PORTLAND -- Exactly four weeks before the NBA Draft, the Blazers held the first of a planned ten pre-draft workouts with NBA hopefuls.

It s exciting to get back in the gym, kind of look to the future, says Blazers General Manager Neil Olshey. You know, we spent a lot of time going over this past season and now we need to start building next season s roster and this is the first step.

Six players worked out early Thursday morning at the Blazers practice facility:

--Dexter Strickland, a 6-foot-3 guard who played four years at North Carolina

--Adonis Thomas, 6-foot-7 forward/guard who played two season at Memphis

--B.J. Young, a 6-foot-3 guard, who spent two seasons at Arkansas

--James Ennis, a 6-7 guard/forward , who played two seasons at Long Beach State

--Richard Howell, a 6-8 forward , who played four years at North Carolina State

--Tony Mitchell, a 6-8 power forward, who played two seasons at North Texas

Mitchell is the only one of the bunch who is projected as a first-round pick in the draft. He was Sun Belt freshman of the year and averaged 13.7 pts and 9.3 rebounds for two seasons.

It s just a blessing, says Mitchell. I m just trying to get my max effort.

The Blazers have four picks in the NBA Draft, which is June 27 in Brooklyn, NY. They have number 10 in the first round, plus 39, 40 and 45 in the second round.

Where you draft doesn t always have as much importance as to how you draft, says Olshey. I think we got a real good player at 40 last year with Will Barton, says Olshey. We wouldn t have expected him to be available at that position. Getting the right player is what s important, not a name awareness player.

The Blazers will hold another workout on Friday.

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