"If you're prepared, you have a little more confidence in yourself and I certainly feel more prepared," he said.
Beginning Tuesday, the former University of Wisconsin
standout takes part in the National Basketball Association's version of a job
fair, where he and other NBA hopefuls will play and drill, not to mention be
weighed and measured, in front of scouts and executives from around the league.
The pre-draft camp at Moody Bible Institute in
Each one of their goals boils down to something like this: Make someone fall in love with their game enough to draft them or at least invite them for an individual workout.
Penney, a 6-foot-5 shooting guard who
finished as the Badgers' sixth-leading scorer of all time, probably fits into
the latter category at this point. To date,
he has just one individual workout scheduled (June 17 with
A likely free agent
He probably will go unselected in the June 26 draft but get picked up as a free agent and play in a summer league. His situation could change quickly with a strong performance at the pre-draft camp, though.
"You've seen that time and time again, and that is how I'm approaching it," Penney said. "Sure people have seen me a lot. I've already been evaluated a lot because I've done four years of school over here as well as the World Championships.
"You know it's another opportunity to be able to tell people that you can contribute and you're willing to work hard, and that's what this opportunity is for me."
It is also another chance to fulfill a dream that has already taken him further than he'd ever imagined. Consider that at age 22, he has already played in the Olympics, World Championships, an NCAA Final Four and Sweet 16 and won two Big Ten championships.
"It's just another step you keep elevating your game and finding yourself in different situations and this is the same thing," Penney said. "The opportunity is there."
Proved his mettle
Although Penney scored 1,454 points and was a two-time all-Big Ten Conference selection, his play in the World Championships last summer perhaps left a bigger impression on scouts who questioned his quickness and wondered at what position he fit best.
"At the championships, he played extremely well," said Ryan Blake of the NBA's scouting department. "He's got great knowledge of the game. His obvious tools are his shooting. His handling was somewhat of a question, but we thought his handle against the world was at a high level. These questions were being answered. Yeah, he can play at this level."
Penney became a more rounded player at
Despite that alleged deficiency, he held his own at the
"You've got to be very aggressive," he said. "That's cliche when it comes to camps like this. You've got to shoot it. You can't hesitate and that is a mentality you have to have. You have to go out there and earn yourself a job."
Since returning from
His workout partner has been former
Meanwhile, Penney has been dealing with other aspects of the real world.
Lately, he has spent his evenings packing and cleaning. With teammate and good friend Dave Mader's marriage last weekend, Penney is moving out of the apartment the two shared for the past two years to make room for the newlyweds.
Consider the move symbolic of a new beginning for Penney.
"It was a great time and it all goes by so fast, but all good things come to an end," he said. "And if you move on to bigger and better things, it will all be OK."
Coming Tuesday: Marquette's Dwyane Wade and Robert Jackson prepare for the