There are no guarantees in this life, but in a world where everything bigger, newer and shinier gets the most attention, a young man silently plies his trade on fine hardwood courts throughout the heartland of America in hope of realizing a grand dream. This young man was once Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard, a four-year player under the radar of many scouts and the average college basketball fan, doing work at tiny Weber State in Utah. Undeterred, despite the presence of other more high visibility draft picks, Lillard went on to earn the 2013 NBA Rookie of the Year Award and is now an All-Star in his second year in the Association. Now the names changed, but the aims the same. Brampton, Ontarios Melvin Ejim, a senior small forward for Iowa State Cyclones, may be next. With all of the hoopla in college basketball going to freshmen, a couple of whom play in his conference (Kansass Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid,) as well as a sophomore who many thought would enter the NBA Draft last year in Marcus Smart, Melvin Ejim is standing out as the leading scorer on one of the best teams in the Big 12. I had the chance to catch up with Ejim earlier this week. Whats the secret to your success? Its just a lot of hard work and dedication. Those guys [Wiggins, Embiid and Smart] are great players and have the big names in our conference. But were competing. Im playing hard and doing the best I can do to help my team win. Why choose Iowa State? They were the first to recruit me. They treated me well. I felt comfortable from the start with them. I wasnt this heavily recruited guy. They told me I had a chance to come in right away and play…make an impact and I did. Iowa State allowed me to grow and help change the culture here. This being my last semester, I dont carry a heavy class load now. I get to spend a lot more time in the gym, working on my game, getting better. Its pretty typical: breakfast, class, gym, study… What has been the biggest change in how people perceive you now vs. your first 3 years? Ive grown a lot. When I first got here, I was kind of rowdy…my game was unrefined…rough. Some people doubted that I could play at this level. Honestly, I questioned it at times, too. I turned the corner in my junior year when I knew not only could I play and be successful at this level, but also started thinking about what I could do to be successful at the next level. How has coach Fred “The Mayor” Hoiberg helped you and the development of your game? Its been great with Coach Fred. Hes been a friend and a mentor, on and off the court. I mean, he was a star here at Iowa State and played 10 years in the NBA, so he knows what it takes to be successful in college and the pros. Ive grown so much watching him here and how he handles things. Coach is so cool, calm and collected. Watching him helped me to shape my on-court demeanor, where Ive been able to control my emotions when necessary and show them at the right times. What team in the NBA do you see as best fit for Melvin Ejim next season? Really, it doesnt matter. To make it to the NBA is a dream…Id be happy! Any team that is willing to take a chance on me, Id be happy to be a part of. Any team that values an all-around player wholl work hard, comes in with a winning attitude from a winning culture may like a player like me. If Melvin Ejim wasnt playing basketball for a living somewhere next year, what would he be doing? Id be in law school. I want to help people…help society. Thats definitely a goal of mine. Congratulations on being the inaugural Big 12 Scholar Athlete of the Year in 2013, but which would mean more to you: being named NCAA Scholar Athlete of The Year 2014 or being a Naismith Award winner as the best college basketball player in the country? Oh, thats easy. Its a no brainer, really - the Naismith. I knew I wouldnt have any issues with my schooling. That was going to be handled, regardless. While its be great to be an Academic All-American, to be recognized as the best player in college basketball would be a great feeling. It would be a great accomplishment. What helps your draft stock more: dropping the Big 12 scoring record (48 point with 18 rebounds vs. TCU) or winning the Big 12 and eventually a national title, even if you dont play well? Winning is everything to me. Thats my attitude. While hitting 48 definitely got me some recognition in certain places, Id trade that 48 any day to win the conference and win the NCAA title. Winning matters to me. Jaleel Scott Jersey . 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Also in the draft are Vancouver Whitecaps defender Carlyle Mitchell and midfielder Mauro Rosales, as well as Montreal goalie Troy Perkins and defenders Matteo Ferrari and Futty Danso.Players chosen in Stage 1 of the MLS re-entry process have to have their contract option exercised or get a bona-fide offer.The re-entry process covers players at leaast 23 years old with a minimum of three years of MLS experience whose options were not exercised.dddddddddddd It also includes players out of contract who have not received a bona-fide offer and who are at least 25 years of age with a minimum of four years of MLS experience, and/or players at least 30 years old with a minimum of eight years of MLS experience.Stage 2 goes next Thursday with clubs then able to renegotiate contracts with the players.Other former Toronto FC players included in the draft are Edson Buddle, Bobby Convey, Aaron Maund, Nathan Sturgis and Marvell Wynne.Canadian international Nana Attakora, whose contract option was declined by D.C. 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