Taurean Seeks Greener Pre-Draft Pastures
Posted May 29 2007 11:06AM
He was perhaps the most indispensable part of an indefatigable Florida Gators squad, which danced its way through consecutive NCAA Tournaments, winning back-to-back National Championships. For an encore, Taurean Green is going to Disney World.
He shouldn’t expect the red carpet treatment. Today, he’s merely another pretty face in town for an audition. Unlike the other members of Florida’s ensemble cast -- Al Horford, Joakim Noah and Corey Brewer -- Green, son of former NBA player Sidney Green, arrives in Orlando this week looking to stand out on a smaller stage in front of executives and scouts from all 30 NBA teams at this year’s NBA Pre-Draft Camp.
Horford, Noah and Green are here too, as part of the “physical only” group of top prospects, here to be weighed, measured and prodded, before landing a starring role in the production known as the First Round of the 2007 Draft.
Green, however, is one of 64 players who will lace up their sneakers this week with the purpose of actually playing basketball. Like his Gator cohorts, Green will also do battle with the tape measure and scale, but his immediate future will hinge on how well he performs in game action. As one of only a few true lead guards in this year’s field, Green is out to prove his strengths – running his team effectively and knocking down big shots – will be able to translate at the NBA level.
Green is one of nine collegiate underclassmen scheduled to play this week. Some, like Virginia’s Sean Singletary, Ohio State’s Daequan Cook and Nevada’s Ramon Sessions, have yet to hire agents and are here to measure interest. Others, such as Fresno State’s Dominic McGuire, have reportedly already secured representation and will roll the draft dice on June 28.
Notre Dame’s Russell Carter, Wright State’s Dashaun Wood and Virginia Tech’s Zabian Dowdell headline the field of 22 players who graduated from the first pre-draft stop in Portsmouth. Carter, who was arguably the best player at the PIT, is an athletic two-guard who can score. Wood, the MVP of the PIT, is a small point guard (5-11) who can score and distribute. Dowdell is an athletic combo guard with the necessary physical attributes to compete at the NBA level.
Arizona’s Mustafa Shakur, Loyola-Chicago’s Blake Schilb, Boise State’s Coby Karl, Cal State Fullerton’s Bobby Brown and Brad Newley of Australia are back for a second go-round in Orlando. Newley is one of five international players in the field who played overseas this past season, along with Ali Traore (Ivory Coast), Marko Lekic (Serbia & Montenegro), Sun Yue (China) and Renaldas Seibutis (Lithuania).
Ten players who took the court last year to play here wound up getting drafted, with Jordan Farmar and Renaldo Balkman making their way into the first round. Craig Smith was here, but an injury kept him from competing in games.
The NBA’s ban on all individual workouts with team prior to June 5 gives this year’s camp added significance. Here are some players to keep an eye on this week:
Jared Jordan, Marist – Jordan surprised many by declining an invitation to play in the PIT last month. It was a calculated risk, given the aforementioned change in format with respect to workouts. Scouts are intrigued with his pass-first mentality and ability to make plays for others. His size and inconsistent deep stroke are cause for concern.
Trey Johnson, Jackson State – Johnson, too, was a late scratch at Portsmouth. The general consensus is that Johnson is one of several prospects in camp this week that has a chance to sneak into the first round. A polished offensive player, who ranked second in the nation in scoring this past season (27.1 ppg), Johnson will be looking to prove his worth against stiffer competition.
Jared Dudley, Boston College – Everybody’s All-American this past season and reigning ACC Player of the Year, Dudley has an NBA caliber set of skills. His detractors worry about his lack of athleticism and ability to be a full-time small forward in the NBA. What is certain is that Dudley will bring energy and passion to the floor this week.
Aaron Gray, Pittsburgh – Gray tested the waters in 2006, but did not play in the Pre-Draft Camp. The depth of this year’s draft has resulted in Gray electing to play this year, in the hopes of moving his way into the first round. As the great Frank Layden once said, ‘You can’t teach height,’ and Gray is certainly one of the biggest players in the field, with a solid package of skills.
Reyshawn Terry, North Carolina – Terry has the physical makeup of a future NBA small forward. What concerns some is his inconsistent performance at North Carolina. Last year, Carolina’s David Noel, who didn’t have a standout college career, parlayed a strong showing in Portsmouth and Orlando into a spot in the NBA with the Milwaukee Bucks.
Herbert Hill, Providence – The classic late bloomer, Hill capped off a pedestrian stay at Providence with a stellar senior campaign in which he earned All-Big East First Team honors. He doesn’t jump off the page in terms of his physical ability, but he has decent size and is efficient in the post. Hill is a likely early second round selection, with an outside chance of sneaking into the first round.