Malcolm Lee is leaving Las Vegas ... eventually
Malcolm Lee could easily wallow in self-pity after being selected in the second round of the NBA draft at a time when there are no assurances there will be an NBA season.
Leave it to a lockdown defender to keep out all depressing thoughts.
"Right now I'm trying to turn a negative situation into a positive," the former UCLA shooting guard said Saturday afternoon while standing in a doorway at Las Vegas Rancho High, where top prospect Shabazz Muhammad, whom the Bruins are recruiting, was playing in a club tournament game. "I'm trying to work on my game, tweaking it up," Lee said.
Lee, who was selected No. 43 overall by the Chicago Bulls and then traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves, is working out in Las Vegas this summer with Joe Abunassar, founder and president of Impact Basketball. Impact's clients have included former No. 1 draft pick John Wall, Avery Bradley of the Boston Celtics and Sherron Collins of the Charlotte Bobcats.
Exactly a month after he was drafted lower than he would have liked, Lee said he still had no regrets about his decision to enter the draft and forgo his senior season.
"I still stand by my decision," Lee said. "I still feel like it's the right move. Right now I've got one foot in the door and I'm going to go from there."
Muhammad said he planned to work out with Lee, which is potentially good news for UCLA fans who hope the consensus No. 1 player in the Class of 2012 becomes a Bruin. Lee said Muhammad deserves the hype.
"He's amazing," Lee said.
Lee said he would return to Los Angeles to continue working out in either late August or early September. If he's lucky, there will be meaningful games to play with the Timberwolves before the end of 2011, providing a chance to ensure a future in the NBA.
--Ben Bolch in Las Vegas
Photo: Former UCLA shooting guard Malcolm Lee chats with a friend in the hallway of a Las Vegas high school gym during one of the summer club tournaments. Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times