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Pac-12 men's basketball stars prepare for NBA Draft

Former ASU foes are on the brink of making the next level

Photo by Matthew Tonis | The State PressFormer UCLA forward Kevon Looney answers questions at NBA Draft Media Day on June 24 in New York City. (Photo by Matthew Tonis)

Photo by Matthew Tonis | The State Press

Former UCLA forward Kevon Looney answers questions at NBA Draft Media Day on June 24 in New York City. (Photo by Matthew Tonis)


NEW YORK -- With the 2015 NBA Draft just a day away, former Pac-12 stars are on the brink of having their lifelong dreams fulfilled.

Three All-Pac-12 players, former UCLA forward Kevon Looney and former Arizona standouts Stanley Johnson and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, were among the 19 draft hopefuls invited to New York City to be a part of the pre-draft and draft ceremonies.

"It feels awesome," Johnson said. "Everything from flying here to having my parents here to having you guys here interviewing me to having this sign in front of my face is a dream. I'm happy to be here."

All three players have been projected as early to mid-first round picks. Johnson, however, believes that projections and mocks are useless.

"These mock drafts, they have nothing to do with what's actually true," Johnson said. "People should never listen to mock drafts. They're terrible."

With that in mind, Johnson said he believes that he won't get past Utah with the No. 12 pick in the draft, according to his agents.

On the other hand, Looney said he worked out with teams picking eighth through 22nd in the first round. During his process, Looney said that he's learned a lot from the organizations that he's visited about the transition to the NBA personally and professionally.

“I learned about a lot of NBA organizations,” Looney said. “I learned a lot about the game…and I learned a lot about myself, too. I learned about my game and what I need to improve on and what I’m good at.”

Looney was named a to the All-Pac-12 Second Team as a freshman after averaging 11.6 points and 9.2 rebounds for the Bruins and leading them to a Sweet Sixteen appearance.

Hollis-Jefferson, who averaged 11.2 points and 6.8 rebounds per game last season, said that playing in the Pac-12 helped him develop into the player he is today.

"Playing in the Pac-12 was pretty good," Hollis-Jefferson said. "The competition level, teams being familiar with your system and all that. All that transitions into the NBA because of film, because of how many games they play and I feel like that prepared me a lot."

The biggest influence for Hollis-Jefferson while in Tucson was his coach, Sean Miller.

"Playing for coach Miller was great," Hollis-Jefferson said. "Him being the type of coach he is with the mindset he has about playing hard, he sticks with it, he backs it up. He holds you accountable. It only made me more mature, more ready and more aware about what I'm about to embark on."

Reach the reporter at mtonis@asu.edu or follow him on Twitter @Tonis_The_Tiger

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