Originally written on NBA Draft Blog  |  Last updated 10/16/14
Some of my favorite stories that occur during the time between the end of the college season and the NBA Draft are about the players who show a whole different level of game once they are no longer restricted by their team’s vision.  Many of these stories involve players who weren’t given opportunities or played out of position for the sake of the team.  One of the players who fit the story this season is Rhode Island’s Orion Outerbridge.  A natural undersized power forward that played the majority of his time at center, Outerbridge is much more talented than anyone watching would have guessed.  A top-level athlete who could fill up highlight reels, Outerbridge is now starting to emerge as a definite sleeper who will certainly impress teams when he gets in front of them.  I had the chance to talk to Outerbridge recently while he trains in Boston about the adjustment of his game, his potential and more:

Orion on how his game developed at Rhode Island: “It developed more mentally than any other area.  My first 3 years there, I really didn’t get a lot of playing time, so I was able to watch the game from a different view.  It had me prepared for anything.”   Orion on his strengths as a player:  “I played out of position most of my time at Rhode Island.  I was playing the 5 mostly, also the 4.  At the next level, I see myself playing as more of a 3 or 4.  I think my strengths are my ability to run the floor, to block shots.  I have a lot of versatility to my game on both ends of the floor.”   Orion on what parts of his game he still wants to improve: “Definitely my handle.  If I played the 4 in the pros, I would definitely be undersized, so I will need to work on being able to take the ball from the perimeter.  I’m also working on getting stronger and being more consistent with my shot, especially from 3-point range.”   Orion on the increasing strength of the Atlantic 10 Conference: “The way teams from our conference, as well as other mid-major conference, were able to go out and beat teams from the bigger conferences, it gave us as players a lot of confidence.  We would look at teams like Butler, VCU, Temple, teams that regularly challenge and beat power conference teams, and we knew that if we kept working, we could be capable of the same thing.  As the Atlantic 10 received more exposure, it made it easier for teams to attract players that maybe they couldn’t have before.  The A-10 should just keep getting better.”

Orion on his role at the next level: “Of course I would want to play right away, but I know I will just be coming in, and will do whatever I need to earn my spot.  I know my ability to run the floor and jump can match anyone.  I can be an energy guy for the team.  I can come into the game, try to create mismatches and stretch the defense, play tough defense.”   Orion on preparing for NBA workouts: “I have been working with Bobby Martin up in Boston.  He’s doing a great job working with me, getting my body and my game ready to show what I can do.”
Orion on what he wants teams and fans to know about him: “I I’m not the same player you saw at Rhode Island.  I have been working hard to show what kind of player I can really be.  When all is said and done, I think teams are going to be very surprised when they see what I can do.”

I want to thank Orion for his time and I wish him the best of luck as he looks to fulfill his dream of getting to the NBA.  Thank you also to BJ Bass at RBA Sports for setting up this interview.  Orion is an interesting player right now.  Playing out of position and not getting a lot of time for 3 years may have given people a different perception of how good he really is.  He is a tremendous athlete, but he is now just starting to come into his own as a basketball player.  Orion is definitely a player to keep an eye on as word about NBA team workouts come out.   Check back in the coming weeks for more great interviews and scouting reports as we head towards the 2012 NBA Draft.  Follow me on Twitter - @NBADraftBlog – for updates, leave your comments below, or feel free to email me at ed@nbadraftblog.com

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