Young looks back at his memorable predraft workout with Bulls

  • Long before Thaddeus Young signed with the Chicago Bulls to be a veteran leader, he was a teenager touring the country doing predraft workouts.

    Long before Thaddeus Young signed with the Chicago Bulls to be a veteran leader, he was a teenager touring the country doing predraft workouts. Associated Press

Updated 12/1/2019 7:47 PM

Thaddeus Young's history with the Bulls didn't begin when he signed as a free agent in July.

Back in the summer of 2007, he was a one-and-done, early entry draft prospect and visited the Berto Center for a memorable workout. He sat down recently to talk about that early visit to Deerfield.


"The coach was Scott Skiles at the time," Young said. "He came in and he just started yelling for no reason. He was just like, 'You (expletive) think you're the kings of the world. You've got another thing coming!' He was like, 'The way you're working out, you'll never play in this league!'

"It was crazy. But I understood where he was coming from. Like I understood the craziness, where he was coming from."

Young said he found sympathy in the locker room from Tyrus Thomas, who played for the Bulls at the time.

"I came into the locker room and he was like, 'Yeah, man he's crazy,'" Young said. "I was like, 'I feel it. I understand.' He wants to go harder. He wants us to understand what being in the league is like and to value possessions in this league and value being a part of this league and even be considered to be drafted in this league."

The high-intensity predraft workout has faded away in recent years. The Bulls could only get a couple of the top prospects to even visit this summer. Coby White flew into Chicago, but just did an interview, not a workout.

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Back in Young's era, it was common for teams to schedule multiple draft prospects to come in and compete against each other. The Bulls were aggressive about bringing guys in during those days and held the No. 9 pick in 2007.

"That period was just crazy," Young said. "Guys had three or four weeks to get as many workouts as possible. I think I ended up doing like 13 workouts in a two-and-a-half, three-week span.

"My (Bulls) workout, it was me, Acie Law, Stephane Lasmy (6-8 forward from UMass) and Javaris Crittendon, my (Georgia Tech) teammate. It actually ended up being a pretty good workout, but most of the workout Javaris and Acie Law were battling the whole time. They wouldn't pass the ball because they both were battling for top point guard in the draft."

The Bulls ended up picking Joakim Noah that year. Young went No. 12 to Philadelphia. Law, who played briefly for the Bulls, was chosen No. 11 by Atlanta.


Young was happy to go that high in the draft. Looking back, he says the Bulls wasn't even his craziest predraft workout.

"No, the craziest one was probably Charlotte," Young said. "They made us do all these crazy drills before we even started touching a basketball. It was like, how many pushups you can get in a minute, how many one-armed pushups you can get in a minute, how many times you can touch the rim off one foot in a minute. All types of crazy stuff.

"Before I even got to the workout, I was tired. Then (Michael) Jordan walked in. So we were all dog tired, then tried to start playing one-on-one. It was just bad, it was a bad workout. It wasn't bad just for me, it was a sloppy workout for all the guys because we were so dog tired before we even touched a basketball."

Now 13 years later, there are less than 10 players still active from the 2007 draft. Young, 31, ranks second in points scored among players in that draft. He'd need to play another 13 years to catch Kevin Durant for first, but is ahead of Marc Gasol, Mike Conley and Al Horford, according to

• Twitter: @McGrawDHBulls


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