Jerry Lai-US PRESSWIRE
He might have been touted as possibly the second-best prospect in the draft behind Anthony Davis, but that didn't matter to young Andre Drummond.
The 18-year-old that, unmistakable as he towered over everyone at 7 feet and 270 pounds, still knew he had to do what was right.
"First of all, I'm Andre Drummond," he said as laughter filtered through the room. Here was the star attraction, joined by second-rounders Kim English and Khris Middleton. The guy that could propel a struggling franchise back to relevance and he was acting like a polite 18-year-old kid. Yes, it was apparent that Drummond is young and has some learning to do, but it was also clear that he was humble, a "rare physical specimen" as GM Joe Dumars previously said, and had a lot of learning ahead of him.
And just as it was clear that young Drummond was still a teenager, it was crystal clear that English was a 22-year-old man, confident, strong and intelligent. A leader who isn't afraid of the spotlight.
When asked what he knew about the Pistons it was like he was reading the mind of every fan in Detroit: "The Bad Boys. The Bad Boys." And then followed that up by perfectly describing the 2004 championship squad: "The play-the-right-way team."
And it seemed like English, who unlike Drummond was unheralded and looking at mid-second-round to undrafted status, it sounds like he wouldn't have it any other way.
"Some people are concerned about the numbers (where they were drafted). ... For me it was to be put in the best situation. To be on a team with championship pedigree and championship expectations means a lot."
And those comments were indicative of all three draft picks, said Dumars and coach Lawrence Frank.
"These are high character guys," Dumars said. He also said that the best thing about the Pistons latest draft haul is that they were great players that addressed all the team's key needs: size, athleticism and shooting.
Frank, who said that the Pistons brass had specifically targeted all three players, was impressed not only with their basketball skill but also their makeup.
"What separates those who are going to achieve at the highest level are those that persevere. ... They put winning first," Frank added.
Frank also addressed the strengths of all three players. Of Drummond, he said: "With Andre we look at a young man who, from an athletic standpoint, is off the charts.
"We know it's a process," Frank said, adding that there were qualities to his game that the Pistons could utilize right away: "Ability to protect the rim. Ability to be a deterrent from the other team attacking the paint. Run the floor and finish around the rim, it is a great starting point."
On Middleton: "We knew that because of the knee injury, he put the team first .. probably came back before he should have. Great game. Can play the two and the three. Not just a scorer."
On English: "We loved his makeup. The character. The motor. The dedication. The commitment to the game. Had a great year. Ability to put defense first."
But, Frank said, everything would have to be earned by each player. And from the sounds of it, they are ready to rise to the challenge.
Or as English put it, "And we're ready to work. Ready for summer league. Ready for October 1."
So are we.