Mills will skip two years for draft
OAKLAND, Calif. -- Patty Mills is prepared to test his talent in the NBA.
The Australian Olympic star and point guard from Saint Mary's College said Monday he will forgo his final two years of college eligibility and keep his name in the NBA draft.
"In my head, I'm 100 percent in," Mills said. "There's a great opportunity for me to play in the NBA this year and I'm trying to make the most of the opportunity."
The 6-foot, 175-pound Mills was among 12 players to work out in two separate sessions Monday for 21 NBA teams at the Golden State Warriors' practice facility. He even campaigned for the Warriors to select him on draft day June 25 so he can stay in the Bay Area.
"It's home away from home for me at the moment," Mills said, wearing navy blue Warriors practice gear and sporting a Golden State towel around his neck.
He said the only way he would return to school would be if enough teams told him before the draft that he should play another college season.
"I haven't heard that as of yet," Mills said.
He is set to leave Wednesday to attend a showcase camp in Italy for European teams, then said he will have workouts with Detroit, Atlanta and Milwaukee.
This draft is heavy with point guards and Mills knows it.
"If you look at it this year, it gives me more motivation," he said.
He is committed to turning pro even if his stock were to drop to the second round, though he is projected as a late first-rounder.
He saw first hand some of the other top players at his position. Wake Forest's Jeff Teague, Eric Maynor of Virginia Commonwealth and Arkansas' Patrick Beverley also participated in his six-player session Monday. About half of the hour-long workout was devoted to drills and the rest to 3-on-3 play.
"They're all great point guards," said Mills, who turns 21 in August. "It's good to come in here and work out with them to see where I'm at and where they're at as well."
Mills, who averaged career highs of 18.7 points, 4.0 assists, 2.6 rebounds and 2.5 steals during his sophomore season at Saint Mary's, broke his hand Jan. 29 against Gonzaga but returned for the West Coast Conference tournament and the Gaels' run to the quarterfinals of the NIT.
He had his hand examined four weeks ago and an X-ray showed it's completely healed.
Mills made a name for himself nationally with his standout freshman season and NCAA appearance with Saint Mary's College. But he became internationally known with his performance in the Beijing Games as the lone college player in the field.
Mills scored 20 points in the quarterfinals against the gold-winning U.S. team full of NBA stars. He also had three assists, two steals and no turnovers. U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski of Duke took notice.
So did Kobe Bryant, who recently offered Mills some advice.
"I still act like a small kid and get excited," Mills said of talking to Bryant. "He said, 'Look, believe in yourself. You showed it against us in the summer.' ... Obviously my Olympic campaign helped me a lot last summer."
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press