DeShawn Sims played four seasons at Michigan at both forward positions, using his versatile offensive game to be one of the best players in the Big Ten. After a great career with the Wolverines he found himself at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament with the best seniors in the country. The honor was something that Sims didn’t take lightly, and recommends that all invited players do.
“Playing at Portsmouth was really good. It was a big showcase, and it get some guys to see me. You know, it definitely was a plus. Guys who think that Portsmouth is a bust, or isn’t good or whatever, I think it’s a mistake for you to not go if you’re invited. So I’m glad I went and was able to be efficient there.”
Sims shows a great understanding of both the game and the business, something rare in most draft prospects. The one thing that Sims doesn’t lack is a vision for the rest of his career. He recognizes that there are certain things that could happen on draft night that wouldn’t result in him making the league, but that won’t deter him.
“There are some scenarios where if my name doesn’t get called; I’m still an NBA player. My goal is still to play in the NBA. If not, I would definitely consider playing overseas to get my game better and come back for a shot at the NBA. It doesn’t stop. It’s my dream and I’m going to fulfill it.”
If we were an NBA GM Sims is exactly the player we’d want to add to our roster. As we said, Sims can play either forward position. He possesses the ability to score from the high post with a great face up game, as he evidenced in his last college basketball game (a one point loss to Ohio State), scoring the Wolverines first eight points and knocking down three difficult jumpers and getting to the line on his fourth possession. As far as his NBA comparison he sees himself as a Gerald Wallace type forward, doing everything for his team.
“I think I have more of a Gerald Wallace feel. Being able to shoot and just playing hard. He’s about 6-7, 6-8 and he plays hard the whole 48 minutes. He’s always everywhere on the floor and he can play the 2, 3 and 4 positions.”
All of us at TRW are pulling for DeShawn to hear his name called on draft night, but if somehow he doesn’t we’re confident he’ll find his way to the NBA. There is always room on rosters for high character and high basketball IQ players like DeShawn.
(Please read the full transcript from our interview with DeShawn)
TRW: What do you think of the whole draft process so far?
DeShawn Sims: It’s been a good process, being able to travel state to state and show your talent in front of NBA personnel one on one. It’s just you, them and a couple other guys. It’s been great.
TRW: Do you have any favorite moments so far?
DS: Yeah, just the whole experience. I’ve been showcasing and doing superb in all my workouts. That’s just been great for me, just showing my abilities to the teams that are looking at me.
TRW: Great, so you feel like you’ve been showing really well in these workouts?
DS: Yeah, I’ve been doing really great in these workouts. Really great.
TRW: What teams have you worked out with already and what other teams are you planning to work out for in these last several days?
DS: I’ve worked out with Detroit, Sacramento, Charlotte, Cleveland, and Milwaukee. I’ve got Dallas coming up and possibly Utah and Indiana next week.
TRW: Were there any specific teams you were excited to work out for? You just got done with Charlotte was that exciting working out in front of Jordan?
DS: I was definitely excited with Michael Jordan being there. The owner of the franchise, to see my abilities was great. I didn’t let him down either.
TRW: Good to hear. Before you started with these team workouts, who have you been working with individually to get ready for these workouts?
DS: Joe Abunassar down at Impact Sports in Vegas.
TRW: What parts of your game have you really been emphasizing and working to get better at?
DS: Just tightening up my defense, guarding perimeter players and just my overall perimeter game. I’ve had it in store the last couple years, but just being able to unleash it.
TRW: Some people say that you might not have the size to play power forward full time at the next level, and the fact that you can face up out to 18 feet, makes you seem like kind of between SF and PF. What do you consider your true position to be and how would you describe your play style?
DS: I can play both positions to their full extent. I’m so confident in my abilities that I can guard both positions and play both positions offensively. Being able to workout for these teams, I think they’re starting to see that now.
TRW: Are there any NBA players you compare your playing style with or that you try to model your game after?
DS: I think I have more of a Gerald Wallace feel. Being able to shoot and just playing hard. He’s about 6-7, 6-8 and he plays hard the whole 48 minutes. He’s always everywhere on the floor and he can play the 2, 3 and 4 position.
TRW: What are you hearing about your draft position? You’ve probably heard different stories, but are you starting to get an idea?
DS: I’m starting to get an idea. When I speak to my agent and the teams I’ve worked out for, is that I probably could’ve worked out for 8 or 9 other teams. But we tried to pick the teams that I could possibly get drafted with or play in the summer league or having the chance of playing with that team in the future. It’s still up in the air, second round, first round; it’s really just up in the air. I’m just waiting and if I get drafted, that’s a great accomplishment. If not, I’m still gonna play in the NBA.
TRW: If somehow you don’t end up hearing your name called, will you try the D-League or would you be happy playing professionally overseas?
DS: There are some scenarios where my name doesn’t get called; I’m still an NBA player. My goal is still to play in the NBA. If not, I would definitely consider playing overseas to get my game better and come back for a shot at the NBA. It doesn’t stop. It’s my dream and I’m going to fulfill it.
