From the day Melo Trimble showed up at his Impact Basketball training facility in Las Vegas, Joe Abunassar’s job was twofold: restoring the former Maryland guard’s consistency with his outside shot, along with the confidence he had taking it.
Given what transpired over the next two months — minus the days Trimble was in Chicago at the NBA draft combine as well as going through private workouts with nine teams — Abunassar said he believes he was successful in reaching both goals.
“We did a lot of repetition with him, in getting his shot into one motion,” Abunassar said by telephone Wednesday. “When you’re out here, it’s basically a full-time job. We were able to get in a crazy amount of shots and he became really comfortable.
“He was able to use his legs and he felt like he was in the best shape of his life. Being in basketball for 25 years, it’s rhythm shooting. Starting to see the ball go in, everything started to click for him. I think it was a combination of all of that together that put him in the position to go into the workouts and shoot the ball well.”
That was one of the reasons Trimble’s stock among pro scouts fell dramatically after his freshman year, when he shot better than 41.2 percent from 3-point range. While he did shoot the ball more consistently during a number of workouts — including making better than 60 percent in a 100-shot drill with the Chicago Bulls — it still might not have been enough to help him get drafted Thursday.
Abunassar, whose clients have included former Detroit Pistons star Chauncey Billups and Toronto Raptors All-Star Kyle Lowry, said Trimble’s inconsistent shooting was a “definite concern of teams’.” Trimble’s measurables in Chicago — a lack of wingspan and overall athleticism — certainly did not help the case of the 6-foot-3 point guard to get picked in the two-round draft.
“He could get a little faster, and we worked on his lateral speed, but he’s not going to get any taller, his wingspan is not going to get any bigger. So those are the things we really didn’t dive into,” Abunassar said. “The timing of his shot, the way his feet are planted every time — we know for doing this for 21 years, when guys are in college, they don’t get the kind of repetitions they can get here because the coaches are trying to win games and all that stuff.”
Trimble and the other players he was training with — former Oklahoma State star Jawun Evans, former Oregon star Tyler Dorsey and former Georgetown standout L.J. Peak — were hoisting upwards of 1,000 shots per day under the watchful eyes of Abunassar and Drew Moore, a former player at USC.
Abunassar, who was a student manager at Indiana (along with future NBA coach Lawrence Frank) for Bobby Knight in the early 1990s, said he believes Trimble should get invitations to play in the various NBA summer leagues whether he gets drafted or not.
“If you get picked 52, you have the same chance to make the roster as the guy they [signed] for summer league,” Abunassar said. “We’ve been trying to prepare Melo for whatever happens. We want to get him up there as high as we can [in the draft], but he’s training now to make that roster. I think he’s got a great chance to do that. He’s playing really well.”