Jonathan Watters' Pre-Draft Camp Recap

Jonathan Watters' Pre-Draft Camp Recap
Jun 16, 2005, 01:33 am
Jonathan Watters’ Chicago Pre Draft Camp Recap
(School, class/draft status, Height w/out shoes, Height w/shoes, Weight, and Wingspan listed after players’ name)

Alex Acker, G, Pepperdine, jr, signed with agent – 6’3.75 (6’4.75), 183, 7’0
What we knew: Talented combo guard that didn’t exactly dominate in the WCC, in the draft for good.
What we found out: Acker should have held off on signing that agent, and didn’t stick out at all.

Deji Akindele, C, Chicago State, so, draft status undecided – 6’9.5 (6’11), 236.4, 7’3
What we knew: Great size and athleticism, huge upside, very raw.
What we found out: He’s not close to 7’1, and much, much farther away than anybody could have imagined. Akindele’s offense just isn’t there yet. There were several of these long, athletic center types at the camp, and Akindele didn’t stick out at all.

Mustafa Al-Sayyad, PF, Fresno State, sr – 6’7.5 (6’9), 229.2, 7’4.75
What we knew: Athletic big man that was impressive at Portsmouth. Last minute addition to the camp
What we found out: Al-Sayyad fought hard and showed flashes, but didn’t stick out from the pack.

Alan Anderson, SF, Michigan State, sr – 6’4.5 (6’6), 223.2, 6’9.5
What we knew: An experienced, versatile wing. Will make his name as a roleplayer.
What we found out: Definitely one of the more impressive players at the camp. His numbers were somewhat “quiet”, but Anderson showed the same versatility we saw in his time as a Spartan. He can pull up in the lane, go all the way to the basket, has a decent first step, and is comfortable handling. “tough”, and “does the little things” are two clichés that describe why Anderson will be a 2nd rounder

Sean Banks, SF, Memphis, so, will not withdraw– 6’5.75 (6’7), 206.4, 7’1
What we knew: Super talent, but a headcase. All sorts of personal problems at Memphis, and eventually got kicked out.
What we found out: Banks measured in a bit shorter than expected, but showed the talent that made him one of the best freshmen in the country two seasons ago. Shot lights out in game one, and rose in my eyes when he was willing to take the ball to the basket a bit more in game three. Tough to say where he gets drafted, but I would think a team would be willing to take a flier on him.

Eddie Basden, SG, Charlotte, sr – 6’4.25 (6’5.5), 210, 6’10.25
What we knew: Defensive specialist for the 49ers that eventually developed into a nice all-around talent. Questions about his height…
What we found out: The measurement was fairly solid, and the wingspan explains why he’s able to get so many steals. Basden showed a somewhat streaky jumper, but is a very nice slasher. I didn’t see much out of Basden as a defender, as he was matched up against bigger, combo F types most of the tournament. Basden has a solid handle, and should get drafted.

Mike Bell, F, Florida Atlantic, sr – 6’8.75 (6’9.25), 206.2, 7’1.5
What we knew: An athletic, skilled combo F that originally started his career at NC State. He had a nice Portsmouth camp
What we found out: Bell had a very nice game 2, and even though he remains a bit raw, his length, athleticism, and skill are a very rare combination. He has range out to the NBA 3-point line. Bell still has an “inexperienced” feel to his game, where he tends to force things a bit, but is a potential 2nd rounder.

Dee Brown, G, Illinois, jr, likely to withdraw – 5’11 (6’0), 179, 6’2
What we knew: Electric on the fast break, lightning quick. Has accomplished quite a bit on the college level, but questions about his ability to run the point remain
What we found out: An abbreviated camp for Brown, and the injury probably sends him back to school. He got in a couple of workout sessions and about ten minutes of one game before going down. I was quite unimpressed with his inability to get to the basket in the one-on-one drills. A 5’11 combo guard with Brown’s speed should be able to drive at will in a one-on-one setting, and that wasn’t happening.