TRW: What was Portsmouth like? Do you feel like it helped with getting you some exposure you wouldn’t have gotten otherwise?
DS: Playing at Portsmouth was really good. It was a big showcase, and it got some guys to see me. You know, it definitely was a plus. Guys who think that Portsmouth is a bust or isn’t good or whatever; I think it’s a mistake for you to not go if you’re invited. So I’m glad I went and was able to be efficient there.
TRW: It seemed like there was some pretty good talent there this year.
TRW: You played all four season at Michigan, playing a limited role in your freshman year, but really starting to play as a sophomore. Was there a big improvement in your game from your freshman to sophomore year or what was the reason for your improvement?
DS: I got smarter over the course of my four years. My game has tightened up and I became a better shooter over the course of four years. With time you grow knowledge of the game and your skills just sharpen up if that’s what you intend to do. My time at Michigan just helped me impact my game man. Being able to play in college was a great experience, but I guess that’s behind me now.
TRW: Do you think having all four years there that you kind of have more of a maturity and basketball IQ advantage over some of the other guys in the draft?
DS: Yeah, definitely. It’s a thing of talent, I’m a very talented player and multidimensional, but being able to have talent and also a few years under your belt. As far as playing the game, I’ve played a lot of games and that has been very influential. I think it has brought a lot of maturity in my game.
TRW: You’ve known Manny Harris since high school where his team beat you in the finals, once you became teammates did he bring that up?
DS: We always kept that going. He beat me like three times and I beat him one time really bad. Beat him by like 50 one time, in the state regional’s. But he won all the championships. They had a tough team with some tough guards and of course they had Manny. It was really crazy how that situation went.
TRW: Have you guys been in touch through the workouts and the draft process?
DS: Yeah, I talk to him every other day for at least two hours. That’s my homie, that’s my brother. I always make sure I talk to Manny.
TRW: The Wolverines were inconsistent this year, but you had some big wins against Ohio State early in the season and played a lot of close games. What stopped you guys from getting over the hump and having a really successful season?
DS: Definitely we lacked chemistry issues. Even though our roles were defined, we couldn’t get over the hump as far as chemistry. I think we had all the pieces to be a great team, but our chemistry just didn’t unfold.
TRW: Just didn’t mesh as well as you’d like?
DS: As well as we’d like yeah. We had all the tools, almost the same exact team from last year. The ball just didn’t bounce our way sometimes and you live with the chemistry.
TRW: What do you consider to be the highlight of your college career?
DS: Probably beating Duke. Not so much because it was Duke, but so much because we know what the program has been through and just to get a win like that for the whole program. No knock to Duke, I think Duke is a great program, but to get that win for our program was definitely great.
TRW: What made you select Leon Rose as your agent?
DS: I’ve known Leon for a long time. My uncle advised me and I just trusted him because I knew him already. He’s been working really hard and I think I made a great decision.
TRW: Getting you to the right workouts and all that?
DS: Yeah, getting me to the right workouts. Not just getting me workouts, I probably could’ve worked out for any NBA team. Just getting me workouts in the best situations to be successful and give me a better shot in the NBA.
TRW: Did you have a favorite NBA team growing up? Who were some of your favorite players?
DS: Oh the Sonics with Shawn Kemp and Gary Payton back in the day. Seattle, that was my team. I had their jerseys. Shawn Kemp was a beast and Gary Payton was definitely a great defensive player.
TRW: Were you pretty torn up when they sold the team?
DS: Yeah I was because after that I became a Ray Allen fan. We wore the same jersey number; I’ve always worn number 34. Ray Allen had that movie come out He Got Game where he was a highly touted recruit. That and one of my friends, Kevin Durant, ended up playing for the Thunder so I’ve always been a fan of that organization.
TRW: What kind of stuff are you into outside of the game? Any hobbies?
DS: Oh yeah definitely, I love to play video games. Call of Duty online.
TRW: Do you have Xbox Live?
DS: No, PS3. I can’t play Xbox, I hate the Xbox. I got the PS3. The new Call of Duty is coming out in November. You play games?
TRW: I do man, with an Xbox unfortunately. I play all the sports games and Halo pretty much. So what type of games do you play along with Call of Duty?
DS: NBA 2K and Madden. Other than that I hang out with my friends and that’s pretty much it.
TRW: Do you guys get really competitive with those games?
DS: I don’t play with Madden too much because I lost my touch, but NBA 2K I’m the king and Call of Duty I’m like top one or two in my crew.
TRW: Nice, does that help you relax in between all the work on the court?
DS: Yeah, but the work almost never stops.
TRW: Especially right now, right?
DS: Definitely never stops.
TRW: Alright well thanks again for talking with us. Is there anything else you wanna say for the interview?
DS: I like that interview you guys did with one of my best friends Ekpe Udoh. Tell everybody The Rookie Wall is on the rise. Gonna be taking over the whole media scene.
TRW: Awesome man, well we really appreciate it and good luck to you the rest of the way.
DS: Thank you