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More NBA Draft Coverage

Interview with Ricky Minard

 by Jeff Smith



Collegehoopsnet Interview with Ricky Minard and agent Michael Whitaker


Ohio Valley Conference product, Ricky Minard from Mansfield, Ohio comes into the 2004 NBA draft after ending his career as Morehead Stateís all-time leading scorer with 2,381 points. The three-time 1st-team All-OVC selection ranks 11th on MSUís all-time rebound list and second on MSUís all-time assist list. He led MSU in scoring all four years and in rebounding his last three years. He now ranks fourth on the Ohio Valley Conferenceís all-time scoring list. Minard is the only player in MSU and OVC history to surpass 2,300 points, 700 rebounds and 200 assists in a career. His jersey has been retired and hangs in MSUís Johnson Arena.


Minard briefly entertained entering the NBA draft after a successful junior campaign in which he was named the 2002-03 OVC Player of the Year and was the nationís 12th-highest scorer.  After being one of 55 players invited to Chicaco, Illinois for the NBA pre-draft camp, Minard returned to Morehead for his senior season.


I was fortunate enough to catch up with Minard and agent Michael Whitaker for a telephone interview in what has been a hectic stretch of workouts.


CHN: Mr. Whitaker, in CHNís initial request for this interview, you replied by email that Ricky had a great workout for the Atlanta Hawks against high stock players such as Kirk Snyder, Luke Jackson and high school phenom J.R. Smith.  Any additional comments on Rickyís workouts and your take on where he stands as far as the draft?


Michael Whitaker: Nick Anderson said he had heard that Dominique Wilkins (Hawks vice-president) was impressed with Rickyís toughness and chest-to-chest mentality and his defensive presence, that a lot of teamís might not have been aware of.


Iíve been told he could go at 14th. To be honest with you it really looks like he has a chance to go anywhere from 18 through 29, but I think he still has a chance to move up further with the Chicago pre-draft coming up.  I think if he has the kind of camp that he had last year, especially when you consider that he did that on one leg because he hurt his ankle the first day of the camp and he gutted it out.  A lot of the teams told me last year that he just impressed them so much.  I just feel like this year going in there healthy, he will do a lot more than he did last year at Chicago.


Weíve sent each team about eight tapes on Ricky and normally agents only send out about two.  But, we understand because he is coming from a smaller conference, sometimes they havenít seen him a lot in competition.  A lot of the teams hadnít watched all the tapes and after having watched him workout in person, they said they were going to watch those tapes.


Indiana was one of the teams that watched all of the tapes and they were so impressed that they wanted Larry Bird to come and watch Ricky.  Normally the vice-presidents donít come to the camps and Ricky had 24 points, went 10-for-11 from the field and 2-for-2 from three-point range and Larry Bird said he had seen enough.  As a matter of fact he left after that and I told Ricky thatís what he needed to do in camp to verify what he did in the OVC for four years.


Rickyís been having so many great workouts and a lot of teamís have apologized for not being aware of Ricky after they watched him work out.  Iíve been very persistent with these teams about Ricky, with lots of phone calls and sending them tapes.  Theyíve told Ricky he was lucky to have an agent do that for him and that most agents werenít so insistent, but these teams need to know about Ricky Minard.


Weíve been working very hard, having started on April 27.  Tomorrow (May 27) he works out for the Hornets.  He has Boston on June 1 and June 2, then the Knicks on June 3 and the Indiana Pacers on June 4. Ricky is probably the only guy who has had three stretches of four straight workouts in four different cities.  A lot of agents wouldnít let their clients work out that much, but when I call Ricky and say this team wants you on this day he says, ďthatís fun.Ē  And I say, ďRicky, thatís four teams in four cities in four days, he says, ďhey, this is my life, my dream and this is what I have to do.Ē  These teams are just amazed by the way he has been working day after day and still comes in and works out like itís his last chance.  Iím amazed that he can maintain that high level of intensity.  I try to spread it out, but these teams want you in there with the guys that they are considering.  So you really donít have any control over what days the workouts are going to be on unless you are a top-five pick and can pull some weight.  Ricky hasnít been complaining at all and heís been producing.