Will Bynum, G, Georgia Tech, sr – 5’10.5 (5’11.5), 188.8, 6’3.5
What we knew: Show-stopping athlete, but lacking a PG’s mentality, and very inconsistent.
What we found out: Bynum exploded out of the gate with a series of highlight plays, and continued to play at a solid level all week. His measurements will help him, and Bynum has the skill to play the point guard if he wants to. Probably more of a guy who makes a team as a free agent, but I could see him getting drafted.

Marcus Campbell, C, Mississippi State, sr - 6’10.25, (7’0.25), 280.4, 7’6
What we knew: He’s big, and that’s about it. Had 4 very unproductive seasons at Mississippi State
What we found out: I don’t think Campbell looked nearly as bad as I thought he would when I found out he was playing here, but he certainly isn’t a draft-caliber player, either. Campbell might get a chance to stick around, simply for his size.

Will Conroy, PG, Washington, sr - 6’1 (6’2), 188.6, 6’3
What we knew: Did a great job of running Washington’s accomplished offensive attack next to Nate Robinson. Impressed at Portsmouth
What we found out: The point guards all played pretty well this week, but there is a large group of them: Chris Thomas, Aaron Miles, Anthony Roberson, Carl Krauser. Conroy belongs in that group. He’s got a nice frame, is athletic enough, and is a solid floor general. He could get drafted.

Taylor Coppenrath, PF, Vermont, sr - 6’7.25 (6’9.25), 252.4, 6’11.5
What we knew: A standout mid-major scorer that has a good feel for how to score in the post. A ho-hum Portsmouth camp…
What we found out: There are a lot of players to keep track of at the camp, and Coppenrath never did anything that stuck out to me. Other than looking a bit thicker than he did during his time at Vermont, it was fairly ho-hum for Coppenrath. Nothing was done here that would change a team’s opinion on whether or not to draft him.

Travis Diener, PG, Marquette, sr - 5’11.75 (6’1), 165.2, 5’11.75
What we knew: An accomplished floor general and marksman from long range, Diener’s questions have more to do with athleticism and size than anything else
What we found out: Diener is a much better playmaker than I had ever thought in the past, and I have always been a huge Travis Diener fan. He ran the offense to perfection, always making the right pass, and being productive with every decision he made. The scouts love him, even though he probably is a defensive liability. I think Diener secured a spot in the 2nd round with this camp.

Daryl Dorsey, G, ABA - 5’11.25 (6’0.5), 160.8, 5’11.5
What we knew: Not much. An abbreviated college career, followed by a successful stint in the ABA
What we found out: Dorsey didn’t look out of place, but seemed a notch behind a lot of the other point guards at the camp. Is a nice ballhandler, but isn’t quite tall or athletic enough to make it in the league. Dorsey just isn’t enough of a pass first PG to make up for his physical limitations.

D’Or Fischer, C, West Virginia, sr – 6’9.25 (6’10.5), 242.5, 7’6
What we knew: Talented, yet enigmatic post man for West Virginia. Accomplished as a shot blocker and possesses a very nice midrange jumper for a big man.
What we found out: The height is disappointing, and he just doesn’t look like the shot blocker I thought he was. He has a very nice outside shot, which now extends all the way out to the 3-point line. However, his release is slow, and he doesn’t make much of an effort to play in the post on offense. Fischer has some very intriguing skills for a big guy, but might not have the overall package.

Eddy Fobbs, C, Sam Houston State, sr, 6’10.25 (6’11.25), 235.2, 7’6.25
What we knew: Not the most productive career at a very low level D1 school, but long and athletic.
What we found out: Fobbs is an impressive physical specimen, and he notched the longest wingspan of the entire camp. However, he offers little in terms of skill and got knocked around in the paint all weekend. I would be shocked if he got drafted.

Sharrod Ford, PF, Clemson, sr, 6’7.25, (6’8.25), 212.8, 7’1.5
What we knew: Productive ACC big man that has never garnered much hype from NBA scouts
What we found out: Not impressive most of the camp, Ford did put in a great performance in his final game. He showed off some athleticism in the open floor, and scored a bit with his back to the basket. Where much of the camp it was easy to forget he was on the floor, he was really in the thick of everything that went on. Still, measuring in at just 6’8 in shoes and weighing just 212 pounds probably keeps him from getting drafted.

