Besides the big names, there were two players I was actively cheering for last night: Isaiah Thomas and Xavier Silas. And the reason being is that most people assumed they were going to go undrafted. Thankfully, Zeke was picked by the Kings with the 60th pick, but Silas wasn’t so lucky. “Well, I went undrafted,” Silas tweeted after all the picks were in. “All that means is that this journey will be a bit more interesting for you and me. Quote me on this… A journey isn’t a journey without a journey.” You gotta love the positive outlook. So for every Kyrie Irving, there’s a J.J. Barea – a guy who gets overlooked on Draft Night but makes a huge impact in the League. With that, here’s are the top 10 players that didn’t hear their named called last night.
1. Demetri McCamey, Illinois
If the Illini had a better season, then McCamey would have been drafted. It’s that easy. Now he’s going to have to fight his way in. He’s a legit PG with size, and I can think of at least five NBA teams that could use someone like him – most notably the Bulls. After trading Norris Cole to Miami, look for McCamey to fight for a roster spot in Chicago next season.
2. David Lighty, Ohio State
Just like bubble teams in the NCAA Tournament, someone’s gotta be left out of the party. And last night, that someone was Lighty. As his former teammate Evan Turner tweeted, “If lighty doesnt get picked i will be sincerely pissed. 4real.” I guess E.T. was pissed. You can’t be mad that he wasn’t drafted, but expect him to find his way in to the NBA next season.
3. Scotty Hopson, Tennessee
He never quite lived up to expectations at Tennessee, has all the tools needed to be a solid NBA player. Give him some time overseas or in the D-League to get his head right – that is, if he wants to stick with basketball – and he’ll find his way into training camp.
4. Jereme Richmond, Illinois
He didn’t have quite the freshman season that he was hoping for with the Illini, but all the talent is there. Had he stayed in school, he could have been a lottery pick next season. Now he’ll have to fight to make a team. The looming lockout might actually be good for Richmond though, giving him an axe to grind and more time to work on his game.
5. Matt Howard, Butler
His teammate Shelvin Mack was drafted 34th overall by the Wizards, and you know he was hoping that Howard got drafted as well. Until their back-to-back championship game runs, no one really looked at Howard as having NBA prospects. But a couple game-winners will change that. He does all the little things right, so look for a team to take a chance on him in the future.
6. Jacob Pullen, Kansas State
We knew this was coming. I mean, we had Pullen pegged as the best player to go undrafted in our NBA Draft Preview in the Dime #64. But a little adversity has never stopped him from chasing his dream. Even his coach, Frank Martin, took to Twitter last night to defend his guy: “I don’t work for the NBA nor do I understand the NBA but I do understand winning. Look back at Jacob Pullen’s record vs. the guys that got drafted. You will find that he won a lot and also had a better game from a matchup standpoint. Some people like team pictures I like winning.” Enough said.
7. Chris Wright, Dayton
Had he come out two years ago, he would have been a lottery pick akin to Paul George. But instead, Wright graduates from school and now has go out into the real world and find a job. When we got up with him this week, he spoke specifically about his “hard work, effort and energy.” If he’s going to make it, he’s going to need to continue to excel in all three areas.
8. LaceDarius Dunn, Baylor
Dunn is another guy who probably just stayed in school too long. This season, he concluded his career as the all-time leading scorer (2,285 career points) for both Baylor and the Big 12 Conference. Not bad. You’re telling me an NBA team couldn’t use a guy like Dunn for instant offense off the bench? Exactly.
9. Jamie Skeen, VCU
As a senior at VCU this year, Skeen became a beast. Don’t believe me? Just ask the Morris Twins about the time he dropped 26-and-10 on them, thus knocking ’em out the Big Dance. All he needs is an invite to training camp, and he’ll do the rest.
10. Malcolm Delaney, Virginia Tech
What is it about Virginia Tech and snubs? If it’s not an invitation to the Big Dance, it’s the NBA Draft. After four years, Delaney finished in second place all-time at Virginia Tech with 543 career assists and in third with 2,255 career points. And at 6-3, the Baltimore-bred guard can more than hold his own. Hopefully he finds his way to the league like Zabian Dowdell, a former Hokie who went undrafted in the 2007.
Honorable Mention: Malcolm Thomas (San Diego State), Michael Dunigan (Oregon), Jamine Peterson (Providence), Kalin Lucas (Michigan State), Talor Battle (Penn State), Austin Freeman (Georgetown), Rick Jackson (Syracuse), Alex Tyus (Florida), Ben Hansbrough (Notre Dame), Dwight Hardy (St. John’s), Xavier Silas (Northern Illinois) & Mickey McConnell (St. Mary’s)
What do you think? Should any of these guys been drafted? Who do you think can make it to the NBA from this group?
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