Drake Jeffries (6’5”-G-1999, college: Wyoming, agency: One Motive Sports) is a 23 year old 196cm guard/forward from Mattoon Illinois that signed a exhibit 10 contract with NBA team Orlando Magic. He began his basketball career at Mattoon High School where he also competed in track and field. He began at Minot State (NCAA2) averaging 6.4ppg, 4.3rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 48.4%, 3PT: 40.4%, FT: 68.0%. He then played a season at Indian Hills Community College (JUCO) averaging 9.8ppg, 2.9rpg, 1.1apg, FGP: 47.6%, 3PT: 44.8%, FT: 83.3%. He then completed his NCAA career at the University of Wyoming (NCAA) playing a total of 59 games averaging 7.4ppg, 2.7rpg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 36.9%, FT: 88.2% as a junior and as a senior averaged 10.3ppg, 5.4rpg, FGP: 81.3%, 3PT: 41.0%, FT: 81.1%. This past summer he had NBA workouts with the Detroit Pistons, Indiana Pacers, New Orleans Pelicans and Utah Jazz. He played 1 NBA Summer League game with the Denver Magic. He spoke to germanhoops.com about his basketball journey.
Thanks Drake for talking to germanhoops.com. Where are you at the moment and how is basketball life treating you?
I am currently at home working out and the basketball life is treating me well!
Two years ago you had just finished JUCO and weren’t even an NCAA player yet. If someone had told you then that you would play NBA Summer League and have NBA workouts 2 years later what would you have thought?
I would have never thought I would be in this position today. I was a D2 kid who landed at the right JUCO school who then led me to the best spot for me in Wyoming.
You were on the Denver Nuggets NBA Summer League Roster. What kind of an experience was this for you? Were you a bit in awe at first seeing the kind of players that were playing?
It was a really fun experience! I met a lot of cool guys who were super cool and who were very knowledgeable about the game. I wasn’t really in awe of anyone, just really cool to meet guys.
You played one game against the 76ers. How competitive was the whole experience for you. There are guys that don’t even get to play but just sit on the bench. Do you feel like you did all you could in practice to get that 1 chance or do you feel like you could have had more opportunities.
The one game against the 76ers was super cool to get into. I just knew I had to stay ready the whole time. I definitely had some good practices and felt like I did my all to get some playing time.
You did the most of your opportunity scoring 6 points with 2 three’s in 5 minutes. What will you always remember from these 6 minutes?
I think I’ll just remember hitting those shots. Surreal moment with an NBA summer league jersey on to make those shots as that was always a dream of mine.
Despite hitting 2 three’s, you also had a turnover and missed a free throw. How content were you overall with your performance?
I thought my performance was overall pretty good. I hadn’t got on the floor at all through the first 3 games so getting on the floor and performing like that was good for me. I can always be better but I am happy with what I did.
What was it like battling a guy like Christian Braun who was the team’s first round pick. How much does it motivate you to keep grinding seeing him and how you play. Do you feel like there is so much difference between some drafted and undrafted guys that you saw?
It was really fun battling a guy like Christian everyday. He’s very good and very physical. There is definitely some difference but everyone is at this level for a reason.
Talk a little about the hoopla around the Summer League. There were many legends walking around like Lebron James. Could you make any important contacts while your time there?
I saw and met some pretty famous people while I was in Vegas. Even at mini camp with the Nuggets there were some good guys and players who everyone in the world knows. I was mostly focused on basketball instead of networking
What kind of feedback did you get form the Nuggets coaching staff that will stick with you this summer?
I got feedback that was positive. Just stay the course and stay focused. And that’s what I did. I have always done that and will continue to do that.
What do you feel was the most important thing that you got out of the NBA Summer League that will stick with you as you make those next steps in your career?
I think what will stick with me the most is just the memories I had with the guys. We had a really good group of guys and they made everyday really enjoyable.
Who was the toughest player that you saw on the court in your time in Las Vegas?
There were so many good players in Vegas during SL. There were a few who I really enjoyed watching. If I had to pick 1, I would say Kevon Harris from the Timberwolves who is now my teammate!
Let’s talk a little about your game. If you had to compare your game to an NBA player who would best fit the bill?
I would say Pat Connaughton. We’re both super athletic and can really shoot the ball.
You’re an incredible outside shooter. What other strengths do you have besides just being able to shoot out the lights?
Outside of shooting, I’m really athletic and can guard the ball. I took pride in defense this year because I know how important it is.
I noticed in your senior year that your shooting consistency from outside was up and down. What do you believe will you have to do to correct that has your in your rookie year?
Just staying in the gym will be the biggest thing. Getting up a lot of shots and different type of shots. Training myself to make difficult shots.
What areas of your game are you working on most now so you can continue to improve?
I’m working on my ball handling and finishing right now along with just shooting the ball at an elite level.
You began your college career at Minot State University (NCAA2). Your first year was a red shirt year. How tough were these 2 years and despite that what do you feel was the most beneficial thing that you got out of the 2 years?
My years at Minot State were really good to me. I learned a lot and grew as a player and person and overall got better.
You then took a step back and played with Indian Hills Community College (JUCO) averaging 9,8, 2.9rpg, 1.1apg, FGP: 47.6%, 3PT: 44.8%, FT: 83.3%. Why did you do that? There are enough good examples where taking a step back was worth taking 2 steps forward as numerous players have showed?
I wouldn’t say it was a step back. It was a step up in my career so that I could get to where I wanted to be. Transfer rules don’t allow you to go from D2 to D1 and play right away. You have to sit a year. I knew if I went to a junior college I would be in a great spot to go division 1.
Every JUCO guy I have interviewed have all said JUCO was tough, but an experience they wouldn’t have traded the world for. How was it for you?
JUCO is tough, but they’re right. It’s an experience like no other. You have everlasting bonds with guys and coaches because of the things you go through.
You then played 2 years at Wyoming (NCAA). You made a huge jump in your game as a senior. How do you feel did your game grow in your last year?
I was very happy with the jump I made in my game. I stayed in the gym all summer and off-season to prepare for a big year ahead.
You had an incredible game against Hastings scoring 33 points on 11 three’s. There are hundreds of current and ex NBA players that have never hit 11 three’s in your career. How much does this feat mean to you making 11 three’s?
That was a really fun game for me to hit 11 3’s. My teammates just kept feeding me the ball and I was hot. I knew there would be a day to where I hit double digit 3’s in a game.
How did head coach Jeff Linder groom and prepare you best for a professional career?
Coach Linder coaches really hard and he’s super honest. I think that is what prepared me best for my pro career because he always wants the best for his players while coaching them really hard.
Who won a 1-1 in practice you or Hunter Maldonado?
Haha Maldo and I never played 1 on 1 directly. Only ever in situations in practice. We had some good battles.
Who was the toughest player that you faced in the NCAA that reached the NBA?
I would say Bennedict Mathurin from Arizona who is with the Pacers now.
Please name your 5 best teammates so far in your career?
I can’t say 5 best because they’re all good. My favorite ones to play with though were Max Cody, Dorian Aluyi, Malique Jacobs, Hunter Maldonado, and Graham Ike. That is just from college. I enjoyed every single guy though.
Please list your personal NBA Mount Rushmore?
My Mount Rushmore is Jordan, Kobe, LeBron, and Larry Bird.
What is your personal opinion of the neverending debate of who is the greatest of all-time Jordan or Lebron?
Jordan is the greatest and it isn’t close.
Did you see the sequel to the classic Coming To America in 2021? Shouldn’t they have left it alone?
I did not see the sequel haha.
Thanks Drake for the chat.
Tags : DRAKE JEFFRIE