With many of the high-profile early entry candidates for the 2002 NBA Draft opting to limit their play in June to individual workouts with NBA teams, college seniors have the opportunity to shine during the 2002 NBA Pre-Draft Camp in Chicago this week.
Standout seniors like Ryan Humphrey of Notre Dame, Darius Songaila of Wake Forest, Aaron McGhee of Oklahoma, Steve Logan of Cincinnati, Predrag Savovic of Hawaii, Preston Shumpert of Syracuse and Reggie Evans of Iowa plan to capitalize on their opportunity and move up in the draft while others sit idle. McGhee already helped his stock by emerging from the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament with MVP honors.
Iowa's Reggie Evans has already had individual team workouts and hopes to elevate his stock further at pre-draft camp.
Jeramie McPeek/Phoenix Suns Photos
The Pre-Draft Camp got underway Tuesday evening at the Moody Bible Institute, with NBA general managers and scouts entering the homestretch of a season’s worth of player evaluation. Following the camp in Chicago this week, NBA teams will have two more weeks at their disposal for individual workouts and meetings back in their NBA cities.
But before that happens, players will have one more golden opportunity to show their stuff in game conditions against other high-level NBA Draft prospects.
In recent years, players who performed well in Chicago often saw their draft status skyrocket. In 2000, Jamal Crawford of Michigan, who had played only 17 college games, wowed scouts and emerged as the eighth overall selection in the draft. Just last year, Steven Hunter of DePaul followed an average sophomore season with a breakout performance at this event, and was chosen with the 15th overall pick in the first round.
Six-year NBA veteran Vitaly Potapenko of the Boston Celtics was a lesser-known big man when he arrived at the Chicago camp after an outstanding junior season at Wright State. Potapenko, 6-10 and 280 pounds, manhandled the competition in Chicago and was rewarded by being chosen with the 12th pick in the 1996 Draft.
Crawford, Hunter and Potapenko were all underclassmen when they captured the attention of teams at the Pre-Draft Camp. But with the draft trending younger these days, many of the players expected to be chosen in the first 15 picks are underclassmen who decided to bypass playing in Chicago. That puts the more experienced players in the novel position of being “overnight sensations” after playing four strong seasons of college basketball.
The camp is comprised of practice sessions each morning, Wednesday through Friday, and games each day at 11 a.m., 5 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. While the playing component of the camp wraps up Friday night, the camp continues through Monday with the combine component, with a handful of upper echelon players joining the camp players in strength and agility testing as well as taking part in a mini-Rookie Transition Program.