The 2013 NBA Draft is being dubbed as dry in talent, mediocrity looming throughout its ranks. Few things are more frustrating for an individual than being overlooked. Romero Osby from Oklahoma and Durand Scott from Miami are hardly being mentioned in most mock drafts.
So what is life like for two under-the-radar college seniors trying to gain attention in what is perceived to be a shallow talent pool? The answer to that question is remarkably similar for both players.
In 2011-12, Osby and Scott each had junior seasons where they experienced individual success, but neither opted to enter last summer’s draft. Both admitted their team’s potential in 2012-13 played a major factor in getting them to return to college.
“Even though I had a decent season, I didn’t want to leave the program like that,” Osby says. “I wanted to get the team (Oklahoma) back to a winning tradition.”
When asked about the other factors that kept him in school, Osby said it was a group decision, consisting of his wife, coach and parents. He feels blessed to not have had negative influences egging him to enter the draft when his game still had room to grow. As a result of that decision, Osby enjoyed an even more successful senior season where he was named First Team All-Big 12. He’s the first Sooner to receive any such honor since Blake Griffin.
Scott also credits returning for his senior season for giving him a chance to fine tune his skills. The U’s unexpected run in the ACC and NCAA Tournaments placed him in the national spotlight and garnered him the ACC Defensive Player of the Year award.
They weren’t affected by outside sources, and didn’t grow to resent their time in school. They maintained positive attitudes towards those who were able to enter the draft while they stayed in school. Keep in mind there are some guys that Osby and Scott played with (or against) who were able to bolt for the alleged riches that come with being a professional basketball player.
“I am happy for them,” Scott says. “For someone to be able to go out there and live their dream, that’s phenomenal. I would never take it in a negative way. I would hope to be able to learn from them and go from there.”
They have been patient, but now it is their turn to try for the next level of basketball success. Preparation for the draft requires discipline and a daily routine.
Osby is getting through the draft process by putting family first. He begins each day by kissing his wife and child, listening to some Big Krit and then he heads to IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida to workout. The day’s agenda includes conditioning drills, shooting, hitting the weights, back to the family, then back to the court for more shooting to close the evening. He says he considers basketball a gift that may provide him with a way to take care of his family for the foreseeable future, so it’s important to put the work into it.
Scott is working out twice a day and puts in time with Irv Roland at BluePrint Basketball in Miami. Scott says that he is on call at any moment for any team that may want to see him in person.
“No time to be tired,” he says. “Just have to be conditioned and prepared at all times because you just never know (when a team will call). I’m just enjoying the process.”
Osby says scouts have been surprised with his ability to shoot the NBA three and handle the ball. Despite his insistence that he’s a natural small forward, Osby played a lot of the four spot in college. In the NBA, he says he’ll be able to play either position.
“I definitely think I’m a sleeper,” Osby says. “I don’t think people have really seen what I can do…all the mock drafts don’t matter. All that matters is that one team likes me and is willing to take a chance on me.”
Scott has been shooting the ball with more consistency in workouts than some evaluators expected. They have been impressed with his ability to rebound from the guard spot while remaining a tenacious defender. Scott feels he can guard positions one through three in the NBA and compares himself to defensive stalwarts Avery Bradley, Tony Allen and even Bruce Bowen.
“People are entitled to their opinion on the draft,” Scott says. “The person that goes number one could be the worst player in the NBA and the guy that goes number 60 could end up being the best. You never really know.”
These two players have a natural maturity, which probably stems from the four years they spent in school. Both have NBA influences in the league that help keep them grounded. Osby’s cousin is Travis Outlaw from the Sacramento Kings. He also has close ties to retired veteran Derrick McKey, who is from Osby’s hometown. Scott is very close to Kemba Walker, and often tries to soak up as much as he can from the Charlotte point guard.
“I love the game so much,” he says. “I can learn from anybody in the NBA because they are there for a reason and I am not (yet). I’m just trying to get to where they are at.”
There aren’t any guarantees that either player will have their name called on June 27 in Brooklyn. But as Scott alluded to, draft position alone doesn’t constitute NBA-level talent.
What do you think?
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