Originally posted on Fox Sports Wisconsin  |  Last updated 6/18/12
ST. FRANCIS, Wis. If Meyers Leonard is anything, he is a physical specimen. With the media surrounding him at the Bucks' practice facility on Thursday, he is a giant among average-sized men. The tallest prospect in June 28's NBA Draft, Leonard looks, on first glance, like he was built specifically to be an All-Star center in the NBA. Teams all across the NBA have seen the same vision since bringing Leonard in for workouts. They see the measurables and wonder. Could Meyers Leonard be the next great center in the NBA? That looming question and the curiosity surrounding Leonard has sent the former Illinois center shooting up draft boards since workouts began. Once considered to be a late first-round pick, Leonard now seems like a lock to be drafted in the lottery. And at the 12th pick, Milwaukee seems to be one of Leonard's most likely destinations. A month ago, however, the thought of Leonard being drafted that high seemed like a just a pipe dream. His numbers were far from dazzling during his time in Champaign, and with just one season of action in which Leonard played serious minutes, his toughness in relation to his size was often questioned. Leonard knows about those doubts. He knew people questioned his decision to leave Illinois after his sophomore season, especially with how badly the Illini's season had ended with his coach fired and his squad seemingly falling apart. But all those trials and question marks put Leonard in a position to send a message to the NBA during the workout process. "There's no doubt in my mind I feel like I had something to prove," Leonard said. "Over the last couple weeks with workouts and at the combine, I feel like I've surprised some people." Consider Bucks' director of scouting Billy McKinney to be one of those people. He admires the physical tools of Leonard just as much as any other NBA scout, but it was other tools that Leonard showed in the workout that had him impressed. Still, he knows not everything can be proven about a player through just workouts. "Meyers is a very good shooter at 7-1, 240 a guy that can really run the floor and pass the ball," McKinney said. "Sometimes the workouts don't do the justice all of the time of what we might see through the course of a game, but it kind of fills in the blanks for us." There are still plenty of blanks to fill for Leonard. Even he admitted, rather honestly, that he got away with using his strength and athleticism to simply overpower weaker players at the collegiate level. But more than anything, aside from the three-times-a-day workouts in Long Island and the endless repetitions built to further craft the physical tools that have gotten him to this point, Leonard has been working on figuring out the game at a professional level. Without a complex understanding of the game, Leonard knows that his physical tools will be mostly for naught when going up against some of the NBA's strongest big men. "At this level, you really have to have a high basketball IQ," Leonard said. "In college, I could get away with using my athleticism some times and just being bigger than some people. I feel like basketball IQ is a big part of it." The potential with Leonard is palpable to anyone with decent eyesight. But the other parts of being the All-Star-in-the-making that his physical tools suggest, well, those parts are still coming together. And with the No. 12 pick in next week's draft, the Bucks may be the team that decides whether the pieces to that puzzle will actually fit. From there, it'll be up to Meyers Leonard to prove that he's more than just a bunch of impressive numbers on a scouting report. But with his meteoric rise already taking shape in this year's draft, Leonard seems to be proving something. Follow Ryan Kartje on Twitter.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Kobe once tried to recruit Dirk Nowitzki to Lakers

Report: Broncos waiting on Manning to talk with Osweiler

NBA commish wants to look into hack-a-player issue

Report: Jose Fernandez has 'soured' on Marlins brass

Zach LaVine dedicates dunk contest win to Flip Saunders

Alleged Manning sexual assault cited in Tennessee lawsuit

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Arian Foster: It's hard for me to watch football

Isaiah Thomas recruiting players at All-Star weekend

Report: Charles Woodson joining ESPN's Sunday NFL crew

Best and worst from NBA All-Star Saturday night

WATCH: Klay Thompson can't go home unless he beats Steph Curry in 3-Point contest

Star players are hurting Houston Rockets

WATCH: Dustin Johnson's son steals Jordan Spieth's club

Fans want Floyd Mayweather to buy their soccer team

Tennessee shares Valentines-themed photo of packed stadium

NY Post writer takes harsh shot at Jason Pierre-Paul

LaVine, Gordon put on best NBA dunk contest in years

WATCH: Thompson beats teammate Curry in 3-point contest

NFL teams, players hand out awesome Valentines

Earl Campbell ‘disappointed’ in Johnny Manziel, wants to help

Big man Karl-Anthony Towns wins NBA skills challenge

MLB commish: Cubs will host All-Star Game in near future

WATCH: Memphis forward recreates Vince Carter's elbow dunk in game

Bruins forward is goal scoring machine after suspension

Michael Jordan gives Kobe Bryant complete set of Air Jordans

College Basketball News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

LaVine dedicates dunk contest win to Flip Saunders

Ranking the ten best free agent pitcher signings

Who had the best NBA All-Star Game of the last 40 years?

The winners and losers of the 2016 MLB offseason

On Kobe Bryant and taking greatness for granted

Bucks need to choose between wins, development

Fantasy booking WrestleMania 32

Unrestricted free agents each team must consider re-signing

QUIZ: Name the winners of the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

Thank you Daniel Bryan

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker