“Relentless would describe my game”

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Keve Aluma was a late start to playing basketball, but the former Virginia Tech star is now on the verge of finding a place in the NBA after two solid seasons with the Hokies.

Aluma first grew up playing football and hadn’t paid much attention to basketball. However, when he was 6ft 7in tall in high school, basketball offers started coming in and Aluma decided to make the switch and move from the football field to hardwood.

He played the first two years of his college career for Mike Young at Wofford, averaging 4.8 points and 5.2 rebounds during that span. When Young left Wofford for Virginia Tech, Aluma followed him to Blacksburg to further his career.

The transfer decision took his career to the next level.

Aluma earned back-to-back All-ACC second-team appearances after posting 15.5 points, 7.1 rebounds, two assists and 1.1 blocked shots in his final two years. He led the Hokies in scoring each season en route to two straight NCAA Tournament appearances.

Now, Aluma is looking to continue his momentum at the next level.

The 6-foot-8 forward trained with other prospects at Impact Basketball in Las Vegas, Nevada. He’s also worked for teams like the Atlanta Hawks, Sacramento Kings, and Washington Wizards, among others, and has several more to do.

Rookie Wire recently caught up with Aluma to discuss the pre-draft process, what he’s looking to pitch to teams, his college career and more.

Please note: This interview has been lightly edited in its transcript for clarity.

KA: Things are going well. I was able to train with some teams and I have a lot of others on the board, so things went well. I’ve just been pretty much to the gym. I’m in Vegas at Impact Basketball.

KA: They put a lot of (ex-prospect shirts) on the wall there, so it was good. I’m just getting into the flow of what the workouts will be like. It was good to prepare with different stuff there.

KA: Things usually start around 10 a.m. so sometimes we lift first, but usually it’s field stuff and just training and doing different stuff and it’s probably like an hour. Then we’ll get up after lunch and then usually do a bunch of shots after that.

KA: I think that’s probably as important as what we do because I could be anywhere doing different workouts and stuff, but I think it’s better for me to go against other guys and that they push me. Going up against some of the best guys is only going to help you, so going up against some of the best guys is definitely good for me.

KA: I think versatile would probably be the first to describe it. I think I am able to do several things at both ends of the floor. I think just relentless would be the other word to describe my game.

John David Mercer – USA TODAY Sports

KA: I played at Wofford for two years, then I was away for a year. After that, offensively, I started doing different things. I think things started to click when I really started working out and hitting the gym. Before that, I had never really worked on my game or tried to improve. My role at Wofford was really to bounce back, to defend and that’s how I was on the pitch.

Jenna Watson/Indy Star

KA: I don’t want to say that was all my development because I always had that base of rebounding and hard playing and defending but I think taking the next step and wearing a red shirt that year was needed to really work on my game and improve.

KA: I think it was a combination of two things. Really, I haven’t played. I ended up going college for football in my freshman year, but I didn’t play much and it was just a little weird. Then, around the same time that summer, I started getting offers for basketball, so one door would close a bit and the next one would open.

KA: I think footwork is part of it, offensively but also defensively and that’s what I’ve played in defense in football. It’s definitely different, but I think there are similar things in the way you move and keep someone in front of you.

KA: It was good to see and it was fun to play on the team I was on but I think I knew it was a stepping stone and not to get too high and just sort of take this and roll with it. I did a couple threes and was able to get aggressive from there. I thought I played pretty well and was also able to move my feet on some switches.

KA: I actually went to the G League combine last year too. I didn’t score well but I think I could have done other things. In the second game, I rebounded pretty well and had a few blocks and some assists. I think I was able to kind of show that other side even though the offense wasn’t there. I think that has helped and I think keeping your head up and always coming and competing will be good for you.

KA: It was certainly important. One of the main things was just to be in good physical shape and then a constant three. Obviously three-ball is super important, so showing them that I can be consistent with that was really important.

KA: I think my 3-ball is better than people think and also the change and the stuff I showed at Portsmouth. I want that to be part of what people think of when they hear my name, so I just try to show those things everywhere I go.

Darren Yamashita – USA TODAY Sports

KA: This is where I’m definitely different because I don’t know if there’s someone’s game that I’m modeling myself on. I didn’t grow up watching it. Even when I started playing in high school, I didn’t necessarily watch it. I started watching it more in college and that’s when I really got into it.

I think Draymond Green is just elite at everything he does. Guys like that: Grant Williams, Al Horford. There’s a bunch of guys I see and I see things they do. I like some things that a lot of guys do.

KA: I think the Warriors will win in six.

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