Written by: Andrew Wittry
With only two rounds in the NBA Draft, a handful of talented graduated seniors and second round hopefuls are passed on and left to sign as undrafted free agents, play overseas, or start their post-basketball lives. Scouting reports of “He can’t create his own shot” or “undersized” or a recent injury scare teams off. Whatever the case may be, there was no shortage of undrafted talent this year.
Scott Machado, PG - Iona
Machado lead the Iona Gaels to a 25-8 record and a berth in the NCAA Tournament as a 14 seed. He averaged 13.6 ppg, 5.0 rpg, and an NCAA-leading 9.9 apg. If his assist numbers aren’t enough for a point guard prospect, Scott Machado shot 49.5% from the field and 40% from behind the arc. According to the New York Post, Machado has heard from the Bobcats, Raptors, Cavaliers, Hawks and Rockets. The Atlanta Hawks are the best team on the Iona product’s radar, with a 40-26 record and a playoff berth last season. Between Joe Johnson, Josh Smith, Al Horford, and Jeff Teague, the Hawks have a number of offensive weapons for Machado to be successful in the NBA.
Kevin Jones, F - West Virginia
Jones was the heart and soul of West Virginia’s men’s basketball team. As a senior, he averaged a double-double with twenty points and eleven rebounds per game. Jones was a major reason why the Mountaineers made appearances in the NCAA Tournament all four years that Jones was at West Virginia, including a Final Four run in 2010. Kevin Jones had interest from the Charlotte Bobcats as well as the Cleveland Cavaliers and signed with the Cavs yesterday to a three-year, partially guaranteed contract.
Tu Holloway, PG - Xavier
Sadly, Holloway will forever be remember for his role in the 2011 Crosstown Shootout brawl instead of his fantastic play as a Xavier Musketeer. Last season, Holloway lead the charge for the Muskies, who finished with a 23-13 record and made their third Sweet Sixteen appearance since Holloway’s freshman year. He averaged seventeen points, five assists, and four rebounds during his senior year. Holloway worked out for fourteen NBA teams before this year’s draft so it is likely that he will be invited to participate in the NBA’s summer league in Las Vegas in mid-July.
William Buford, SG - Ohio State
Buford played significant minutes from his first year on campus at Ohio State. He averaged double-digits in points per game all four years as a Buckeye. His senior year averages were 14.7 ppg, 4.9 rpg, and 2.9 apg. His biggest contribution to Ohio State was his spot-up jump shooting and he can be a marginal player when outside of that role as a shooter. Buford was a member of the Buckeyes when they made it to two Sweet Sixteens and a Final Four. The Ohio State graduate has not had any offers from NBA teams but the international route is definitely available if he would like to continue his basketball career.
Henry Sims, C - Georgetown
Sims took great strides in his off-seasons at Georgetown to progress from a player who averaged less than two points and two rebounds per game to a starter who averaged twelve points, six rebounds, and four assists per game his senior year. Watching Sims have the game of his life by putting up 22 and 15 against Yancy Gates and the Cincinnati Bearcats in the Big East Tournament showed me what kind of player he can be when at his best. Scouts questioned his passion for the game and why it took three seasons for him to put up the numbers that he did last year. The Washington Wizards worked out Henry Sims before the draft but with four players who can play center on their roster, it would be extremely difficult for Sims to make the team if they do invite him to join their summer league team.
Hollis Thompson, F - Georgetown
After averaging thirteen points and six rebounds per game for Georgetown during his junior year, Thompson forgoed his senior year to enter the NBA Draft and must be regretting that decision after not hearing his name called for any of the sixty picks in the draft. Thompson is an excellent shooter, especially from the outside considering his size as a 6’8″ forward. He was a 44% three-point shooter during his three years as a Hoya and made an impressive 46% of his shots from behind the arc during his sophomore year. He worked out for the Washington Wizards and Indiana Pacers and will likely spark interest from an NBA team because of his combination of size and excellent shooting ability.
J’Covan Brown, G - Texas
It is hard to believe that a player who averaged twenty points per game in the Big 12 could go undrafted. Somehow, J’Covan Brown of Texas managed to do so. Similarly to Hollis Thompson, Brown left school after his junior year for the NBA Draft. Last season, he had four thirty-point games, including a thirty-four point performance, going 6-7 on three-pointers, against then #9 Missouri. While his rebound and assist numbers are low, Brown is a proven scorer and those categories are not critical to a shooting guard’s success. The 2011-2012 Big 12 scoring leader will not be upset for long about being undrafted because he was picked up by the defending NBA Champions the Miami Heat as a free agent. The Heat could use some fresh legs and a good shooter like Brown to go along side of veterans Mike Miller, Shane Battier, and Ray Allen (if the NBA’s all-time leader in three-pointers made decides to sign there).
Casper Ware, G - Long Beach State
Long Beach State had more last year than just a cool name, sweet jerseys, and an NCAA Tournament appearance. They also had senior shooting guard Casper Ware, who averaged 17.4 points per game. Ware was one of the leaders on the 49′ers and helped them to a 25-9 record last season. His best performances were his 28, 29, 30, 33, and 38-point games in the regular season, two of which were against Pittsburgh and North Carolina. Of Ware’s three offers, from the Brooklyn Nets, Houston Rockets, and Detroit Pistons, he chose to become a Piston as a member of their summer league team.
Jordan Taylor, G - Wisconsin
Taylor’s best season as a Wisconsin Badger was his junior year, in which he averaged eighteen points, five assists, and four rebounds per game. He shot 43% from the field and from behind the arc and had an 83% free throw percentage. While his senior year numbers weren’t quite as remarkable, he was still a very competitive player in the Big Ten and lead Wisconsin to the NCAA Tournament, where they lost by one point to the Syracuse Orange. Taylor drew interest from the Milwaukee Bucks and the Atlanta Hawks and settled on the Hawks because they start their summer league games earlier.
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