Torin Francis, PF, Notre Dame, jr, withdrawing – 6’8.75 (6’10), 251.8, 7’1
What we knew: Physically superior big man that had a poor junior season.
What we found out: It wasn’t a good weekend for Francis. In a place where he should have separated himself from the pack due to his physical abilities, he couldn’t anything going. He was mostly quiet throughout the weekend, but when he did do something, it was almost always a negative. His hands looked terrible, and he really struggles to finish around the basket. He was even outplayed by Jermareo Davidson in the 2-on-2 section of Rudy Fernandez’s workouts. Hopefully Francis will head back to school and turn things around after a poor year.

Deng Gai, PF, Fairfield, sr – 6’7.75 (6’9.25), 214, 7’4.5
What we knew: Accomplished mid-major shot blocker that is raw in all other facets of the game
What we found out: Gai didn’t have a good weekend, weighing in at just 214 pounds and not showing the defensive anticipation of a guy that averaged 5 blocks per game in college. He jumped at every shot, and this led to an absurd amount of fouls. The one positive was an improved outside jumper, as he looked fairly good from 18 feet.

John Gilchrist, PG, Maryland, jr, signed agent – 6’1.25, (6’2.5), 195.2, 6’9.25
What we knew: An immensely talented player whose stock took a major fall in the past season as his production went down and he feuded with Gary Williams.
What we found out: Gilchrist stood out all weekend, showing off superior athleticism, great off the dribble ability and a nice outside shot. The wingspan number is quite stunning also. Gilchrist was a terror on the defensive end, as his strength and athleticism were simply too much for the other points at the camp. He really got into it with Carl Krauser in his first game, and decidedly won that verbal battle after locking him up defensively. He’s not necessarily a pass-first point guard, but he also showed the ability to find people on the break. It’s obvious that Gilchrist is a first round talent, but the buzz around the gym was too strong to ignore: this guy is headcase. Seeing him on the floor arguing with teammates doesn’t exactly help his case, either. If he can convince a team that he’s going to be a stable locker room presence, Gilchrist could sneak into the late first. A second round selection is much more likely, however.

Marcin Gortat, C, Poland – 6’11 (7’0), 225.2, 7’3.5
What we knew: I didn’t know anything about Gortat headed into the camp
What we found out: Gortat struggled this week. He has nice size, but his feet are slow and he isn’t going to wow anybody with his post game.

Chuck Hayes, F, Kentucky, sr – 6’5.5 (6’6.75), 232.4, 6’10
What we knew: Your consummate roleplayer, he simply did the little things and won big at Kentucky.
What we found out: It was more of the same from Hayes, as we all know what he offers an NBA team. I will say that his jumper is uglier than I remember it, as he shoots it on the way down. I don’t think he did anything here to keep a team that was going to draft him from drafting him.

Luther Head, G, Illinois, sr – 6’2 (6’3), 178.8, 6’5.25
What we knew: Outstanding athlete and all-around scorer. Shoots the ball well, but might be stuck between the point and the wing
What we found out: Head is more than capable of defending point guards, which is a big deal. He put on a show in game two, hitting 4 of 5 3-pointers on his way to 21 points. Head was all over the court in that game, driving to the basket, hitting jumpers, and locking people up on defense. He has the handle of a PG as well, though maybe not the vision. This camp has to be considered a positive for Luther.

Jared Homan, PF, Iowa State, sr – 6’7.75 (6’8.75), 248.2, 7’1.25
What we knew: Had a very productive spring, doing well in the NCAA tourney and following that up with a good Portsmouth camp. Nice scoring tools and touch. Likes to bang.
What we found out: Homan was one of the bigger disappointments in the camp, and never got the opportunity to show off the jump hook that won him some followers at Portsmouth. He really struggled athletically, and didn’t look good moving up and down the floor. To make matters worse, he measured in over an inch shorter than the 6’10 he was listed at as a Cyclone. In the end, Homan’s lack of athleticism could keep him from getting drafted.

