Most NBA prospects are used to being in their gym clothes all the time. They sport their gym shorts and basketball shoes wherever they go, including when they arrive at a team’s facility for a workout. Not Xavier Silas though. Silas, a senior shooting guard out of Northern Illinois University in this June’s NBA Draft, dresses up when he goes to these workouts.
“I see a lot of guys in their gym shorts and t-shirt come in to the gym and introduce themselves in that kind of clothing,” says Silas. “But I think what they don’t realize is that this whole thing is an interview. They aren’t just looking at what you do on the court, but off the court also. This is going to be our profession from now on and we have to treat it like one.”
Everywhere Silas has visited, the scouts and personnel guys have told him that they were impressed with the way he approached the whole process. They’ve told him to keep dressing up because it makes him stand out, and shows he respects that not only will he have to produce on the court for a team, but will need to represent the team off the court as well.
Dressing this way is just one of the ways Silas stands out though. At Northern Illinois this past season he averaged 22.3 points per game for the Huskies, which led the Mid-American Conference (MAC), and he was named to the All-MAC First Team. While some may not have noticed Silas’ accomplishments because NIU is not a household name in the college basketball world, they surely took notice when he scored 25 points against Northwestern, 34 against DePaul and 27 against Temple – all high-major programs who the Huskies played this year.
Silas is 6-5 and feels comfortable playing either guard position, as he played both on and off the ball in DeKalb. What really stands out about his game is his shooting ability. He shot 41 percent from downtown this past season, and 46 percent from the field overall – both of which are very efficient numbers for a guard, not to mention he did this while being the focus of every team’s defensive scheme. While his on-court accomplishments stand out, again, it is the person Silas is off the court that really separates him from the pack.
I attended the New Jersey Nets’ draft workout on Tuesday and Silas was there. After the workout, players most of the time sit down and rest for a little bit. Not Silas. Immediately afterward, he introduced himself to seemingly everybody in the gym from Nets GM Billy King to the janitor. When he saw me, he came over and introduced himself, and we talked for five minutes about college basketball, the workout and the draft process in general. During those five minutes I asked, “Why did you go around introducing yourself to everyone after the workout?” He said, “You’ve got to make an impression on people. In the draft everyone is talented, so you have to stand out in other ways, not just on the court.”
Well, Xavier certainly stood out to me as an impressive young man and player, and now he’s going to tell you how he prepares for drafts workouts. He does it by: looking good, feeling good and playing good. That’s the Xavier Silas way, and it isn’t a bad one to follow.
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