Asked by @okayandys if @TheReal_TMAC quote: http://bit.ly/ak7T8m was true. Sam Smith's account is accurate: http://bit.ly/aGK7CT Here's what I remember. I was the main contact for agents during the draft when it came to scheduling players' visits. Tracy arrived with his high school coach, Joel Hopkins. I picked them up at the airport. A lot of teams send limousines. I always believed that a Bulls employee should pick prospective draft picks up at the airport. I viewed it as an opportunity to have one-on-one time with a player. Key people in the organizations met with Tracy at different times. The team was seriously considering moving up in the draft to take him. Our evaluation process was extremely thorough. Psychological testing, agility drills measure my sensors and recorded on a computer. On the court drills that test shooting, ball handling, explosiveness and a player's tactical/conceptual abilities. One of the key test that the Bulls conducted was developed by Al Vermiel, who was the Bulls head strength and conditioning coach at the time. Here's something that I'm sure was never made public and probably didn't show up in Tracy's physicals conducted by the league. Al & Erik Helland,current Bulls strength & conditioning coach, would manipulate all parts of the body to gauge a player's flexibility. Through this testing, Al Vermeil predicted that Tracy would have back problems. Al got that one right. Through genetic fate, Tracy McGrady was destined to have problems with his back throughout his career.
Some unique things were done in evaluating Tracy. He was interviewed multiple times by key people in the organization. I can remember having a breakfast meeting with Jerry, Tracy and Joel. I will never forget the look that Tracy had when he put on a Bulls uniform (this was never done for any other draft prospect)and stepped on the Berto Center court to shoot around. The glee that was on his face was indescribable. He just bounced up and down with excitement before heading to the basket. You could just sense that he was feeling that everything he had ever dreamed about in regards to basketball was about ready to be realized.
Michael Jordan was invited to attend Tracy's workout. Michael was consulted. He was also consulted on another player. Antonio McDyess. Michael's input was valued, but after both workouts, the consensus opinion among all the key basketball personnel as well as the owner, was that Scotty Pippen should not be moved for these young players. Even though Tracy thinks Michael killed the deal, he wasn't the only one that shared that opinion. The Bulls explored their options, did a thorough job of evaluating the prospect, and decided that it would not be in the best interest to select Tracy or Antonio McDyess.
ADDED BONUS: Here are my Tracy McGrady H.S. Reports. I first saw Tracy at the ABCD Adidas Camp in New Jersey in July, 1996. He was a virtual unknown going into the camp and was the talk of the camp by the time it had ended. I wrote a few notes on him at ABCD, but prefer to see kids first in their own environment, and then in an all-star format. I would see Tracy play three times with his high school team: Mt. Zion Christian Academy in Durham, NC. I saw him in 12/96 at a tournament in Las Vegas. There was a lot of talent at this tournament. The Collins' twins (Harvard-Westlake),Lamar Odom, and Tayshun Prince were the class of the L.V. Tournament.
I was able to see Tracy against very good competition. Played Mater-Dei in the morning game. Mt. Zion is one of the best high school teams that I have ever seen. Superior talent. Like him as a big
guard, but he will also be able to play the small forward spot. Great basketball body and
outstanding physical tools. Long and lean. Narrow shoulders and very long arms but his sleeve
length is not as long as Odom's. Big hands. Torso is a little long but he has nice proportions.
Outstanding jumper - Great two footed jumper who is exceptionally quick off his feet. Like his
ability to rebound on both ends of the floor. Great quickness to the ball and the ability to control
tips with either hand. Good effort and energy. Impressed with his ability to raise his level of play
in crunch time. Bitch 2 guard skills. Much more aggressive than Odom in looking for his offense.
See some Spreewell in him, but he is a much better attacker than Spreewell from the wing.
Scorer's mentality, with an unselfish streak. Took over championship game in crunch time. His
ability to penetrate off the dribble and finish from the wing is second to none. Great body control
- plays very effectively in space and has the ability to evade defenders and adjust body in the air.
Serious hang time. Excellent speed and quickness. Very light on his feet. Speed and acceleration
in the open court. Makes athletic plays on both ends of the floor. Excellent ball handling skills -
Low handle. I like his makeup. Leadership qualities. Even-tempered. Maintains composure -
keeps his teammate in check. Strong left hand. Handles equally well with his left or right hand.
Offense goes through him when the game is on the line and he makes positive things happen.
Good court vision and solid passing skills. Breakdown game - loves to penetrate off the dribble
and does a good job of passing while on the move. Has play-making ability. Needs to develop
consistency in mid-range shooting off the dribble. So strong going to his left - able to slither
through the open seams of the defense. Follows his shots very well. Will be able to rebound in
traffic. Release is ok. Demonstrates ability to shoot with range from the 3 point line. Will be a
good shooter in time, but it's so easy for him to get to the rim at this level. Go to player. Special
scoring ability - I got chills watching him take over the championship game. Some of his forays to
the basket were something to behold. Excellent footwork. Good first step quickness. Jab step
right, strong move to his left and mid-air adjustment to finish with a finger roll. Great elevation off the dribble and shoots shot as he is coming down. Aspects of his game remind me of both
Jordan and Pippen. He is in their class as an athlete. Stronger than he looks - ability to finish withcontact. Good hands - controls lob pass with one hand. Plays at the point of the press on the
defensive end. Applies good pressure on the ball in the zone. Good work ethic as a defender.
Can cover ground - exceptional ability to recover back to the ball. Ability to challenge shooters on
the wing with his defensive range. Able to power out off a defensive rebound and make plays in
break situations. Great reactions - pursuit and quickness to the ball is exceptional. Has all the
tools to be a great defender. The basketball world is his oyster. I think he is a special talent. He is
an easy lottery pick and would have a chance to be a Number 1 pick if he attended college for a
few years. Would like to talk to Hill to get a feel for him as a person, but my gut reaction is that he
will be a good gamble for a pro team. Type of player who you can build a team around. I like him
better than Odom. I also like the fact that his coach is a taskmaster. Born on 5/24/79.
Also saw him in Durham on 1/10/97 against a poor team: Atlantic Shore.
Competition level was lousy but I am still able to gain some insight about his game. Likes to put on
a show. Playing to the home crowd. Behavior is immature at times - wolfing, staring his man down
after a dunk, etc. Love as a prospect. Great basketball body. Special talent and great physical tools. Has a nastiness about him. Killer instinct - Taking no prisoners even though the competition is
lousy. Jumps so effortlessly and quickly. Does a lot with his left hand. Strong driver to his left.
Great two footed jumping ability. Hits quick three off out of bounds situation. Release looks good.
Hits 3 straight 3' s - shots were not contested. Ability to glide, alter and adjust body in the air.
Excellent body control. Powers up the court with left hand in leading the break - finds the open man
in transition. Will advance the ball on the break. Able to effectively lead the break - able to push the
ball and make the play via the pass. Unreal Dunk - winds up and slams it through - special jumping
ability. Reminiscent of one of Pippen's/Jordan's extraordinary dunks. Like his passing ability in
break situations. Quick, touch passes from the wing. Missing badly from outside in the second half
but shooting will come in time. Has potential as a spot shooter. Obviously I have some concerns
about his ability to compete defensively in the NBA - He will have to be nurtured. Like his
athleticism, body type, and quickness as a defender. He has been playing high defensively but he got
low and applied some defensive pressure in the second half. Shows excellent recovery abilities and
defensive range. Blocks shots with his left hand. Rips the rebound with his left hand and powers out
to lead break.