Dwayne Jones, C, Saint Joseph’s, jr, likely to stay in draft – 6’8.5 (6’10), 242.2, 7’2.75
What we knew: Athletic, shot blocking big man. Raw offensively.
What we found out: Jones was impressive all week, showing off strength, athleticism, and an improving skillset. He threw down some thundering dunks, and blocked quite a few shots. His post game is coming around, and it seems like he gets how to score with his back to the basket. It’s too bad his measurements came in a bit short, however. Jones gets picked if he stays in the draft this year, but has a real chance to be a first rounder in 2006.

Mindaugas Katenlynas, F, Tennessee-Chattanooga, sr – 6’7.5 (6’8.5) 217, 6’11
What we knew: Athletic sleeper that came on big this spring. Won the dunk contest at the final four, and then impressed at Portsmouth
What we found out: Katelynas just couldn’t get anything going all week. He shot the ball poorly, forced things, and looked truly stuck between the 3 and the 4. He finally starting hitting some of his mid-post finesse moves late in the camp, but by then most of the NBA scouts were gone. He didn’t look like a draft-caliber prospect to me…

Jason Klotz, PF, Texas, sr – 6’8.75 (6’9.75), 249.4, 6’10
What we knew: Your classic banger big man. Had some success in the Big XII
What we found out: Klotz never really had much draft buzz as a collegiate, so it isn’t surprising that he didn’t stick out in Chicago at all. He’s a nice player, but doesn’t do any one thing well enough to get the NBA interested.

Carl Krauser, PG, Pittsburgh, jr, draft status undecided – 5’11.5 (6’0.75), 193.4, 6’5.5
What we knew: Physical, athletic, somewhat dynamic floor general. Questions about his shot and ability to run an NBA team…
What we found out: Krauser didn’t have the camp he was hoping to have. After looking very good in the first two drill sessions, he was destroyed by John Gilchrist in the first game of the camp. That embarrassment seemed to take the wind out of his sails, and Krauser was quiet the rest of the camp. He really needed to have a dominant camp if he wanted to move up into the first round, and that simply didn’t happen. It looks like its back to school for Carl.

Keith Langford, SG, Kansas, sr – 6’2.25 (6’3.5), 203.2, 6’9
What we knew: Nice all-around player at Kansas that peaked early in his career.
What we found out: Nothing new to report, here. The wingspan is nice, but Langford measured in shorter than he was listed at Kansas, and wasn’t considered an NBA player before the camp.

David Lee, PF, Florida, sr – 6’7.75 (6’9), 229.5, 7’0
What we knew: Very talented finesse big man that never truly broke out into stardom while at Florida. Starting to get some draft buzz in recent weeks…
What we found out: Didn’t really get going until his third game. He wasn’t getting touches, and was looking he regretted attending the camp. However, his big effort on the final day showed that he is a legit NBA prospect. He’s got deceptive athleticism, very quick post moves, nice touch, and a good feel for the game. I could see him going anywhere from one of the last few picks in the first round to the mid second.

David Lucas, PF, Oregon State, sr – 6’6.5, (6’7.75), 233.4, 7’0
What we knew: Was Oregon State’s best player. If he hadn’t gotten hurt, the Beavers would have had a chance to make some noise in the Pac-10. Another guy that impressed at Portsmouth
What we found out: Lucas had a productive camp, staying active around the basket and showing a refined post game. He’s just a hustle guy that knows how to play. His measurements weren’t below expectations, but the fact remains that he is small for a PF. Lucas is the type of player that could have a great career over in Europe.

John Lucas, PG, Oklahoma State, sr – 5’9.25 (5’10.5), 154.4, 6’0
What we knew: A great floor general at the college level. Size limits his draftability.
What we found out: It’s hard to knock Lucas for anything he did at this camp. He ran a team well, and knocked down a lot of outside shots. Nonetheless, NBA teams are going to shy away from drafting a 5’10 guard that lacks blow-by explosiveness.

Jackie Manuel, SG, North Carolina, sr – 6’4.25 (6’5.5), 188.2, 6’11.25
What we knew: Defensive specialist at North Carolina. Always made you groan when he tried to do something on the offensive end, but to be fair, he didn’t get many touches.
What we found out: An injury knocked him out of the camp before it started. But take a look at that wingspan…

Rawle Marshall, SG, Oakland, sr – 6’4.5 (6’5.75), 186.6, 7’1
What we knew: Athletic, lanky, and lean. Played in a small conference, got some exposure when he led his team to an unlikely tournament appearance against UNC. Your classic mid-major sleeper
What we found out: While I didn’t like Marshall as much as some did, Marshall definitely helped himself out in Chicago. He’s a highlight reel-type athlete, and knows how to create his shot. He measured in a little bit short, but looks like a guy that will get drafted in the 2nd round.

