Celtics

Ainge Looking For ‘Mental And Physical Toughness’ During NCAA Tourney

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Duke's Jabari Parker, Kentucky's Julius Randle & Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid of Kansas. (Getty Images)

Duke’s Jabari Parker, Kentucky’s Julius Randle & Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid of Kansas. (Getty Images)

WBZFM_Bio_Toucher_Rich Toucher and Rich
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BOSTON (CBS) – While the Celtics VP of Basketball Operations has never drafted a player based solely on his performances during the NCAA tournament, Danny Ainge says you can find out a lot about the makeup of a player during March Madness.

“I think this time of year is telling what players are made of. I don’t think that somebody is gonna come out of the woodwork with a great performance and just come in on the world and awaken anybody in the NBA, but maybe a lot of ties [between players] are broken.”

What Ainge is looking forward to the most is these college players separating themselves from one another, because to him – as he’s said all along – this upcoming draft isn’t as great as everyone’s making it out to be.

“There’s a lot of uncertainty. I don’t think there’s a lot of clear cut guys in the top, the middle or the end of this draft. I think this time of year, the postseason draft workouts, combine camps and so forth will have a big impact on this year’s draft.”

With the round of 64 games set to start in just a few short hours, the guys were curious to find out if Danny is keeping an eye on certain matchups. And while the average person might have filled out a handful of brackets at this point, Ainge admits he hasn’t even started.

“I haven’t even filled out my bracket yet. I’m on my way into the office so I’ll probably fill out my bracket this morning in our little office pool. But I don’t know. I haven’t even studied the matchups and the teams and all that yet.”

When Ainge does eventually fill out a bracket, put on his BYU jersey and sit down to watch the games, he’s looking for a very specific set of skills in determining who he wants to be future Celtics.

“I like competitive guys. Shooting is a big thing. You know, last night we make shots and we win the game. That’s obviously oversimplified, but I like guys that have that toughness. That mental and physical toughness is a characteristics that I gravitate to as much as any.

“I’m gonna watch today from my office. I have four TV’s so I’ll be able to watch four games at once. There are a handful of players I’ll go to see in the NCAA tournament and maybe the NIT tournament.”

Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck appeared on Felger & Massarotti Wednesday afternoon and talked about his team having an exciting month of June, possibly filled with big moves and “fireworks.”

Ainge was asked if the high expectations of his superior put any added pressure on him to be aggressive this offseason, to which he replied:

“No not at all. Listen, we all wanna do some things this summer. We have some objectives. We’d like to be a relevant team next year. But you can’t force it. So no, I don’t feel that pressure. I try to avoid that kind of pressure just to do something. We wanna do something good and right. Patience is crucial as we’re in this process right now.”

Listen below for the full interview, including Ainge’s thoughts on future free agent Avery Bradley and whether or not Brad Stevens can be a good recruiter in the NBA:

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