not going to hold my breath on it,” Gatens said Wednesday. “It’s positive both ways.
“It would be great to be drafted. It’s a positive not being drafted — being a free agent — in that you get to choose which summer league team to go on, and what opportunity each team presents best for you. It’s a positive both ways, but obviously you want your name called in the draft that night.”
Gatens, a 6-foot-5 Iowa City native, twice has met with Phoenix — which has only a first-round pick — for pre-draft workouts. Gatens also has visited Portland, Washington, Chicago, Milwaukee, Golden State and the L.A. Clippers. He met with the Suns again on Monday and will stay in Iowa City until the NBA Summer League starts July 13 in Las Vegas.
The team meetings include about 90 minutes of on-court action, everything from three-on-three and two-on-two workouts to shooting drills.
Wasserman Media Group agents Jason Ranne and former Hawkeye B.J. Armstrong represent Gatens. He spent three weeks of skills work in Los Angeles at the agency along with Wasserman clients Jordan Taylor, Fab Melo among others.
“I think it went pretty well,” Gatens said. “It’s a different process; you’re on your own a lot.
“(The teams are) looking for somebody who can guard, somebody who can knock down shots and somebody who can be a good teammate.”
Gatens was a second-team all-Big Ten selection last year after averaging 15.2 points, including 17 in Big Ten play. He ranks sixth in scoring all-time at Iowa with 1,635 points and is the first Hawkeye to lead the team in free-throw shooting all four years.
In February, Gatens put up one of the best stretches in recent Big Ten history. He scored 30 points against Indiana and 33 against Wisconsin, the first time since at least 1997 that a player scored 30-plus back-to-back against ranked Big Ten opponents. He hit a school-record 12 straight 3-pointers during those games and was the first Hawkeye to score 85 or more points in three combined games since Roy Marble in 1989.
After the season Gatens participated in the Portsmouth Invitational for college seniors and led the tournament in minutes played. Gatens’ focus remains on the NBA and the summer league and not overseas, which remains an option.
Even if he’s not drafted Thursday, Gatens could get snapped up quickly after the draft. Adam Haluska was Iowa’s last drafted player in 2007.
“I’ve already been in talks with some teams,” Gatens said. “I think it happens pretty quick. (Former Hawkeye) Luke Recker was telling me how quick he got signed after the draft. It was like that night or the next morning, so it happens pretty fast.
“I’m really looking forward to it, just getting an opportunity and knowing where I’m heading.”
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