This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Tai Wesley is currently working out for the Minnesota Timberwolves, in an audition that includes Derrick Williams, the star from Arizona who is expected to be taken within the top three picks of next week's NBA draft, and could very well be the top selection.

This is a good thing for the former Utah State star. Make that a great thing. It's a major question whether or not Wesley, the reigning WAC Player of the Year, can play at the NBA level. After all, he's very undersized for a power forward at 6-foot-7. But he's got a chance because he can score with his back to the basket and he can pass the ball from the post.

If he can excel at his workout, then perhaps he puts himself in position to be selected in the second round of the draft. The impending NBA lockout hurts him because he doesn't have a chance to be an undrafted free agent and won't be able to play summer league basketball.

However, Wesley has set himself up for a lucrative career overseas at the very least. According to his brother, Mekeli Wesley, Tai Wesley has an offer from a team in Holland worth $80,000 next season should his NBA plans fall through. There he would be able to prove himself and move up within the European Leagues.

Wesley has participated in the Impact basketball camp for the past two months, a bball boot camp of sorts.

"When he got there, they told him that he was out of shape," Mekeli Wesley said. "Tai told them he had been working out for the previous month. He said nobody had ever told him he was out of shape."

Wesley has since transformed his body. He works out for seven hours a day on his game and his body. He now has a nutritionist. The result? He's lost over 20 pounds and is now 220 pounds. He has added four inches to his vertical jump. The weight loss has enabled him to finish better inside, and has made him a better athlete.

"That spin move he does baseline? He used to lay the ball up, now he's dunking it," Mekeli Wesley said.

Whether that's enough to get him drafted remains to be seen. But Wesley, at the very least, has made himself more marketable as an NBA prospect.

Tony Jones

comments powered by Disqus