Sloppy Play at NBA Predraft Camp Wednesday
Posted May 31 2007 2:01AM
ORLANDO, Fla., May 31 (STATS) -- Michael Jordan arrived late and left early.
In between, there was a lot of sloppy basketball Wednesday night at the NBA predraft camp.
"It's basically little jitters, everybody wants to play their best," said former Oklahoma State star Mario Boggan. "We just got here (Tuesday), everybody's been in training. Maybe everybody hasn't been playing full up and down, and might have just been doing drills, conditioning stuff like that. It's probably jitters and a little nerves."
Jordan joined other top NBA personnel, including Kiki Vandeweghe and Boston's Danny Ainge, at Disney's Wide World of Sports to do his share of scouting for Charlotte. While he didn't make it to the seats by the start of the first game, and opted to leave that one early to chat with some buddies, he did return to see some of the night's second and final matchup.
That contest featured one of the camp's most highly touted players, Ohio State's Daquean Cook.
While Cook is not expected to join former teammates Greg Oden and Mike Conley Jr. as lottery picks, he was widely considered a potential first-round selection. Yet he looked anything but worthy of going off the board that early following his performance Wednesday night.
Still, it's unlikely the freshman, who has yet to hire an agent, will return to Columbus.
"Once these kids make a decision, I don't think they should look back," Knicks president and coach Isiah Thomas said. "(Cook) decided to come out, he's here, he played well this morning and he'll do himself well. He's a good player, he's been a good player for a long time."
He wasn't quite so impressive Wednesday night. Cook committed eight of his team's 23 turnovers, shot 3-of-10 from the field, missed his only two free-throw attempts and finished with six points in just over 20 minutes of action.
"I didn't do too good. I missed a few shots that I'm used to making," said Cook, coming off a season in which he was named the Big Ten's sixth man of the year. "But you know that's just getting into the flow of the game and the motion. You just bounce back from that the next day."
Cook won't be the only one looking to bounce back when games resume on Thursday.
Providence's Herbert Hill, another possible first-round pick after being among the Big East leaders as a senior with 18.1 points and 8.8 rebounds per game, also had a shaky scrimmage debut. The 6-foot-10 all-conference selection had eight points, shooting 3-of-9 from the field and 2-of-6 at the foul line, while grabbing six rebounds and committing five fouls.
"It's a lot more intense than college because everyone's out here trying to get a job," said Hill, who more than doubled his scoring average from his junior to senior season. "It's like a job interview. I think everyone wants to make a good impression. You never know who's watching you, this could be the chance."
A chance is all Taurean Green is looking for, and he did his best to rebound from a poor opening day by making three 3-pointers en route to 11 points. However, a case could be made that Green wasn't even the best point guard on his own team Wednesday.
Further showing how the day truly lacked the top names rising to the top, little-known Jared Jordan of Marist had arguably the best session of any point guard at camp. Compared to Green, Jordan did a better job of decision-making and finding the open man in practice sessions earlier in the day, as well as in the nightcap when he had six points and a team-high five assists.
With a style in the mold of Steve Nash, Jordan knows he might be lucky just to get drafted despite being the first player since Avery Johnson in the late 1980s to lead Division I in assists twice.
"I obviously just wanna make a team, but hearing your name called on draft night would be unbelievable, a dream come true," Jordan said. "I'd love for it to be called, but if I make a team any way, I'll be happy."
Another point guard hoping to impress the scouts is Marquette's Dominic James. The All-Big East first team selection joins Cook as the only U.S. players at camp who didn't complete at least three collegiate seasons.
Since he has yet to hire an agent, James is still eligible to return for his junior year. He may need to come up with a big performance this week - as well as in private workouts - to impress NBA personnel enough to know teams will be willing to use a pick on him come draft day.
James has shown good quickness and driving ability, and has done a solid job trying to get teammates involved. But playing in the same backcourt with Cook in Wednesday night's final game, James went scoreless as he missed three shots from the field and he failed to record an assist.
"This is an important step for me as far as the camp goes," said James, who averaged 14.9 points and 4.9 assists as a sophomore. "I really wanna come out here and perform well just so they can see I can run a team in a different manner than what I did in college because it's different personnel and it's a different style game when you get into the NBA."
It wasn't a style many players grasped Wednesday night.
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