Celtics Notes: Life Of Small-College NBA Draft Prospect Is No Picnic

by

WALTHAM, Mass. — Wednesday’s workout at the Boston Celtics’ practice facility featured prospects from UMass, Wyoming and Western Kentucky.

All three of those programs look like powerhouses next to Kevin Capers’ alma mater: Division II Florida Southern.

Capers, a 6-foot-2 guard, was the first U.S.-based prospect the Celtics brought in this spring who did not play a single minute of D-I basketball. (Gerard Coleman, who visited the C’s last week, finished his college career at the NAIA level but also made stops at Providence and Gonzaga.)

“I was nervous because I didn’t know what to expect,” said Capers, whose workout with the Celtics was his first for an NBA team. “A lot of these guy have good agents who have other players who have been through this. I’m just a rookie to this. Division I, they get the time in the summer to work out with their coaches; Division II, you don’t. You’ve got to just do it yourself.

“(My agent) gave me a plan, but I didn’t really have anybody that could train me. … They have Impact, all these places you can go, and I’m just home working out. I think I did pretty good with my training, though.”

Capers, for whom popular draft resource DraftExpress hasn’t even bothered to create a profile, is a believer in the “if you can play, you can play” mantra. And at least at his college level, he could, averaging 21.2 points in just 28.9 minutes per game as a senior as Florida Southern cruised to a 36-1 record and a D-II national title.

“I just feel like if you’re good, you’ll get noticed,” Capers said. “And I feel like I’m a good player. I’m not a great player; I’m a good player. And if I work hard, I should do fine. … I’m here for a reason. I’m not sorry. I’m pretty good, I just need a chance.”

But the 22-year-old, who said he currently has no additional workouts scheduled, is tempering his expectations.

“Not even drafted,” he said when asked where he thinks he’ll be picked. “I’m just hopeful if I ever get on a summer league team. I know all these guys (in the workout), they should be there — they’re Division I. But if I even get on a summer league team or a training camp, I’d be grateful just for the opportunity.”

Some additional notes from Wednesday’s session:

— UMass’ Cady Lalanne echoed several Celtics invitees before him in professing his admiration for former C’s star Kevin Garnett.

“Since I started playing basketball in, like, ninth grade, KG has been a player I’ve always loved watching,” Lalanne said. “I remember I used to always go to the park and try to do his fadeaway. He used to always do it playing for the Timberwolves, and when he came here and won a championship, I was really excited. Even right now, I still watch him and try to learn from him.”

— Western Kentucky guard T.J. Price said Maxie Esho — another UMass product — impressed him in the workout. Esho was back for a second visit with the team after making his first trip to Waltham last week.

“I didn’t know about him,” Price said. “But he kind of surprised me. I kind of respected him at the end of the day.”

— Capers, a Florida native, picked a bad week to make his first visit to New England.

“I’ve been to the West Coast,” he said, “but never this far north. (Tuesday) was so cold. I’ve got a sweater, got my hoodie ready when I go outside. It’s tough (laughs). I’m ready to go back to Florida, actually. I wasn’t prepared for all this.”

Thumbnail photo via Twitter/@CoreyClarkFOX13

Picked For You