Chris McCullough predicts November return to Brooklyn Nets

McCullough was drafted by the Brooklyn Nets
McCullough will stay in New York State

NEW YORK — Former Syracuse forward Chris McCullough was drafted by his hometown team, the Brooklyn Nets, on Thursday evening with the 29th pick of the NBA Draft. Here’s what he had to say after he was drafted:

Q. Chris, can you just give us an opening statement about being drafted by the Nets?

A. Just a good feeling to finally hear my name get called and walk on the stage. It’s my hometown. It’s a good feeling.

Q. Have you seen the Nets play last year at all?
A. I watched them every time they play.

Q. What were your impressions of them last year?
A. Honestly I watched one person; I watched Plumlee because he plays the same position. So I see exactly what he did and try to have my game just like him.

Q. You grew up here on the streets of Brooklyn, or the Bronx?
A. From the Bronx.

Q. Did your uncle or your father have anything to do with basketball?
A. Yeah, my whole family played basketball. I come from a basketball family. My father went to Murray State. Both my uncles played at Pitt.

» Related: Experts weigh in on Chris McCullough’s chances in the NBA

Q. You’re recovering from an ACL injury. Where are you as far as your progress there? And are you going to be able to play next season?
A. I should be able to play by November. I’m not going to rush it. I’m just waiting my time, that’s it.

Q. How frustrating was the injury? And was there ever a chance that you were going to return to Syracuse and maybe try to improve your draft ranking?
A. It was very frustrating at first, maybe the first week, week and a half. After that I got over it pretty fast. I had to come back stronger, be stronger, overall game got even better. So that’s what I focused on doing.

Q. What do you feel like is the best part of your game? What do you have to work on at the next level?
A. Best part of my game is rebounding, playing defense. And I just want to work on my overall game, my body, and be the best player I can be.

Q. After you got drafted, I saw you spoke with Lionel Hollins for a little bit. What did he say to you?
A. The main thing that stuck out to me was in the interview process, because I couldn’t play in the Combine. So nobody could see me play. So my interview was pretty good, he said, and that’s what got them to pick me.

Q. Once you are healthy enough to play full‑time, what could a Chris McCullough bring to the Brooklyn Nets?
A. Rebounding, a person who’s going to play defense, play real hard and just run the floor and play my game.

Q. I know this is your hometown, your hometown team and you and your family had thought about playing here. What was it like to hear your name with the Nets?
A. It’s amazing. I am from New York City. I’m from the Bronx. So being called to play for the Brooklyn Nets is a big thing for me to have that opportunity, so I’m blessed for that.

Q. You talked about the interview process. What was asked and what did you say that maybe impressed them so much?
A. I don’t know, I think we just connected. Once we got in the room together we connected. He gave me life lessons, so basically that’s the main thing right there.

Q. You weren’t able to work out during the off‑season like other individuals, so how do you feel that you got to this point without working out with these teams?
A. I thought that I interviewed pretty well with every time. Just being around the Combine, watching them play basketball, just trying to learn a lot of things and try and pick out little things from everybody’s game.

Q. Where are you in the rehab process in terms of running and jumping? Can you give me an update on that?
A. Right now I’m exactly four and a half months out. I just started running three weeks ago and I started jumping maybe three weeks ago. So it’s coming along pretty good.

Q. They said you’ll be back on track playing basketball in November?
A. Yes. If I’m not 100 percent, I’m not going to rush it.

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About Wes Cheng 2907 Articles
Wes has worked for covering the New York Knicks, as well as for covering Syracuse athletics. Wes has also been a contributing writer for the South China Morning Post (Hong Kong), for SportsNet New York (SNY) as a news desk writer covering all of New York professional sports, and reported on the NBA and MLB for the New York Sportscene. A native of Long Island, New York, Wes graduated from Syracuse University in 2005 with a degree in journalism. Contact him at wes[at]