Desmond Bane has become a Zoom expert.
He said last week in an NBA Draft Combine call with reporters that he’d virtually interviewed with 26 teams. It came as no surprise that the Sixers were on that list for the 6-foot-6, 215-pound TCU product whose main selling point is that he can sink long-range jumpers and also do a little bit of everything else.
“There’s been a lot of interest with Philly,” Bane said. “We feel good about where we’re at with Philly.”
Bane said his Sixers interview was led by Vince Rozman, the team’s vice president of scouting. He named the Sixers, Suns and Bucks as teams his agent, Seth Cohen of SAC Sports, thought had shown the most interest, in addition to two Bane couldn’t recall at the time. Phoenix’s only pick in the upcoming draft is No. 10, while Milwaukee’s only selection is No. 24. The Sixers own the 21st pick and four second-rounders, including No. 34 and No. 36.
“Shooting is a necessity for them; they need a lot of shooting,” Bane said of the Sixers. “Obviously the attention that Ben Simmons and (Joel) Embiid demand is huge, so guys like me are very valuable that can play off the ball and make shots, have similar success to JJ Redick and Landry Shamet in previous years, running off screens. I feel like I can provide some of those same things.”
Over four seasons at TCU, Bane shot 43.3 percent from three-point range. He’s demonstrated deep range and gets his shot off quickly, too. Bane mentioned Nets wing Joe Harris, another four-year college player and the NBA’s leader in three-point percentage in the 2018-19 season, as a player he tries to emulate.
“It’s all about the footwork, honestly,” Bane said of what he looks to model in players like Redick and Harris. “Seeing how quickly they get their feet down and get their feet pointed toward the basket. And then there’s also this thing (TCU assistant head coach Ryan Miller) used to work with me all the time on — he calls it ‘ABC shooting.’ So A is where you catch the ball, B’s my pocket, C’s the release. The ball’s getting off quick, there’s not a lot of wasted motion within the shot. And that in turn helps you get off threes quicker and more efficiently. Those are things that both of those players do extremely well, and that’s the reason why they’ve had the success that they’ve had.”
TCU head coach Jamie Dixon gave Bane more opportunities to showcase his skills outside of catch-and-shoot marksmanship as a senior. His usage rate rose from 19.5 percent to 24.4, and he averaged 3.9 assists per game, the most in his college career. Offensive versatility, top-tier shooting and defensive toughness and intelligence is a package that should be attractive to a lot of teams.
“I was thrown into a little bit more of a playmaking role this year, and being able to make plays out of pick-and-roll, make plays off of closeouts is something that I wasn’t as efficient in the year before,” Bane said. “I improved in that area a lot. My junior year I was a standstill shooter, catch-and-shoot guy. And then this last year I showed that I can come off of Floppy actions, pindowns and different types of actions, as well as shoot the ball off the dribble, whether it be out of pick-and-roll or transition.”
With a reported 6-foot-4 wingspan and no mind-boggling leaping ability or speed, Bane recognizes he must be excellent in non-measurable parts of the game to thrive in the NBA.
Bane was raised in Indiana by his great-grandparents. He starred at Seton Catholic High School and was one of just 23 students in his graduating class. At TCU, he was known for his durability and character.
The 22-year-old’s unique background helps explain why he understands himself and what’s working against him better than most prospects.
“As far as my length goes and things like that, it is what it is,” he said. “I had a conversation with Ryan Miller, the assistant coach, my sophomore year after I came back from the (Team USA Basketball) camp, and he was telling me how I was an NBA prospect, and he was telling me how I’m not gifted like some of these other guys and I’m going to have to go above and beyond if I want to play at that level.
“That’s why my attention to detail has to be so great, my motor has to be above and beyond everybody else’s. And those are things that I’ve trained myself to do, and it shows. That’s the reason why I feel like I’m in the position I’m in today, is because of my hard work and my discipline with the game.”
Bane’s well-developed sense of self surely hasn’t hurt in all those Zoom calls.