Ex-Jag works to get better

When he's not swimming, he's playing pickup basketball games.

 

When he's not working out with former Augusta State assistant Lenny Carlson, he's working with out with current assistant Robbie McKinley.

Garret Siler's college basketball career ended in March. That doesn't mean he has stopped eating, drinking and breathing the sport.

The former Jaguar is doing everything he can to improve his chances of getting selected in June's NBA Draft.

"It's weird. You're on your own," he said. "I realize I like working out. I like getting better."

Siler is doing everything he can to become one of the 60 players selected in the NBA Draft's two rounds. He is currently projected to go to the Portland Trail Blazers at No. 56, according to nbadraft.net. The All-American center, who set the NCAA record for field-goal percentage, is in the process of adding a mid-range jump shot to his arsenal.

He also is trying to lose weight through exercise and by watching what he eats. The 7-foot, 289-pound Siler was told if he gets his weight down in the "270s" he's most certain to get drafted.

"If I have a '2' and a '7' in front of my weight," he said, "I'm good."

Siler improved his stock at the prestigious Portsmouth Invitational earlier this month. The only Division II player among the elite field of 64 seniors, Siler got off to a forgetful start. His first possession, he dribbled the ball off his foot. On his second possession, he got hung trying to dunk. His third touch: turnover.

Finally, on his fourth possession he dunked on an opponent.

"When I first started out I was scared," Siler said. "Once I got that out of the way I was OK. At first I was horrible.

"I wanted to show I deserved to be there like anybody else."

Siler finished the four-day tournament ranked second in field-goal percentage (.636), fourth in scoring (16.7) and eighth in rebounding (8.3 ). He was named to the all-tournament team.

"Nobody really knew who I was," Siler said. "For me to make the all-tournament team was really something."

Last week, Siler said NBA teams like Dallas, San Antonio, and Orlando have requested paperwork from him. Atlanta and Memphis have also shown interest.

Currently, he is in the process of finding the right agent for him.

Also, he's finishing up his education major leading into his May 9 graduation.

After that, he'll like go wherever his agent wants and continue to lose weight and work on his game. He will do that for about a month or so until the NBA Draft. He remains cautiously optimistic about his chances and left playing in Europe open as an option.

"I'm realistic," he said. "If the NBA doesn't work out so be it."

Reach Chris Gay at (706) 823-3645 or chris.gay@augustachronicle.com.