Jason Maxiell, PF, Cincinnati, sr – 6’5 (6’6.25), 257.6, 7’3.25
What we knew: Undersized tank of a human being, perhaps the most impressive player at Portsmouth.
What we found out: It was obvious from the first drill that Maxiell was one of the most physically dominant players at the camp. Forget about the measurements, as players couldn’t do anything against him in the paint. His strength would keep big guys from getting good position, and his wingspan and explosiveness led to some of the more ridiculous blocks of the camp. On offense, he gets so low when fighting for position in the post that nobody at that this camp could keep him from getting good position. His explosiveness is nothing short of remarkable for a player so thick. He pulled out of the camp after two days, and I would agree that he had nothing left to prove at Moody. I can’t say much about his draft stock (other than that he will get drafted), but I can say that I am very optimistic about his chances to be a productive NBA player.

Ivan McFarlin, PF, Oklahoma State, sr – 6’5.5 (6’6.75), 228.6, 6’9
What we knew: Undersized PF that was Oklahoma State’s only reliable post option the past two years.
What we found out: McFarlin tried to play wing at this camp, and it just isn’t going to work out for him. He is undersized as an NBA PF, so it looks like he will have to impress overseas.

Juan Mendez, PF, Niagra, sr – 6’5.25 (6’6.75), 231.4. 7’0
What we knew: One of the more productive players in the country at Niagra.
What we found out: We knew he was a little short, but coming in at less than 6’7 has to be considered a disappointment. Mendez is definitely stuck between NBA positions, and he didn’t look good trying to showcase his perimeter skills at Moody.

Pops Mensah-Bonsu, PF, George Washington, jr, draft status undecided – 6’7.25 (6’8.75), 231.4, 7’0
What we knew: Top-notch athlete that hasn’t been as productive in the A-10 as he probably should be.
What we found out: It was more of the same for Pops. There were moments of pure explosiveness that had every scout in the building salivating, but he just doesn’t have the game to go along with it. His hands are poor, and while his offensive game might be slightly improved, it’s still not good enough yet. He would be better served heading back to George Washington.

Aaron Miles, PG, Kansas, sr – 6’0 (6’1.5), 174.6, 6’3.5
What we knew: Your consummate floor general at Kansas. Moves the ball well, plays good defense, and really improved his jumper his senior year…
What we found out: Miles wasn’t spectacular at this camp, simply steady - your classic Aaron Miles. He’s quick enough deal with NBA PG’s and has adequate size. Miles made good decisions all weekend, and continued to flash his improved shooting touch in the drills. He will never be a scorer and doesn’t have more than a backup PG upside, but his stock is solidly within the second round.

Ellis Myles, PF, Louisville, sr – 6’6 (6’7.25), 255.2, 6’9.75
What we knew: A “glue” type PF that Rick Pitino has relied upon since arriving at Louisville. Never considered a star, but has that rugged aggressiveness that all good PF’s need…
What we found out: I find myself doubting whether Myles has the explosiveness in his legs to ever make it as a PF in the NBA. He’s got some nice ball handling and passing skills but in this case, that still doesn’t qualify him as a potential wing. He clearly understands how to play the game, but might have to settle for being a standout in Europe. The Euro scouts we talked to were in love with the guy…

Larry O’Bannon, SG, Louisville, sr – 6’3 (6’4.25), 196, 6’6
What we knew: Slowly developed in his four seasons at Louisville. Is a dangerous perimeter shooter that knows his role and always makes clutch plays.
What we found out: O’Bannon fought admirably, but just didn’t stand out enough. He looked like more of a ball handler than I’d thought in the past, but is still very much a shooting guard.

