ELK GROVE, CA - After participating in pre-draft workouts in nine other NBA cities, Xavier Thames returned to Sacramento so that his hometown Kings could get an up-close and personal look at him.
Thames, a senior point guard from San Diego State, who was a star for Pleasant Grove high school in Elk Grove, was part of a six player workout session hosted by the Kings at the team's practice facility on Saturday.
Sacramento was the 23-year-old's 10th visit with an NBA team since the Draft Combine in Chicago on May 15 and 16. Since then, he's had group workouts with Miami, Milwaukee, Chicago, Charlotte, Boston, New York, Orlando, Utah and Indiana - all prior to his visit with the Kings.
"It's been hectic, I'm kind of getting used to all the traveling and things like that," Thames told News10, from his childhood home in Elk Grove. "I'm just blessed (because) a lot of guys don't have the opportunity to do this and workout for teams like this."
San Diego State senior point guard and former Elk Grove high school star at Pleasant Grove, chats with News10's Sean Cunningham about his journey through pre-draft workouts, taking him from city to city, including his hometown Sacramento Kings News10/KXTV
The multi-city tour won't end with Sacramento. After two nights of rest and relaxation with his family, Thames is headed back out on the road to meet with Houston, Dallas, Minnesota, Detroit, Brooklyn, and a then second visit with the Magic in Orlando.
When the NBA Draft rolls around on Jun. 26, Thames will have been worked out by half of the teams in the league. Based off the advice he's received from NBA players, former teammates and his agent, Colin Bryant, this is a positive sign and all part of the plan.
"You want to workout with as many teams as you can so everybody can get a good look at you," Thames said. "So, whatever I need to do to get my name called (on draft day), that's what I'm going to do."
The advice and support Thames has received from former San Diego State teammates Malcolm Thomas and Kawhi Leonard, who was just won an NBA title and the Finals MVP award with the San Antonio Spurs, helps to guide Thames to keep him focused on getting enough rest during the pre-draft process and his preparation for each workout.
After three successful season's under Steve Fisher at San Diego State, Thames led the Aztecs to their best season yet this past season as one of the nation's top teams.
The Aztecs (31-5), led in scoring by Thames' 17.6 points-per-game, advanced to the Sweet 16 where they lost to Drew Gordon's Arizona team 70-64. Thames scored a game-high 25 points in the loss.
The NCAA Men's Tournament seemed to raise Thames' profile nationally. He poured in 30 points in a victory over North Dakota State and 23 points when they defeated New Mexico State. He was also named Player of the Year by the Western Athletic Conference.
Coming out of Pleasant Grove, Thames initially played one season at Washington State before transferring to San Diego State.
It's anyone's guess where Thames will land in the NBA Draft. Projections have slotted him from anywhere to the late first round, to not being drafted.
After the success he had in college, the question is what can he bring to a team at the NBA level?
"(I'm) a guy that's going to go out there and compete, no matter what the situation is," Thames said. "First and foremost, I'm going to go out and play defense because that's I love to do. I'm just coachable, so whatever coach needs me to do, I'll do it."
While Thames bounces from team to team for workouts, he said he doesn't pay any attention to mock drafts, and tries to stay away from social media as much as he can.
Thames said he was most nervous during his first workout in Miami with the Heat, but says coming to Sacramento to audition for the Kings has been the most special.
"As soon as I walked in, I had to take a minute to think like, 'man, I'm really here'," Thames said. "After growing up and watching Peja (Stojakovic), Mike Bibby, Vlade (Divac), Chris Webber - all those guys battling the Lakers. And then to see myself in the same practice gym, I was just real blessed and honored."
Kings assistant general manager Mike Bratz was positive when asked what he thought Thames would bring to an NBA team.
"He's a real solid player; physically strong (and) he does just about everything pretty well," Bratz said. "He's got a nice shot, (he's) a real tough kid (and) defender. So, he does a little bit of everything and I think he can be an asset to a team."
Bratz reiterated what general manager Pete D'Alessandro has said numerous times since the season ended for the Kings; that they desire to acquire more draft picks, particularly in the second-round of the draft. Presently, the Kings only hold the eighth pick in the draft.
San Diego State point guard Xavier Thames, who was a high school star with Pleasant Grove in Elk Grove, talks about his workout with his hometown Sacramento Kings, his pre-draft journey and what he'd bring to an NBA team. News10/KXTV
Bratz said that the Kings lack of draft choices has created a challenge in trying to lure prospects to Sacramento for workouts.
"We don't have a second-round pick as of right now, we're very interested in obtaining one," Bratz said. "We have to convince their agents that we are serious about these players and we do want to take a look at them."
It really doesn't matter to Thames what NBA team he plays for, but for the kid who grew up a Kings fan, he admits it would be special to play in Sacramento.
"Oh, yeah, most definitely, if I had to choose any spot, it would be Sacramento," Thames said. "To play here in my hometown, my family would get to see me and everybody I know. So, if I had a choice, I would want to play here, but it doesn't matter to me."
Whether he's drafted or not, Thames said he plans to be in Sacramento to be with family on the day of the draft.
"I think I'll be here, but I'll be a nervous wreck," Thames said with a laugh. "It's going to be fun though, it's going to be real fun."
Follow Sean Cunningham on Twitter: @News10Sean