When South Philadelphia's Scoop Jardine hit the practice court at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine for his 76ers predraft workout Sunday morning, the former Syracuse point guard brought along a whole lot of city history.
Jardine, a Neumann-Goretti standout, has turned over the next stage of his career to Jerome "Pooh" Richardson, the former Ben Franklin High star.
Richardson, the first draft pick in the history of the Minnesota Timberwolves (1989), had a 10-year NBA career. Today, Richardson, who led Ben Franklin to the Public League championship in 1984, is part owner of Rival Sports, a full-service sports agency that manages all aspects of professional athletes' careers. Sixers guard Jrue Holiday is a client.
Based in Calabasas, Calif., Richardson has spent more than a month training and conditioning Jardine, who has an outside shot at being drafted in the second round, and former Kansas power forward Thomas Robinson, projected by some to go as high as second. Jardine was joined in the workout Sunday by Doron Lamb, who played guard at Kentucky.
The Sixers have the 15th, 45th, and 54th picks in the June 28 draft. Though it is believed they will select a big man with the 15th pick, they could choose a guard in the second round.
Jardine, who helped Syracuse advance to the Elite Eight in the NCAA tournament, averaged 8.9 points and 4.9 assists in 37 games last season. While teammates such as fellow Philadelphian Dion Waiters, Fab Melo, and Kris Joseph are projected to go higher in the draft, Jardine exuded optimism.
"Right now, I'm turning a lot of heads," Jardine said after he and Lamb spent about a half-hour going one-on-one. "I'm starting to really rise since the workouts started. My dream is just to be drafted. I don't know where at. I'm very confident that I'll be drafted come June 28."
To make that more of a possibility, Jardine, when he is not working out for a prospective suitor, is working out under Richardson's direction. The result is that Jardine's weight has dropped from about 208 pounds during his senior season to about 195.
Richardson, who was born in South Philadelphia, believes that Jardine has the mind-set to excel during these workouts. For him, getting his body where it needs to be was the bigger challenge.
"He already had the discipline," Richardson said of Jardine, who graduated from Syracuse with degrees in sociology and child and family studies. "We have to work the body. I wanted to bring up his endurance and his quickness. He is very savvy. We didn't have to work on that. But the key is to get him quicker, stronger, and more explosive. I didn't concentrate on the basketball as much as I did his body."
Although he was just a year old when the Timberwolves drafted Richardson, Jardine knows all about the former point guard and is honored to be working with him.
"It's like a dream come true," said Jardine, who has worked out for New York and San Antonio. "I always heard about him and looked up to him. So to go out there and work with him and pick his brain was probably the best thing I could have done for my career.
"He's been like a big brother to me since I got out there," Jardine continued. "He knows the ins and outs of it."
Jardine has more workouts scheduled with New York and San Antonio. He's also has workouts scheduled with Washington, Memphis, and Atlanta.
He believes that he can use this time to climb into the second round of the draft.
"You just never know," Jardine said. "It changes every day; even on draft day it changes. My thing is to just show what I can do on a daily basis. I did that today."