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The Journal Gazette

  • Associated Press Former New Haven and Notre Dame standout V.J. Beachem is predicted to be drafted in the second round of Thursday's NBA draft.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017 1:00 am

Ex-New Haven star 'ready to take that next step' to NBA

Austin Candor | The Journal Gazette

NBA Draft

When: 7 p.m. Thursday

Where: Barclays Center, Brooklyn

TV: ESPN

With the NBA draft less than 48 hours away, V.J. Beachem feels he's in a good place.

In the past weeks, the former New Haven and Notre Dame standout has worked out for 14 teams, including the Los Angeles Lakers, Golden State Warriors and Boston Celtics.

“I could end up anywhere,” Beachem said. “Fortunately for me, I haven't had to do any back-to-back workouts.”

The workouts have primarily consisted of shooting and ball-handling drills with various 1-on-1, 2-on-2, and 3-on-3 workouts.

With a taxing workload, Beachem has paid particular attention to his health.

“I've just learned the value of taking care of your body,” Beachem said. “Getting the right amount of rest and treatment can sometimes go unnoticed in college.”

Beachem averaged 14.5 points and 4.1 rebounds last season for the Irish (26-9).

The 6-foot-8 forward initially emerged as an offensive threat with Notre Dame during his junior season, where he doubled his points (5.9 to 12) and minutes (14.6 to 31.3) and nearly tripled his rebounds (1.4 to 3.9) from his sophomore year.

He put on 20 pounds of muscle during his time in college after weighing only 180 pounds as a 6-foot-7 forward in high school. Regardless of his thin build, Beachem still shined on the court.

At New Haven, he was selected as an Indiana All-Star and helped the Bulldogs to a 2013 sectional title.

“He worked so hard in high school,” ex-New Haven boys basketball coach Al Gooden said. “I knew he had the determination to get where he is today.”

Beachem played for Gooden during his freshman and sophomore years at Harding. When the school closed in 2011 and Gooden took over at New Haven, Beachem came along. 

“Even when I disciplined him, he'd come back the next day and do his job,” Gooden said of his relationship with Beachem. “That's what is so good about him.”

Beachem will be working out for the New Orleans Pelicans today, which will be the last team the 22-year-old sees before Thursday's draft.

Regardless of where Beachem ends up, his former high school coach is confident the forward's time on the big stage with New Haven and Notre Dame has prepared him for the road ahead.

“V.J. understands the language and where the pressure's coming from,” Gooden said. “He's prepared. He's ready to take that next step in life.”

Beachem is predicted to be drafted late in the second round. NBADraft.net has him being selected by the New York Knicks as the 58th overall pick while Gary Parrish of CBS Sports predicts Beachem going 53rd overall with the Boston Celtics.

While names are being called out at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, Beachem plans to watch the draft with his family in Fort Wayne.

“Hopefully it'll be a special night for me Thursday,” he said. 

acandor@jg.net