Drago Pasalic, C, Split Pastik (Croatia) – 6’9.5 (6’11), 238.8, 6’11.75
What we knew: Had a decent camp last season. Had a productive year in the Adriatic League.
What we found out: Pasalic was one of the more productive players at Moody, but I wasn’t all that impressed with his game. He’s not very skilled or athletic, just big. He knows how to use his size around the basket, but I just don’t think his production will translate over well at the next level. He has gotten some positive reviews from other places, however, and teams are always looking for a 2nd round Euro that they can develop for free…

Kevin Pittsnogle, PF, West Virginia, jr, withdrawing – 6’9.25 (6’10.25), 259.2, 6’10.5
What we knew: Had a great NCAA tournament, where he went from a guy struggling to get minutes in a thin frontcourt to one of the team’s go-too scorers. Doesn’t do much else but shoot.
What we found out: Pittsnogle pretty much did what was expected out of him. His shot wasn’t as electric as it was in the tourney, but we all know he can stroke it. He showed little in terms of other skills in the games, though he was a bit more effective in the drills. Pittsnogle has already announced he is returning to school.

Carlos Powell, SF, South Carolina, – 6’5.25 (6’6.75), 221.8, 6’10.75
What we knew: Powell ranged from dominant to non factor in his time as a combo F at South Carolina. Will have to become a full time wing if he wants to play in the NBA.
What we found out: Powell ended up as one of my personal favorites of the entire camp. He definitely has the tools to become an NBA SF. Powell boasts an NBA ready body, an explosive first step, a decent handle, and an improving jumper. His perimeter skills remain raw and his measurements are a bit underwhelming for a SF, but I like the guy. Think Jumaine Jones.

Roger Powell, F, Illinois, sr – 6’4.75 (6’6), 218.6, 6’11.5
What we knew: A four year contributor at Illinois. Despite some impressive athleticism, is definitely stuck between positions.
What we found out: Powell displayed some very impressive athleticism early in the camp, and then got hurt. His size would have made him a Europe-only type player either way.

Ronnie Price, G, Utah Valley State, sr– 6’0.75 (6’2.25), 184.8, 6’5.5
What we knew: Standout scorer playing at the lowest levels of D1.
What we found out: Price certainly wasn’t out of his league. He’s very athletic, and has a nice handle. However, nothing he did every really caught my eye. More of a combo guard than a true point, and that’s probably what hurts him the most.

Anthony Roberson, G, Florida, jr, likely to stay in draft – 6’0.75 (6’2.5), 178.8, 6’2.75
What we knew: Standout shooter and scorer at Florida, but not a natural point guard. Maybe there are some problems with mentality/consistency?
What we found out: Roberson is another guy that probably didn’t show anything the scouts haven’t seen from him before. His release is ridiculously quick, and he will get his shot off wherever he plays. However, he just isn’t a natural point guard, and never will be. His athleticism is also a question mark. Every once in a while he will blow by somebody and shock you, but most of the time he seems to be lacking that quick first step that a scoring guard Roberson’s size needs. He is supposedly not returning to school, even though he has no chance of cracking the first round.

Brandon Rush, SG, high school, draft status undecided – 6’5 (6’6.5), 211.4, 6’11.25
What we knew: Ridiculous athlete that doesn’t have the complete game of a wing looking to jump to the league straight out of high school.
What we found out: Rush looked very tentative and quite overmatched his first day or so, but he really woke up in the second half of his first game. From then on, he looked like one heck of a prospect. He hit his outside shots, and scored repeatedly on unique spinning runner that defenders had no idea how to contest. Rush still rarely gets all the way to the basket, but did look more comfortable putting the ball on the floor than he has in the past. The best way to describe his athleticism is to mention the numerous show-stopping blocks he recorded over the week. Many happened simply because a player lining up a perimeter jumper wouldn’t expect Rush to be able to make up so much ground so quickly. The 6’11 winspan makes a whole lot of sense after watching a couple of those types of plays. This is a guy that likely still falls into the second round this year, but has tremendously increased his stock for the future.

Luke Schenscher, C, Georgia Tech, sr – 6’11.75 (7’1.5), 241.6, 7’5
What we knew: Finesee-type center that anchored Georgia Tech’s frontcourt. Not enough weight, a bit inconsistent.
What we found out: Schenscher is 7’1, and that still remains his most attractive NBA quality. He has a bit of a finesse post game, but Schenscher likely never rises above a “fill out the roster” kind of player.