CHN: Ricky, obviously playing at Morehead in the OVC limits even the better playersí exposure. You signed early in you high school career with Morehead and I know it was easier with your high school teammate, Marquis Sykes, being at Morehead.  In hindsight, would it have helped Ricky Minard to have signed later and with a high-major college?  I mean, itís evident you had the skills to be an impact player in any conference.


Ricky Minard: You know, I wouldnít change a thing if given the chance.  I had a great career at Morehead and in the OVC and was very fortunate that God gave me the ability and skill to have a successful career there.


CHN: Does watching former Austin Peay Governor, and OVC great, Trenton Hassell having a nice season starting with Minnesota boost your confidence that you are ready to play and enjoy the same level of success at the NBA level?


Minard: Yeah it does really.  I had a chance to play as a freshman against Trenton and it really motivates me to see him succeed as a player in the league, coming from the Ohio Valley and knowing I played and competed with him


CHN: After your junior season at Morehead, you were one of 55 college players invited to Chicago, Illinois for the NBA pre-draft camp. Obviously that experience helped you mature, not only as a player, but as a person.  What are your feelings on that experience?


Minard: It really did help me mature as a person and player.  I got to see the talent level there and where I needed to be as a player to succeed in the NBA.  It motivated me to develop myself into a more complete player and was a terrific experience.


CHN: What areas/aspects of your game have improved during your senior year after having withdrawn your name last season and returning to Morehead?


Minard: Distributing the basketball and involving my teammates more and using my talents to help my team succeed.  My decision making skills are much better as well.


CHN: Did the injury situation at Morehead this season and its affect of you playing some point guard, a position many feel you will have to play at the next level, help your game become even more complete as a combo guard and somehow help prepare you to play the point in the NBA?


Minard: The injury situation really wasnĎt a big factor for me.  The offense more or less ran through me much of the time and I already was used to bringing the ball up the court and involving my teammates, so it wasnĎt really an issue.


CHN: With some sleeper guards from last year at Portsmouth having successful rookie seasons in the NBA, did your 17 points per game average and having two huge scoring games at the PIT really raise your draft stock?


Minard: Yeah, a lot of eyes got opened by my game at Portsmouth.  A lot of scouts and personnel from NBA teams got a first-hand look at my abilities and the responses were positive.


CHN: How do you feel you rate, after some workouts for NBA teams, in comparison to say Luke Jackson, Kirk Snyder, Dorell Wright and Andre Igoudala?


Minard: Iíd say my game in on par with those guys and I compare about evenly.  Other than the fact that I play at 6-4 where those guys play at around 6-6.


CHN: What is the feeling you are getting from the NBA teams as to their reactions to your workouts thus far?


Minard: The reactions have been very positive so far.  Several teams have really raised their interest level in me and I feel my status has really improved.  I think my performances so far have really raised my draft status to some that otherwise might not have been aware of my abilities.


CHN: Is their a current NBA player that you compare your game to and why?


Minard: No, Iím my own player and I donít compare myself to those guys who have already proven themselves and are there. I can only do what my God given abilities will let me to show them that I am ready to play at that level.


CHN: Morehead coach Kyle Macy played seven seasons in the NBA and undoubtedly still has connections.  Has coach Macy been involved in your draft preparation?


Minard: Coach Macy hasnít really been involved with my draft process, but you know heís been busy interviewing for potential coaching jobs and things.  Besides, I have an agent who is doing a terrific job touting my game and I havenít really needed coach to be that involved.


CHN: Hypothetically, if the NBA doesnít pan out, what is next for Ricky Minard?


Minard: I guess if I donít make the NBA it is off to Europe to showcase my talents.


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