CHICAGO — Vander Blue believes he can make all the necessary changes to become an NBA player.
The former Marquette University standout also believes he can even play a new position at the next level.
During his three seasons at Marquette, Blue was primarily a shooting guard. And he played it well. Last season, he was Marquette’s go-to scorer, averaging a team-leading 14.8 points a game for the Golden Eagles.
But Blue believes shooting guard isn’t his best spot.
“I would like to play point guard (in the pros),” Blue said. “I want to show people I can bring the ball up the court.
“I can definitely handle the ball and run a team.”
Blue made his comments after the first day of drills at the NBA pre-draft camp. Blue was originally snubbed for the camp, which showcases players who have a legitimate chance of being chosen in the June 27 draft.
But Blue got a reprieve when some foreign players couldn’t participate in the event. He is hoping to seize the moment and prove he is worthy of being one of the 60 players drafted.
As of now, that’s an iffy proposition. According to several NBA officials, including some general managers and player personnel officials, Blue is generally projected as a mid-second round pick. However, there are some NBA scouts who contend he won’t be drafted at all. They also believe Blue should have remained at Marquette for his final season.
Blue said he agonized with his decision to turn pro, waiting until the last day to declare his intentions. Asked if the Marquette coaching staff tried to convince him into staying, Blue said, “Yeah, of course, they wanted me to stay. I thought about it. But I was ready to pursue my dream.”
Blue said Marquette coach Buzz Williams and some former Marquette players have assisted him during the draft process. Williams, in fact, attended the camp and even brought Blue a bottle of water after his workout.
Said Blue: “Coach Buzz has been supportive of me.”
Blue said he also elicited advice from former teammate and close friend Jimmy Butler, who is now with the Chicago Bulls, and Miami star Dwayne Wade, saying “D Wade is like a big brother to me.”
Blue, who was measured at 6-foot-3 1/2 without shoes and has a 6-7 wingspan, said he’s already worked out with the Los Angeles Lakers and will work out for the Detroit Pistons on May 27. Blue is also expected to work out with the Milwaukee Bucks.
“Nobody expected Jimmy (Butler) to be who he is today with the Bulls,” said Blue. “Nobody probably expects me to do any good in the NBA. But I know how to go about my business. I’m more than confident.
“I know I’ll put the work in and I know I deserve all this.”
BUCKS ON HAND: General manager John Hammond headed up the Bucks’ contingent at the camp. He was joined by assistant general manager Jeff Weltman, player personnel director Dave Babcock, scouting director Billy McKinney and assistant coach Bill Peterson. BONUS SHOTS: As I tweeted last week, Jerry Sloan yearns to coach again but not with the Bucks. ... The Bucks interviewed several draft prospects Thursday and will interview several more today. Each team is allowed to interview 18 players, with each interview going a maximum of 30 minutes. ... The Bucks are expected to draft a guard with their first pick, the 15th overall selection. But they have shown interest in three big men: Rudy Gobert of France, Gorgui Dieng of Louisville and Mason Plumlee of Duke. They have interviewed all of those players and are expected work them out before the draft as well. ... The Bucks also interviewed shooting guards Kentavious Caldwell-Pope of Georgia and Jamaal Franklin of San Diego State. .... Let’s say Franklin is one of the most confident players in camp. He said his offensive game is similar to New York’s J.R. Smith’s — “I can score in so many ways.’’ — and his defensive game is similar to Memphis’ Tony Allen. ... Gobert measured out at 7-1 1/2 without shoes. His wingspan was measured at 7-8 1/2. ... Some NBA officials were shocked Weltman didn’t get the Suns general manager’s job, saying they felt he had a verbal agreement with Suns president Lon Babby and that Suns managing partner Robert Sarver nixed the deal. ... There is growing sentiment Bucks backup guard J.J. Redick, who is an unrestricted free agent, will sign with another team in July. ... Seth Curry of Duke, the son of former Bucks guard Dell Curry and brother of Golden State star Stephen Curry, is still recovering from surgery for a stress fracture in his right shin. He said it’s unlikely he’ll be able to work out for any teams prior to the draft. ... Nerlens Noel of Kentucky, the consensus No. 1 pick, said he still hasn’t decided on an agent. ... Sources continue to insist former Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy was in Milwaukee last week. Van Gundy is among numerous coaches the Bucks have expressed interest in for their vacant head coaching position.