English brings confidence to NBA workouts

Among other things, Kim English doesn’t lack for confidence.

He believes things are looking bright – not only for his NBA prospects, but the fortunes of the Missouri team he left behind.

“I think they should win the national championship,” English said Friday after a pre-draft workout for the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. “They’re the best team in the nation.

“They’ve got a lot of guys still there. They’ve got the best backcourt in the nation in Phil (Pressey) and Mike (Dixon). I’m focusing on this now, but I’m definitely a prideful alumnus. I’m looking forward to the things they’ll do next year.”

English is the most likely of the three Missouri seniors to be drafted next Thursday night, commonly projected as a mid-second rounder. Prospects are not as bright for Ricardo Ratliffe and Marcus Denmon, who may face the uncertain prospects of becoming undrafted free agents.

“Teams know what I can do, but I really just come in and try to shoot the ball and defend. Those are my two main aces and that’s what I try to show every time I step on the court,” he said. “It’s looking well. I’m definitely optimistic about my chances on draft night.”

After averaging 14.5 points and 4.2 rebounds and shooting 52 percent overall and 46 percent from the three-point line in 2011-12, English has come on strong in the offseason. He averaged 18.3 points in the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament, the first of the NBA’s pre-draft events.

Playing point guard out of necessity because his team’s roster was shorthanded, English showed he could bring the ball up and initiate offense, important dimensions for a shooting guard.

“It really just showed the personnel my ability to be a secondary ballhandler and initiate offense and, more importantly, guard point guards,” English said. “My ability to guard multiple positions is definitely an asset teams have been pointing out.”

In Friday’s workout, English matched up against Kentucky’s Doron Lamb, one of the top pure shooters in the college game last season.

“We get asked that a lot, who’s the best shooter between me, him and John Jenkins (of Vanderbilt),” English said. “It’s me.”

Lamb, quite predictably, had a different perspective.

“You know I’m the best shooter,” he said. “You saw me out there this season knocking threes down, knocking jump shots down.”

English has established his ability to knock down the jump shot, but he doesn’t want to be pigeonholed as a one-dimensional specialist. He believes the Portsmouth performance opened some eyes to other elements of his game and has used those workouts as confirmation.

“They’ve seen me more, and it’s different when you see a guy on film or in a college game where you get to see him really live and in color,” English said. “I definitely think I’ve been putting my best foot forward and a lot of teams have been taking an interest. I’m really excited about these next five days.

“I’m showing that I am a shooter, but I’m not just a shooter. I’m not trying to prove anything, I’m just being myself.”

He hopes that proves to be good enough.