Blake Hoffarber Is Anxious To Start Pro Career
The Hopkins High School Graduate hopes to start his pro career soon.
Minnesota Gopher basketball standout Blake Hoffarber, a Hopkins High School graduate, is like many recent college graduates: He's waiting to find out where and when he'll begin his first post college job.
The NBA holds its annual draft Thursday night. Hoffarber is not expected to be one of the 60 players selected, but he is hoping to get a chance to play in the NBA, NBDL or overseas.
Unfortunately, a potential NBA lockout could mean the summer leagues, where NBA rookies and free agents perform in front of scouts will be cancelled—hurting the chances of players like Hoffarber to earn a professional contract. This has left lots of young players playing the waiting game.
Hoffarber, like most recent college graduates, has an impressive résumé
He's a 6-foot-4, 210-pound guard who finished his college career as one of the top outside threats in the country. The former Hopkins standout is Minnesota's career record holder for three-point field goals with 279 career three-pointers and set Gopher season record for treys in a season with 85 as a junior.
Hoffarber hopes to continue his basketball career after playing in the 59th Annual Portsmouth Invitational Tournament (P.I.T) in April. He was one of 64 seniors invited to play in front of NBA, NBDL, European and overseas scouts and general managers.
Hoffarber helped lead the K&D Rounds Landscaping team to the P.I.T. title as he scored a camp-high 13 points in the 110-93 championship win over Cherry, Bekaert & Holland. He scored 26 points in the three wins and made six 3-pointers.
Hoffarber, who was a 2011 Academic All-American and Honorable Mention All-Big Ten selection as a senior, finished second on the Gophers in scoring with a career-high 13.6 points per game and led the team with 4.1 assists per contest, which was also a career best.
Hoffarber played in a Gopher-record 132 career games and finished his career 18th on the Gophers' career scoring list with 1,267 points. He is also one of only eight Minnesota players to finish a career with at least 1,000 points and 100 three-point field goals made.
Hopkins Patch caught up with Hoffarber Tuesday night to learn the latest on his professional basketball dreams.
Hopkins Patch: You worked out for the Minnesota Timberwolves a few weeks ago. Have you had any other workouts for teams?
Blake Hoffarber: I was training out in Las Vegas at Impact Basketball from 9 to 4 every day and I got a workout with the Milwaukee Bucks last week. It went pretty well out there, so I was pretty happy about that.
Hopkins Patch: Who else worked out with you in Las Vegas?
Hoffarber: There was a bunch of guys out there. Off and on, there was about 40 guys out there. Guys like Kalin Lucas (Michigan State), Keaton Nankivil (Wisconsin), Alec Burks (Colorado), Jacob Pullen (Kansas State), Kawhi Leonard (San Diego State), Greg Smith (Fresno State) and Jon Diebler (Ohio State). Tons of guys.
Hopkins Patch: How long were you in Vegas?
Hoffarber: I was out there for three and half weeks. We went six days a week. We had Sundays off. In the morning, we had workouts with six guys and we did a bunch of conditioning stuff. We would go and do our lifting, which was way different lifting than most of the lifting that I had done. It was more NBA-type lifting, working on your core. We would play pick-up later in the day and do shooting workouts.
Hopkins Patch: How did you feel that you did compared to the other players there?
Hoffarber: Good. I was playing really well out there. There was some NBA guys out there, like Corey Maggette. They always had me on their team, so it was pretty good. I was doing well. I was playing a lot of point guard out there. I was holding my own and doing pretty well out there.
Hopkins Patch: Did that give you even more confidence that you can play with those type of players?
Hoffarber: For sure. Anytime, you are playing against the cream of the crop and the top competition and you are doing well and hitting shots. Playing the pick-and-roll game and coming off there and scoring, definitely gives you confidence and makes you feel good, like you accomplished something.
Hopkins Patch:The bad thing this year with the lockout looming is that there will probably not be the summer leagues in Orlando and Las Vegas in July, where you could have been scouted by the NBA, NBDL and overseas scouts. Has your agent said what you are going to be doing in the next month or two?
Hoffarber: It is a bummer for all of us coming out this year with probably no summer league and a lockout. I probably would have gotten on a summer league team, but I am just going to stay in shape. I am going to workout in Minneapolis, whether it is playing in the Pulley League at night or working out on my own. I have been going to the “U” a lot. There is usually a couple of guys that go up there to get a workout in. I want to stay busy with a bunch of basketball players up here and keep in shape.
Hopkins Patch: Have you thought about where you are going to be playing this season?
Hoffarber: That is the scary part. Right now, if things are not happening in the NBA, we are already making connections with European people. Most of those teams will be calling after the NBA Draft.
Hopkins Patch: Has your agent talked to you about if there isn’t a summer league and there is a lockout that more players than ever might be trying to land deals in Europe?
Hoffarber: Yes. He talked a little about that. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. Some guys might be nervous that if they go over there, they might not be able to get back. The lower guys in the NBA might try to get some jobs overseas, but I don’t know if the top guys will.
Hopkins Patch: Have you even looked into where you might want to play if you go overseas?
Hoffarber: I don’t really know. I just have to figure out my options. I've heard Spain, Italy and France. They would be great to play in, but right now, I am just trying to figure out where I would be the best fit and where the best job opportunities are.
Hopkins Patch: Have you gotten your passport yet?
Hoffarber: I already have a passport, so that is good.
Hopkins Patch: What are you going to be doing Thursday for the NBA Draft?
Hoffarber: I think that I will be watching the draft with my family. This is the class that I grew up with, so I know a bunch of them that have already gotten to the NBA. I think that it will be interesting to see everyone you know. I made some friends with the players out in Vegas, so it will be interesting to see where everyone goes.
Hopkins Patch: How was the experience of playing in Portsmouth?
Hoffarber: It was good. I liked it a lot. It is fun to come out and play with some great players and play in a tournament in front of a bunch of people. It was an honor to be there and I enjoyed every minute of it.
Hopkins Patch: Was it a little bit tough getting to know your seven teammates? You had never played with these guys before.
Hoffarber: It is always tough. You don’t really know each other’s tendencies. Our team adapted pretty well and passes the ball for the most part pretty well. I think that we showed it in the tournament and that is why we won it.
Hopkins Patch: Do you feel that you got better each game as you got to know each other better?
Hoffarber: I think so, especially the last night. We passed the ball a lot better and looked for more people. It showed. We beat the best team along with us. We won pretty easily and I was just glad that we could win the tournament.
Hopkins Patch: How about your own play? Your final game was your best game as you finished with 13 points.
Hoffarber: It is always good to leave on a high note. I started out kind of slow. It is always tough at my position because I am a shooter and not a one-on-one guy. It think that I played a lot better and just played more with the flow.
Hopkins Patch: Did that experience make you want to play professionally even more than before?
Hoffarber: For sure. Anytime you play with the best in the U.S., it is always interesting to see what you can do at the next level, whether it is around here or over in Europe. I’ve decided that I want to keep playing and keep pursuing basketball and hopefully make a career out of it.