If you're throwing a poker party, you had best steer clear of inviting Thunder general manager Sam Presti.
He'd know what you're thinking before you thought it yourself.
He'd know everybody's odds of winning and losing on every hand.
He'd always have enough chips stacked in front of him to make you think twice.
He'd know when to hold 'em, when to fold 'em, and would do so with little change of expression.
Getting a read on Presti would be difficult because the man has no tell.
Behind those chic eyeglasses is the ultimate poker face.
The NBA Draft is just five days away, and we're all wondering what Presti is thinking.
Those who know Presti best have always wondered.
"Reading his mind is almost impossible, and he hasn't changed one bit," said longtime Emerson College basketball coach Hank Smith, the man who coached Presti. "His mind is always on overtime. He works so hard, and that's all he knows. When he was here, he was the ultimate in focus."
Presti was a four-year letterman and served as team captain his junior and senior seasons at Emerson, a Division III school in Boston, where he became the school's first ever Rhodes Scholar finalist.
As captain, Presti asked every team member to sign a contract agreeing to play hard, or face removal from the team.
"Sam wanted people on-board with him with that same attitude, or else he wanted you off-board," Smith said. "If you're not in all the way, what's the sense of being here?"
Presti once took a record six charges in one game.
"He was exactly the kind of player you'd think he would be," Smith said of the 6-foot-2 Presti. "He was very analytical of everything. He researched people, everything we were going to do.
"Who else would take six charges, except someone who's a little bit crazy?"
Presti cringes whenever his name is mentioned publicly. He genuinely wants all attention focused on Thunder players, the coaches and the franchise.
Dodging the spotlight has long been Presti's way.
"With him, it was about doing the job he was supposed to and actually not trying to get credit," Smith said.
Though Presti is at the forefront of the Thunder's quest toward competitiveness, he rarely grants interviews, shares philosophies or takes center stage.
Presti had better learn to adjust, because many eyes are focused on what he has done with the Thunder.
The Thunder went 23-59 last year, winning just three more games than the previous season, so why all this fascination over the 32-year-old Presti?
Our keen interest comes in the form of hope.
Presti provides hope, and his peers also have taken note.
Though the Thunder finished with the fourth worst record in the league, Presti still received one vote for 2009 NBA Executive of the Year.
The five men ahead of him in the voting were all from playoff teams — the Nuggets, Cavaliers, Lakers, Magic and Bulls.
Thunder fans have thought long and hard about Thursday's draft, but they have no clue what Presti has done in preparation.
Not only has Presti and his staff thoroughly evaluated this year's draft, he also has factored in talent anticipated for next year's draft and beyond — plus pending free agency, cap space for his team and all others, salaries of all NBA players and many overseas, his team's summer league roster, developmental league candidates, next February's trade deadline ... you get the idea.
For Presti, next Thursday is merely the next step of many.
Some presume Presti simply will execute either Plan A or Plan B on draft night.
If Memphis selects point guard Ricky Rubio with the No. 2 pick, Presti will respond with Plan A.
If Memphis selects center Hasheem Thabeet with the No. 2 pick, Presti will respond with Plan B.
Life is not nearly that simple for Presti, who no doubt has calculated all trade feasibility quotients and quantitative analytical data, which dove-tail into the great unknown, an NBA Land of the Lost reserved only for those with an acute sense of deciphering what pieces fit best.
Here is the difference between the common man and the man born Sam Prestigiacomo in Concord, Mass.:
Commoners might buy a 1,000-piece rectangular puzzle that's a map of the United States.
Presti would buy a 5,000-piece round puzzle of the planet Neptune, and would finish it three weeks ahead of us.
Some people are just wired differently.
That's Presti, which is why we're dying to know what the man is thinking.