Canales deflects focus to Blazers pre-draft workouts

Interim coach does not want to discuss future with Blazers




TUALATIN, Ore. — Kaleb Canales addressed the media Thursday for the first time since the Trail Blazers hired general manager Neil Olshey, who called Canales the “in-house favorite” to be Portland’s head coach.

Canales, however, declined to answer questions pertaining to his coaching future, imploring reporters to focus on the pre-draft workouts and save those queries for another time.

Asked when that other time might be, Canales again redirected the focus toward the workouts.

Fine, then.

In the Blazers practice facility Thursday were: Arnett Moultrie (6-11, Mississippi State), Robbie Hummel (6-8, Purdue), Yancy Gates (6-9, Cincinnati), Marcus Denmon (6-3, Missouri), Chris Johnson (6-6, Dayton), and Alex Young (6-6 IUPUI).

Moultrie was the only one of the bunch expected to go in the first round (Draft Express projects him at No. 19), although he said Thursday that he’s hearing he’ll go somewhere between 9 and 17.

Either way, Moultrie said “perfect fit” is more important to him than specific selection, and that as long as he is with the right team “I could go No. 1 or 60.”

Asked what player he would compare his game to, Moultrie responded, “I don’t like to compare myself to other players.”

Robbie Hummel, on the other hand, could probably compare himself to a few former Blazers — but that’s not necessarily a good thing.

The Purdue product has demonstrated a polished skill set when healthy, but “when healthy” doesn’t encompass a very long stretch.

The 23-year-old forward tore his ACL between his junior and senior years and is about 19 months removed from the injury.

He said that his knee has been the main concern for teams that are evaluating him, but that he is almost 100 percent.

But while Hummel’s knee is still healing, it’s probably in better shape than Marcus Denmon’s right cheekbone.

The guard took an elbow from fellow prospect Chris Johnson during Thursday’s workous, leaving his face cut and cheekbone protruding.

Denmon said that there was no payback, and that catching an elbow is simply the result of playing tight defense sometimes.