Tuesday, June 29, 2010

NBA Draft 2010: Top undrafted players

By John McMullen

New York, NY  - Back when I used to cover the NFL Draft, the seventh round was almost like a four-letter word to the various agents around the league.

The odds of making a club when taken in the final round are slim, so most representatives wanted their client to be passed over so they could sit back, survey things and cherry-pick the most desirable landing spot.

An agent for a borderline NBA player will tell you the same thing -- that once a certain number passes, not getting drafted is a better option since you can pick and choose where to go.

If you are a monster on the glass, look for a team that needs rebounding. If you can shoot the ball, explore teams that need help from the perimeter. If your calling card is defense, give Gregg Popovich or Larry Brown a call.

That said, for aspiring professional players, the draft is akin to Christmas Day. They all know being picked guarantees virtually nothing, but it's an ego thing and a great story to tell the grandchildren.

To a man, every player with whom I've ever dealt channels Cheap Trick, and wants to be wanted. They all would rather be selected, even if it plays against their long-term chances of actually making a roster.

This year was certainly no different and a host of solid, draft-eligible players failed to get the phone call they desperately wanted Thursday night.

Here's my list of the best players that didn't have David Stern and Adam Silver scurrying for the pronunciation guide:

1. - Art Parakhouski - Center (Radford) - The 6-foot-11 Belarus native certainly has the size to play the pivot in the NBA and he is a fundamentally- sound player, but the small school setting and the lack of a larger upside kept him off the draft board.

2. - Matt Bouldin - Combo Guard (Gonzaga) - I thought the versatile Bouldin should have been a mid second-round pick but his shaggy hair must have scared off some NBA execs. Bouldin's agent, Stu Lash, has confirmed the combo guard agreed to a free-agent contract with Chicago and will join the Bulls' summer league team.

3. - Samardo Samuels - Power Forward (Louisville) - The Cardinals' big man was once the top prospect in the entire nation coming out of high school, but his lack of height (6-foot-8) and all-important wingspan clearly scared off most NBA teams.

4. - Mikhail Torrance - Point Guard (Alabama) - At 6-foot-5 with athleticism, Torrance could be a top-tier defensive guard relatively early in his career, but a minor heart issue forced teams to beg off.

5. - Jon Scheyer - Combo Guard (Duke) - A 6-foot-6 player with impressive range on his jumper and a high basketball IQ. Exactly what is the difference between this guy and J.J. Redick?

6. - Denis Clemente - Shooting Guard (Kansas State) - Clemente is a pure shooter with a very impressive NCAA Tournament performance on his resume. I guess size (Clemente is only 6-foot) did him in.

7. - Charles Garcia - Power Forward (Seattle) - I saw Garcia appearing in the first round on some mock drafts midway through the college season but he steadily fell from there. My guess is most personnel people didn't think Garcia has the strength to handle your average NBA power forward on the blocks.

8. - Sherron Collins - Point Guard (Kansas) - Cole Aldrich got quite a few laughs when he compared Sherron Collins to Chris Paul after he got drafted. That's quite a stretch but Collins was a really good quarterback on a really good college team. A lack of height and poor conditioning did Collins in but he did garner a summer league invite from Charlotte.

9. - Brian Zoubek - Center (Duke) - I've got to give a shout-out to a fellow Haddonfield, NJ native. Zoubek has the size and basketball IQ to at least be a Joel Pryzbilla-like defender and rebounder.

10. - Scottie Reynolds - Combo Guard (Villanova) - A poor final NCAA tourney overshadowed four years of solid play by the undersized Villanova guard.
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