Once considered a mid-level NBA prospect, C Meyers Leonard of the Illinois Fighting Illini has shot up many draft boards across the league. After an impressive sophomore season at Illinois, Leonard decided to enter the 2012 NBA Draft, in part to help support his mother, who suffers from certain medical issues.
Leonard recently sat down with TNT's Craig Sager to talk life, basketball and everything in between. Asked what has helped him to improve, to move up so many draft projections, Leonard credited his rigorous workout regiment and his older brother:
He's been a great influence on my life; very hard worker; very respectable... [He] did two terms in Afghanistan. He's tough as nail. And he's always taught me to be a good young man.
And when asked what helped motivate him to enter the draft after just his sophomore season, Leonard said both his mother's condition as well as firing of head coach Bruce Weber helped push him towards the pros:
With Coach Weber being fired -- I committed [to Illinois] my sophomore summer, going into my junior year [in high school] -- so I have a very good relationship with him; he'll be at my Green Room table.
The 2012 NBA Draft begins Thursday night at 6:00 p.m. CDT, broadcast live on ESPN.