Tre Simmons, SG, Washington, sr – 6’4 (6’5), 194.2, 6’7.5
What we knew: Surprised a lot of people with his production at Washington. Beautiful jumper, but is he big enough? Athletic enough?
What we found out: I didn’t think he was as dominant as his stat line shows, but this camp had to help his stock. He measured in well, and shot the ball the way he always has. He is never going to be a great athlete, but he actually didn’t look that bad with the ball in his hands. A guy that can burn up the nets like Simmons is always going to get a few looks…

David Simon, C, IPFW, sr – 6’8 (6’9.5), 258.8, 7’3.5
What we knew: His second time at the camp, after an intriguing showing last year. Injuries slowed him this past season…
What we found out: One of the disappointments of the camp for me. He is slow off of his feet, has little in the way of skill, and measured in short. It was mentioned that he looked much better last year and hasn’t fully recovered from his injury problems.

Marcus Slaughter, F, San Diego State, so, withdrawing – 6’6.75 (6’8), 213.4, 6’11
What we knew: Very productive sophomore season caught the eye of some. Athletic combo F.
What we found out: He showed up injured, and is headed back to school.

Steven Smith, F, LaSalle, jr, draft plans undecided – 6’7.25 (6’8.75), 235.6, 7’0
What we knew: One of the stars in the A-10, even if his team was really bad. Combo F type.
What we found out: Smith acquitted himself quite nicely over the week. He’s long, versatile, has a solid skill level, and is very active. After the first game I was thinking he looks a lot like fellow camper Jawad Williams, when Williams is playing up to his potential. Like Williams he is very stuck between positions, but Smith has the look of a guy who can make. He still ought to head back to school, but he has made an impression on the scouts now.

Salim Stoudamire, G, Arizona, sr,– 6’0 (6’1.25), 185.6, 6’4
What we knew: The best shooter in America. Question marks in nearly all other areas, as he is woefully undersized and will never be a point guard.
What we found out: Stoudamire got hurt after only one drill session, but he still managed to make one of the strongest impressions of the camp. In the one-on-one drills, he exclusively took perimeter jumpshots, but made nearly every one he took. Defenders knew he wasn’t going to drive, but were helpless to stop him. He must have hit 8-10 in a row in this manner. Stoudamire is a machine, and is perhaps the best shooter I have ever seen. I’m not sure where that puts him in the draft, but he’s got to be able to help out somebody in the league.

Chris Thomas, PG, Notre Dame, sr – 5’11.75 (6’1), 176.2, 6’3
What we knew: Fighting Irish floor general whose game has supposedly regressed since his freshman season, when he was considered a potential lottery pick.
What we found out: Thomas clearly isn’t the player people once thought he was, but that doesn’t mean he played poorly at this camp. He does a good jump of moving the ball up the floor, and is good at creating his offense. Sometimes Thomas will hold on to the ball too long or try to do too much, but I feel like some of the criticism he’s gotten over the years might be a bit unjustified. He probably doesn’t hear his named called on draft night, but I wouldn’t rule it out.

Omar Thomas, F, UTEP, sr – 6’3.25 (6’4.5), 200, 6’8
What we knew: WAC standout that dominated bigger players in that conference using quick post moves, athleticism, and a mean strek
What we found out: We knew Thomas was only listed at 6’5, but it’s still shocking to see him come in at just 6’3.25 without shoes. It was very clear even in Chicago that he’s not going to be able to play the type of game he did in college at the next level, and that’s a shame. His midrange jumper is money and he does have some WF skills, but even there Thomas is somewhat undersized.

Dijon Thompson, SG , UCLA, sr, – 6’6.25 (6’8), 195.8, 6’9.75
What we knew: Thompson had a turnaround senior season, upping his production and becoming more of a complete player. Creates his own shot, and has nice size. Question marks include toughness on both offense and defense.
What we found out: Thompson still looks a bit soft, refusing to take the ball all the way to the basket. His scoring moves still look NBA-quality, and there was nobody in Chicago that was going to stop Thompson from getting good looks. They didn’t fall until the last day, however. My opinion is that Thompson has an NBA-level skill set, and will have a chance to become a very solid NBA player. He merely showed flashes of that in Chicago, however.

