BOSTON - In preparation for the NBA Draft, set to be held on June 23 in Newark, N.J., the Boston Celtics are holding private workouts with handfuls of players who are eligible to be drafted. This article outlines information regarding some of the players the Celtics have worked out through June 10, 2011. The info contained on this page is purely a peek into the players' careers and does not in any way reflect the Celtics' evaluations of these players in preparation for draft night.
Nikola Vucevic - USC
Weight: 260 pounds
Date of birth: 10/24/90
2010-11 statistics: 17.1 PPG, 10.3 RPG, 0.8 APG
Why you might know him: Vucevic, a native of Bar, Montenegro, measured out as the tallest player at this year's NBA Draft Combine at nearly seven feet with shoes on. He also had a dominant season in the competitive Pac 10 conference in 2010-11.
Background summary: Vucevic came to the United States to pursue his basketball dream and joined the USC Trojans in the 2008-09 season. In his first collegiate season in the United States, Vucevic put up modest numbers of 2.6 PPG and 2.7 RPG in 23 appearances. Those numbers have spiked dramatically since, rising all the way up to 17.1 PPG and 10.3 RPG. He has a solid body, but despite his size he is still able to shoot. Vucevic nailed 34.9 percent of his 3-point attempts this season, good for fourth on the team. He earned First-Team All-Pac 10 honors in 2010-11. Outside of USC, he was the top rebounder in the 2010 FIBA Europe Under-20 Championship while representing his native Montenegro, with 10.8 RPG in the tournament. Vucevic's numbers suggest that he has the ability to score and shoot from the outside, but he is not afraid of banging down low and battling for rebounds.
Vernon Macklin - Florida
Weight: 245 pounds
Date of birth: 9/26/86
2010-11 statistics: 11.6 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 1.6 APG
Why you might know him: Macklin was a key cog in the Gators' strong run to the Elite Eight this March, where they narrowly lost to the Butler Bulldogs, 74-71 in overtime, in an attempt to reach the Final Four.
Background summary: Macklin is a graduating senior who began his career at Georgetown before transferring to Florida. He played two seasons at each university. He had a strong senior season at Florida that included 11.6 PPG and a career-high 25 points on 11-of-14 shooting in his final game, the previously-mentioned loss to Butler in the NCAA tournament. He shot an average of 59.9 percent from the field in his final three seasons of college ball. He was extremely consistent from a statistical standpoint across the board and can finish around the basket. He did, however, struggle from the free-throw line throughout his career.
David Lighty - Ohio State
Weight: 220 pounds
Date of birth: 5/27/88
2010-11 statistics: 12.1 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 3.3 APG
Why you might know him: Lighty is a graduating fifth-year senior who helped lead Ohio State to the top overall seed in the 2011 NCAA tournament and a 34-3 overall record.
Background summary: Lighty made his name in college basketball with his phenomenal defense. He was one of five players to be named to the 2011 First-Team All-Big 10 Team. Playing a reduced offensive role behind players like freshman phenom Jared Sullinger and several other veteran Buckeyes, Lighty was still able to score 12.1 PPG. He was a consistent shooter throughout his final three seasons at Ohio State, as he shot at least 46.8 percent from the floor in all three of those campaigns and chipped in a 42.9 percent performance from downtown this past season. He had a highlight performance against George Mason in the Sweet 16, when he scored 25 points and shot 7-of-7 from beyond the 3-point arc. He was a consistent contributor throughout his career at Ohio State, as evidenced by his four consecutive seasons of averaging at least 32.0 minutes per game.
Cory Joseph - Texas
Position: Point Guard
Weight: 185 pounds
Date of birth: 9/20/91
2010-11 statistics: 10.4 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 3.0 APG
Why you might know him: As a freshman at Texas, Joseph took over the point guard reigns from Avery Bradley, who was drafted by the Celtics at the 2010 NBA Draft. Joseph was the starting point guard for Texas, which was a No. 4 seed in the 2011 NCAA tournament and narrowly lost 70-69 to eventual Elite Eight participant Arizona.
Background summary: Joseph was one of the top-ranked point guards coming out of high school in 2010 as a McDonald's All-American and opted to play at Texas, where he had a successful season leading his team deep into the NCAA tournament. In his one season at Texas, he accumulated solid statistics across the board and was selected to the All-Big 12 Honorable Mention Team. Joseph shot nearly as well from 3-point range (41.3 percent) as he did from the field (42.2 percent) in his one season at Texas. He scored a career-high 21 points in a regular-season win over eventual Elite Eight participant North Carolina. He is a native of Toronto, Canada, and has starred for his country's national team in several tournaments.
Brad Wanamaker - Pittsburgh
Position: Point Guard/Shooting Guard
Weight: 210 pounds
Date of birth: 7/25/89
2010-11 statistics: 11.7 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 5.1 APG
Why you might know him: Wanamaker, whose name is difficult to forget, was a key contributor to one of the nation's top collegiate men's basketball programs, Pittsburgh, for four seasons.
Background summary: The Big East coaches selected Wanamaker to the 2011 All-Big East Second Team, and the senior also was given the 2011 Big East Sportsmanship Award. He had a great overall senior season at Pitt, racking up numbers across the board and contributing in many different aspects of the game. He notched at least 15 points in 11 games and dished out at least seven assists in 10 games this past season. He is a durable and reliable player, as evidenced by the fact that he played at least 30 games in each of his four seasons at Pittsburgh. He improved during each and every year of his career and finished with a sizable improvement in his assist-to-turnover ratio from his junior season (1.74) to his senior season (2.26).
Demonte Harper - Morehead State
Weight: 195 pounds
Date of birth: 6/21/89
2010-11 statistics: 15.5 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 3.4 APG
Why you might know him: Harper became famous when he drilled the game-winning 3-pointer in the final seconds of No. 13 Morehead State's upset victory over No. 4 Louisville in the 2011 NCAA tournament.
Background summary: Despite having a much more heralded player in Kenneth Faried, Morehead State Head Coach Donnie Tyndall looked in Harper's direction for the biggest basket of the Eagles' history. That tells you something about what's under Harper's skin. He is a scorer, having notched at least 20 points in 10 games this past season, with two games of at least 34 points. He was named to the All-Ohio Valley Conference First Team in 2011, which was his senior season at Morehead State.
Beyond the names that caught national headlines during their collegiate careers, the Celtics have also worked out several players from local schools. Here's a quick list of the local players who have made their rounds thus far in Waltham, Mass.
Charles Okwandu - Connecticut
Weight: 255 pounds
Date of birth: 10/24/86
2010-11 statistics: 15.4 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 0.8 APG
Chaisson Allen - Northeastern
Weight: 190 pounds
Date of birth: 6/1/89
2010-11 statistics: 16.7 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 3.7 APG
Delroy James - Rhode Island
Weight: 220 pounds
Date of birth: 5/4/87
2010-11 statistics: 17.5 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 2.7 APG
Anthony Gurley - Massachusetts
Weight: 185 pounds
Date of birth: 1/21/88
2010-11 statistics: 18.7 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 1.4 APG