Robert Sacre - last line of defence for the Gonzaga Bulldogs.
Sacre Saturday continues as we bring you our exclusive one-on-one chat with the former Gonzaga big man.
RaptorsHQ: Let's start back a bit at Gonzaga. How did you think your Senior season went?
Robert Sacre: I look back and obviously there are games where you wish you had gotten certain wins but that's just life, you can't look at that too long and be upset, you just have to learn from it.
RHQ: Any particular games that stick out?
RS: I'd say the Conference Tournament, obviously the NCAA tournament final game, and even games in our conference that we should never have lost. You can't win'em all, but we should have had those.
RHQ: What about on the flip side, any games that stick out positively where you thought "wow, this is a game that really put me on the map," or where you felt you simply dominated your opponent?
RS: The conference tournament again, no question. There were games in there that really stuck out for me.
RHQ: One of the matches that stuck out for me was Gonzaga's match-up against Ohio State in the second-round of the NCAA tourney, where you did a great job on (Jared) Sullinger, especially in the first half where he was forced to sit with two fouls. Tell me what that was like, going up against someone who's projected to be a lottery pick in this year's draft?
RS: It was just to me another game. Gonzaga did a great job of preparing me by having me play a lot of top players, whether it was Meyers Leonard, Dramond Green...I've seen a lot. So when it came time to play Ohio State I just thought "my team needs me to help get stops," and part of that was to play my role and give Sullinger fits as much as possible.
RHQ: So give me your thoughts on Sullinger. Do you think he's all that he's cracked up to be as a future NBA player?
RS: It's all on how he wants to work. He's a good player, and he's a big body, and I have a lot of respect for his game, but in my eyes it's all on him in terms of the work he puts in, but I see him being a good NBA player for sure.
RHQ: Let's go back to last November. You were playing really well and then there was an injury that occurred correct?
RS: Yes, I dislocated my thumb, that was it. It sucked! Obviously I wanted to play and help my team by any means but it was simply tough to catch the ball, no question. And you can't make excuses, but when you have that pad right where your thumb meets the palm of your hand, it's tough to do the things you're used to. But that's life. It's one of those things you have to deal with and I had to think of it as a growing pain, and fight through it.
And we still got wins during that time. It was tough playing Michigan State but that's part of the game and nothing I hadn't experienced before.
RHQ: How do you feel now, are you one hundred per cent?
RS: One hundred percent, one hundred percent. The only problem with me is going through airport security.
RHQ: Because of the metal detectors, did they have to put a pin in your thumb?
RS: (Laughs.) No, it's just a pain. It's the hardest thing during this process, the airport security. I've got no other complaints, everything else is fine, but when people ask me what the hardest thing is about this draft process, I say checking in and airport security.
RHQ: I think people used to love travel and now it's just a pain, the actual traveling part.
RS: (Groans.) Big time! I remember when you were able to bring, like, goodies; tons of food and drinks and anything you pretty much wanted. And now you can't. AND, you get to the airport now and they charge you like 30 bucks it feels like for a bottle of water.
RHQ: It's funny but I've heard this before from draft prospects who are going through this pre-draft process, that the toughest thing is all airport stuff.
RS: Yeah, the flying, the traveling from city to city, not an issue. That's kind of fun. Going to see different places, seeing different practice facilities etc, that's fun. But the security, awwww. You have to take your shoes off, have to do this, do that...
(At this point I'm completely cracking up as an aside.)
RHQ: So on that note, how many workouts have you done, and what are your next stops?
RS: I think I've done eight? (As of our June 14th chat.) And now I've got five more.
RHQ: Wow, so 13 workouts in only a matter of weeks, it's quite the grind isn't it. How do you prepare mentally for something like this?
RS: Actually, I was talking to my agent today about this and I prefer the grind, especially the back-to-back workouts. They always work you out early in the morning so it's not that bad. I like the back-to-backs because it keeps you going, keeps the blood flowing, and you don't feel stagnant sitting in a hotel.
And really, the time flies by with all this traveling. When you're not doing that, like when I was training at IMG, or when I went home to Spokane for a week, that week felt like it was the longest week EVER. And then when you get back on the road days go by boom, boom, boom.
RHQ: So you've got Charlotte and then where to?
RS: Charlotte then Spokane for two days, then I fly to Sacramento, Sacramento Miami, Miami to Detroit, and then to OKC. Wait...is that right? So only four more workouts. I feel like I'm missing one (laughs.)
RHQ: So a very interesting range of clubs that you're working out in front of, in particular, two of them that are currently in the NBA finals. What's it like to work out for clubs like that, are you sort of in awe when you walk into the facilities as it's every college player's dream to be in a situation like this.
RS: It's unbelievable. And you can see how teams are structured and how some teams are better in that respect than others, as well as many who are trying to keep a winning tradition going.
RHQ: Which club have you been most impressed with? It doesn't necessarily have to be the personnel but just in terms of the way the process was conducted.
RS: I couldn't even tell you. I really enjoyed Boston because of the tradition, but I also liked Golden State. Golden State was great because it had tradition, and when you were in their practice facility you could see all the great players to have come through there. And they haven't had great success of late, but you can see that they're trying to get back to that history. And you see that with a lot of teams, trying to build on success and wanting to be like OKC.
RHQ: So let's move to your recent workout with the Raptors, how did that go?
RS: It went really well, I'm happy how I worked out there. It was kind of cool to get the cobwebs off too because I hadn't been in front of an NBA team for about a week. So it was good to get another NBA session in and get back on the grind.
RHQ: What kind of feedback did the team give you?
RS: Just, well done, thanks for coming (laughs.) I know this is kind of a process where everyone keeps their poker face on and you don't find out until the 28th. But I feel comfortable with all my workouts so far.
RHQ: What do you think your best one was?
RS: Boston. For sure.
RHQ: And in terms of the Raptors' workout, did you find it much different than the other ones you've gone through?
RS: No, everyone's been really good at laying these out. I just finished Cleveland, and I enjoyed it a lot though. It was probably one of the toughest ones, but you know what, it really got me going and was very competitive, which is something I love. I love when the drills are really competitive.
RHQ: And was the Raptors' one more focussed on skills then, rather than one-on-one?
RS: They had a lot of shooting, competitive shooting, but with Cleveland they kept score. With the Raptors they didn't keep score and, well, I like it when teams keep score (laughs.)
(To be continued...)