Last week, Isaiah Livers competed in the 2021 NBA Draft Combine, meeting teams, getting measured and conducting a draft interview with reporters as he continued to recover from his injury. Below, we compile everything he told reporters in full at the event.
How it went with the NBA teams
It’s pretty positive. Talking with teams, interacting with other players is a bit like an AAU meeting as I call it. But it was great. Nothing but respect, the NBA treats us well. It’s hard for me to just sit here and watch because I want to go out and play, but you know how it goes. I slowly come back to court.
How is rehabilitation going?
Yeah, that’s really great. I train every day, and I can (gradually) do more and more. Tomorrow I will be able to do the StairMaster, and finally get out of the boot, be able to walk around with a plate in my shoe. So everything isâ¦ you can see the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s about coming back to the field healthy, not trying to be too quick, just trying to take care of myself. But so far it’s really good. I am able to run underwater, elliptical, cycle, stand, shoot little jumping rabbits without actually jumping. Just coming back there is my main goal and I am delighted.
On who’s been in his ear during the process (like former teammates)
That was a lot of Jordan (Poole). He told me ‘don’t rush, everyone has your CV. They know what you can do, they know what you’re capable of, your potential and all that. There is no reason to rush, just make sure you are 100% happy and happy. If you are outside and move slowly, it will only ruin you. So honestly, he just told me to take my time.
Going through this process with Franz Wagner
Yeah, I was just talking to him the other day, he’s in LA, he’s living his life. I like playing with Franz, he’s a great kid. High hopes and a great basketball player so I’m as excited for his future as anyone else because I know the work he put into it.
On his individual NBA goals
First of all, I am a long term thinker. I don’t really think in the short term. Getting drafted is a priority, but playing in the league is my main priority. So I just entered the field in my first year because I know I can affect the game by winning (basketball). Whatever the coach wants me to do, I can do it. Be a shooter, I can be a shooter, I can create. It is first of all about trusting the coach. I’m going to go in and play my minutes as hard as I can and then get more minutes the next game hopefully.
On the helpfulness of Juwan Howard
A great saying that I guess I would say is I have a cheat code. I have access to Coach Howard, who played 19 years in the league, coached a few years in the league, so he has a lot of knowledge. So I used my last two years in Michigan to really pick her brain. He was super helpful, more helpful than he really needed, and that just shows what kind of guy he is. He’s a really good guy with his head on his shoulders – a lot of guys with that type of lifestyle he’s been living as Coach Howard, he might just retire. But he wanted to come back and train and teach his young Wolverines to be men, and that’s the most important thing.
On the role of John Beilein
Coach Beilein and I spoke right after the season, right after my operation and about three weeks ago he called my mom. He is therefore still fairly well integrated into my family. He was the one who opened the door and the opportunity to come to Ann Arbor, so I will always be grateful to him. Obviously he taught me so much about the game so I will always be grateful to him. He is going to be a friend for life. He’s a guy who pushed me because he knew what I was capable of. There were days when it was difficult, but I’m glad he pushed me through them.
On the role of Juwan Howard after his injury
Juwan, same thing. He’s been a huge role model in my life, and he was there in what I would say were the really important years because I was hurt those two years. And that was a guy who just said to me, ‘Hey man, just check the controllable things, there’s no reason to rush out and do what you can to help the team.’ He really preaches family and sacrifice, and I felt that over the past two years when I was injured, I did what I could to help the team in any way. is. Give experience, calm nervous players.
Watching the playoffs from the sidelines
But other than that, it was much, much, far too difficult to watch the end of the season. I knew what we were capable of, but obviously when you lose any kind of leader in any kind of (sport) it’s hard to win games. So I’m just super proud of the way they played. They played really well, and I don’t know. I was just in the locker room doing whatever I could. I was trying to calm the nerves of the young players, but they have not only prepared for this game, they have been preparing since July, June. If you asked Coach Howard, he would tell you the same thing. He prepares everyone the same, no one is better than the other and we are a team. So it was really hurtful for me not to be with them.
On the teams he’s spoken to so far in the process and what those conversations have been like
Yes, this year I know I’m doing a lot more after the combine. So far I’ve done Utah, the Knicks, Miami Heat, I’ve had the Clippers coming, and then like I said more to come. They want to see my foot, so going to their facility is an important thing after the combine. But it’s the teams, and the energy has been tremendous. I was keen, they all understand my situation. They all know I have a CV so it’s no secret what I can do. So it’s just super positive. It can go a long way, especially when I’m not able to show them what I can do on the pitch right now, interviews are very important. So just having this presentation and telling them about me is really just the key to every conversation for me.
On how he thinks he’s improved coming back for a senior season
Much more patience, leadership and just more dribbling. I had a lot more chances to score the dribble, I know a lot of teams were looking for that. I increased my ball handling ability and my shooting ability. And just the leadership was a huge thing, because Zavier and Jon were leaving and I was the only senior left, so that was the key for me to get into my senior year, that was how I was going to lead this team. and how far can we go? And once I found out after the first practice that the guys were locked up, it was easy from there. They kind of made it easier for leaders because everyone was behaving like leaders in the gym, so we didn’t have to hold anyone accountable. Everyone was held to this standard in practice.
On his rehabilitation schedule
I spoke to Dr Porter, he says I’m ahead of schedule, everything has gone well. I think what’s great is that there hasn’t been a setback. I was very picky about what I did every day in my rehab. So everything is super healthy, my foot is feeling great right now. I got out of the boot, got a plate in it and walked around and can do a lot more every day. So I do not know. I think around the beginning of September, Dr Porter and I talked about when I should be able to get back into the 5v5 game.
On the strengths he thinks he brings to the NBA
Mainly my shot, is going to be very important for me to stretch the ground and versatility. I can keep several positions, I feel that by the second or third year I will be able to play a lot of positions, I hope the coaches can trust me a lot more. But honestly, like you said, every year I work on something new to add to my game, and that makes me better. So I just add this development to my most important game. Wherever I go, wherever I rehabilitate, this is obviously the next step and the key to my future in the NBA.
On his way to college against the G-League
Nothing against going to the G-League, and I think that’s a great idea, but playing four years in college, there’s no such thing. It really challenges you to go through hard times every week. Whether it’s lessons, stuff off the pitch, on the pitch, you really have to be a professional, especially if you’re prepping for the NBA. So, it just taught me to keep my cool, to be mentally tough, like Coach Howard preaches. And going through what I’ve been through with my injuries, I’ve had pretty positive seasons most of the time. I have a good CV of wins, a bad CV of injuries, but other than that it was great. I learned a lot and became a better player by staying for four years and graduating in Michigan.