Rony Turiaf, PF, Gonzaga, sr – 6’8 (6’9.25), 237.8, 7’1.5
What we knew: One of the players with the most to lose by coming to Chicago. Physically dominant in the post, with a motor that doesn’t stop. Questions about skill level.
What we found out: Turiaf had a great first couple of days, opening the camp with his typical head of steam. It’s hard not to root for a guy that plays with such passion and cheers his teammates on just as hard. He blocked shots, showed improved touch on his post moves, and generally looked like the most physically dominant big man at the camp. However, as the camp progressed, Turiaf got a bit more quiet. Overall, it wasn’t the dominant camp I expected from him. Nonetheless, he showed why I feel Rony Turiaf ought to be a first round pick.

Robert Whaley, PF, Walsh, sr – 6’8 (6’9), 269.4, 7’2
What we knew: Somewhat of a surprise to him here – isn’t even in the official media guide. Always been talented, but flamed out after a very unproductive half season at Cincinnati. Personal problems have followed him wherever he is gone.
What we found out: Whaley shocked everybody at the camp, displaying a stunningly complete post arsenal. Whaley gets position well in the post with his bulk, is light on his feet, and utilizes a drop step or soft baby hook when scoring with his back to the basket. If that’s not enough, he hit nearly every outside jumper he took, and proved in the shooting drills that he has NBA 3-point range. Still not convinced? Whaley was a terror in the open court, handling the ball a little bit when he wasn’t beating his man down the floor for a dunk. I know it all sounds a little far-fetched, but Robert Whaley probably had the most impressive combination of size and skill of any big man at the camp. Whether this gets Whaley drafted is another story, as his past will continue to haunt him. I know that if I was a GM, I would look long and hard at taking a flyer on Robert Whaley late in the second round.

Eric Williams, PF, Wake Forest, jr – will likely withdraw – 6’7 (6’8.5), 282, 7’4
What we knew: Wake Forest’s imposing post presence. Overpowers people at the college level, and has improved his skill tremendously since showing up as a raw freshmen.
What we found out: People expect Williams to go back to school, but overall one had to be impressed with what he showed. Despite measuring in at just 6’7 without shoes, Williams is built like a tank and has a very nice wingspan. He’s both skilled and athletic, two things I might not have said before watching him play here. He will be one of the top players in the ACC this winter, and will have a chance to be a factor in the 2006 draft.

Jawad Williams, F, North Carolina, sr – 6’7 (6’8), 218, 7’1.25
What we knew: North Carolina’s senior leader. Skilled, athletic, but somewhat of a tweneer. He might look like a first rounder one night, and not be able to do anything right the next
What we found out: If anyone saw their stock fall in this camp, it has to be Jawad Williams. He couldn’t get his outside shot going, and got more frustrated as the week went on. This caused him to start forcing things, he didn’t recover until a decent third game after most of the NBA scouts had left the gym. Williams is definitely a tweener, as he isn’t big enough for the PF, and certainly doesn’t have the ball skills to play full time on the wing. Williams has gotten a lot of exposure over the years, so he could still end up getting drafted. However, he didn’t play like a draft-worthy player this week.

Bracey Wright, SG, Indiana, jr, signed with agent – 6’1.25 (6’2.5), 186.8, 6’10
What we knew: Made an instant impact at Indiana, but never developed into a full-fledged star. Has a smooth jumper and some other scoring tools, but is undersized. Already signed an agent.
What we found out: Wright didn’t do enough to make a big impression on me, and the measurement really kills. The wingspan is nice, but Wright’s NBA future looks quite bleak.

Jonathan’s All Pre-Draft Camp Top 15

PG John Gilchrist
PG Travis Diener
G Luther Head
WG Brandon Rush
WG Eddie Basden
WF Alan Anderson
WF Carlos Powell
WF Sean Banks
F Steven Smith
PF Rony Turiaf
PF Jason Maxiell
PF David Lee
PF Robert Whaley
PF Eric Williams
F/C Dwayne Jones

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