Draft Diaries: Mike Muscala

By Mike Muscala, for NBA.com

On The Move

Mike Muscala (Courtesy Bucknell University)

Mike Muscala (Courtesy Bucknell University)

I graduated from Bucknell University on Sunday– what a feeling. I posted a Vine video from graduation on Twitter to commemorate the day, so check it out here: You can find me @mikejawz.

It was a great day where I ended one chapter and turned the page to the next. It was great, but a little bittersweet. I had an amazing time at Bucknell on and off the court, and it is truly a special place that I will miss. That being said, I’m definitely excited for all that is to come.

The last few weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind. I was at Bucknell in Lewisburg, PA, a couple weeks ago finishing up classes and taking a final. Then, it was back home in Minnesota for my little sister’s confirmation. Last week, I flew out to Chicago for the NBA pre-Draft camp (more on that later), and I came straight to Lewisburg on Saturday night to make it in time for graduation on Sunday. In between all of that, I’ve been working out and getting ready for the NBA Draft in Long Island, NY. With graduation behind me, I can now completely concentrate on basketball and am looking forward to traveling to different cities to work out for NBA teams.

Pre-Draft Recap

I knew coming in to the Chicago combine that I had a lot to prove. I’ve always worked hard and had confidence in my game, but coming from a smaller school with less exposure, I wanted to make sure that I performed well. While it’s easy to think that  being from a small school can hurt you, , the coaches I played for and the system I played in at Bucknell put me in this position to make the NBA.

Truth be told, I am happy with my performance in Chicago. Of course, you can always look back on every game or workout and wish you had done even better, but overall it was a very good week. I was proud to hear that I had the best shooting percentage in the combine on Thursday. When we did conditioning tests, I came in first place and I felt like I played well in the competitive aspects of the camp. I think I surprised people with my athleticism,  strength and agility testing. It was a good experience, and a challenging one, which I knew it would be going into the weekend. It was a good month of training leading up to it, so I felt prepared. Even though I’m happy with how I did there, there’s a ton more work to do, so I’m moving on to this next phase.

The Off-Court Chicago Experience

All of the guys in the camp stayed at the same hotel. I roomed with C.J. McCollum, who I am also working out with in Long Island.

When all of us first got there, people were a little more reserved. But by the time we finished up on the court on Friday, guys were a little more relaxed. It was great to get to know different guys’ games, and a positive experience off the court as well.

muscala-selfI had a chance to see my friend Nate Wolters, who is also a Minnesota native. We were in the same high school class. He went to South Dakota State University, but we have kept touch every now and then and followed each other’s progress. I also saw Trevor Mbakwe, another old friend from Minnesota. We grew up in different parts of the state, but I knew him because we played in a lot of summer leagues together.

While in Chicago, we interviewed with the NBA teams. There we were, all of us in these nice, well-tailored clothes, and before you knew it, we were all nervous and sweating. We were teasing each other about it, but everybody was experiencing the same thing, which was reassuring in a way. I was a little nervous before my interviews, but I didn’t think it was too bad. The experience was good for me.

Anyway, when I wasn’t at the gym, I was back at the hotel catching up on sleep and having some time to myself. It was nice to be able to mentally relax a little bit. We went out to a few dinners, but the biggest thing for me was to relax and stay focused on the task at hand.

I watched as much of the NBA playoffs as I could (if I didn’t fall asleep first). One night, some of us went to watch the games at Jimmy Greens, a restaurant in downtown Chicago. It’s exciting and interesting to watch the amount of defensive focus and intensity that the guys in the playoffs are playing with … every shot they are making or taking is a contested shot. If anyone were to say there’s no defense in the NBA, tell them to watch these playoffs!

Next Up

Now I’m back in Long Island working out. I’ll be flying back and forth to have workouts with different teams up until the Draft. I’m really focused. I try not to get too up or too down. If I have a good day in the gym, I take it for what it is and move on and work hard the next day.

I’m feeling confident. I really like the people I am training with, and I know I’m in good hands working with good people. As long as I keep working, I think good things will happen!

Thanks for reading my blog, and don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and Instagram @mikejawz. For more on my journey to the NBA Draft, visit www.draftdreams.com.

4 Comments

  1. Jerry Shreck says:

    You will do great Mike! You were always a hard worker in the weight room and it is that type of work ethic that get’s people to the next level. Can’t wait to see you in an NBA uniform. You will be missed in the weight room back here at Bucknell! We will all be watching! Good Luck!!

    Jerry

  2. Norman Frazier says:

    Mike,
    I know you will have a fine NBA career. My son, Ryan Frazier thinks the world of you and your game. He says you’re a “beast”. After having the good fortune to watch you for a few seasons, I think any team that drafts you will be getting a lot more than they bargained for. You’re a winner! All the best son. -

  3. Ken Herman says:

    Mike,
    We watched you as fans for 4 years at Bucknell and saw you mature and get better each year. Four of us followed the team to Washington two years ago.There are 6 of us who sat together at games, and we also attended the banquet. We really enjoyed watching all of you play and we are so pleased that you are getting a chance to realize your dream. Best of luck from the Herman’s, Blake’s, and Woodling’s. You will make it big! We”ll be following your career in the NBA.

  4. Dancemomnj says:

    Best wishes in your workouts and in the draft!
    You are terrific — the Treasure of this draft!
    A smart team will want a smart, skilled player of your caliber!
    Great footwork for sure and wonderful leg strength not to mention shooting that is beyond amazing!
    Go for it!
    Dancemom
    BU 1976