Hamady Ndiaye will pull up a recliner, or maybe a couch, and like so many others, focus on the NBA draft Thursday night.
He will be surrounded by friends and family and try to put up a brave, composed front while his insides twist, turn and pull. It is not a given the former Rutgers center will be selected late in two-round draft, but there is a chance.
On any other day, Ndiaye is full of energy, so imagine the chances of staying calm on such an important moment.
“Impossible,” the 7-foot Ndiaye said. “I try to tell myself that I will, but it’s impossible. But I will try.”
Since leaving Rutgers as the school’s all-time leading shot blocker, much has changed.
While Scarlet Knights athletic director Tim Pernetti was overseeing the replacement of coach Fred Hill with Mike Rice, Ndiaye turned all his attention to basketball.
He performed well at the Portsmouth (Va.) Invitational Tournament, and then worked out for about a dozen teams, including the New Jersey Nets and New York Knicks.
“I did really good in most of these workouts,” Ndiaye said. “I did pretty good everywhere I went. It’s a matter of who is interested, and that is up to my agent. Right now I’m just sitting back and waiting. It’s my agent’s job to do the rest. I did all I could. I went to all the workouts, and gave my best shot.”
Ndiaye, who averaged 9.4 points, 7.1 rebounds and 4.5 blocks per game, also worked out for Miami, Philadelphia, Sacramento, Washington, Minnesota, Milwaukee, Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers and Phoenix.
Ndiaye said several teams called back to schedule a second workout, but then cancelled at the last moment.
As the workouts continued, Ndiaye said he got used to the pace of them, and what was expected from a shooting, defending and psychological standpoint.
But there was one aspect that surprised him the most as he jumped from city to city.
“It’s a lot of travelling,” Ndiaye said. “That’s probably the thing I realized most. There were a lot of travelling and back-to-back workouts, and I didn’t expect that. Besides that, I expected it to get harder and harder, and I got better and better at it as it went along.
“Traveling from one city to another every day, and working out the next morning gets a little tiring. But I got used to it. That was probably the only surprising part about it.”
He acknowledged the possibility of not getting drafted, but is trying to remain optimistic.
“It is going to be a little disappointing, but at the same time anything can happen,” Ndiaye said. “I know I gave it my best shot. I knew I did everything I could do, did all the workouts I could do, and did good in the ones I went to. Anything can happen. I’m ready for the best and ready for the worst.”