TJ Leaf was lauded for his interview skills as much as anything during the NBA Draft Combine last week. The former UCLA power forward interviewed with 14 teams at the combine and has since worked out with three teams individually.
On Thursday, the projected first-round pick worked out for the Toronto Raptors – the Raptors pick 23rd in the first round – after which he talked about everything from his ability to score on three levels to whether Lonzo Ball would provide him some Big Baller Brand basketball shoes.
Leaf was the life of the party in the UCLA locker room last season, and gave some insight into what a charismatic person he is before stiffening up with the media as the season went along.
Ball held the team together on the court, but Leaf seemed to have a rapport with every member on the team off the floor. He didn’t serve in the same leadership capacity as Ball or Bryce Alford during his lone season at UCLA, but Leaf’s personality may have been as important as any component that made UCLA’s chemistry so historically good.
Now that Leaf is auditioning for the biggest job of his life, he is smartly embracing the interview process wholeheartedly. No more short answers for the media and there’s no telling how good he’s been in the all-important private interviews with NBA teams.