Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

River East star on NBA radar

Posthumus hoping to hear name called in draft

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Later this month, Chad Posthumus will be sitting on the bed of his hotel room in Hamilton, eagerly awaiting -- hoping -- for a phone call from a general manager during the 2014 NBA Draft.

Posthumus -- a River East Collegiate alumnus -- would be just the second basketball player from Winnipeg to be drafted to the NBA, retired Todd MacCulloch being the first. The 6-11 centre from the Morehead State Eagles is currently ranked 73rd among NCAA seniors by www.draftexpress.com, but there is a chance that the "big man" could be a late second-round pick because the of the incredible strides he has made over the last two seasons.

"I'm very excited, not quite at the nervous point yet," Posthumus said Monday after a pre-draft workout with the Toronto Raptors. "I have a couple more workouts happening, they're getting a guy from the (New York) Knicks to come in and watch me and a couple other players this week sometime, and then late next week I'm heading to Chicago for a workout with the Bulls.

"Hopefully all goes well and then some good stuff happens with them."

'A lot of it is just hard work and falling in love with the game. Before my last two years I guess you could say I really wasn't sure what I was going to be doing with basketball and where it would potentially lead me'

-- Chad Posthumus

It's not exactly the route most young athletes dream about. After short stints with basketball teams at the University of British Columbia and a junior college in Maryland, Posthumus's hard work finally found him in a Division 1 program at Morehead State University in Kentucky.

Under head coach Sean Woods, Posthumus, in his final season as an Eagle, played all 33 games and averaged 11 rebounds per game, good enough for first in the Ohio Valley Conference and fourth in the NCAA. He was also second in the NCAA in offensive rebounds per game with 4.3 and boasted the best rebounding percentage in the United States.

Posthumus has only been playing year-round for the past two years. He would work construction during the off-season and said there were times when he wouldn't touch a basketball for three weeks of the summer.

He said if you were to ask him two years ago if he would be in the position he is in right now, he would've said "not a chance."

"A lot of it is just hard work and falling in love with the game," said Posthumus. "Before my last two years I guess you could say I really wasn't sure what I was going to be doing with basketball and where it would potentially lead me."

With only two rounds in the NBA draft and only 60 players drafted, Posthumus said he has realistic expectations he may not get the call on June 26. About 100 players will be able to to enter the NBA when you throw in undrafted free agents, so he is weighing other options.

"If it ends up being I go to Europe for a year or two before I make the transition back, then that's where we'll go from," said Posthumus, noting the NBA is the ultimate goal. "Realistically the potential for me to get drafted anywhere in the last five to eight picks is based upon my next couple workouts with teams. It's not likely to happen but there's the potential for it."

If it doesn't happen for him, Posthumus said his next goal will be to get picked up by a team for the NBA Summer League, a two-week tournament comprising rookies and undrafted prospects.

Coach Woods said he is hoping the NBA Summer League teams takes a closer look at his big post player so he can continue to develop and become a more a fluid player.

Woods praised the work ethic and mental aspect of Posthumus but said there is still a long way to go for the former Kodiak.

"I saw something nobody else saw. Chad was just a raw basketball player who, you know, didn't have a lot of experience playing basketball, but one thing he did have was size, God-given size and strength," said Woods. "I think his best basketball is ahead of him."

kyle.edwards@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 18, 2014 D6

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