Draft Prospect Workouts - No. 1
Roughly 30-35 NBA prospects will be wandering in and out of 600 First Avenue throughout the next three weeks, doing their best to impress the collective eye of the Wolves as they're sized up physically, chatted with and evaluated for the coming 2007 NBA Draft.
The workouts are closed door affairs, but worry not ... we'll be right here letting you know who's in town, how each prospect looked and more. On Wednesday, Minnesota's basketball operations staff will get a look at the first four players expected in town: Florida's Joakim Noah; Washington's Spencer Hawes; Wisconsin and Minneapolis North's Kammron Taylor; and Towson's Gary Neal.
We've put together brief profiles for each player, and will check back in with you subsequent to the workouts after which we'll interview the prospects.
High School: Lawrenceville Prep (NJ)
Hometown: New York, NY
College: University of Florida
Position: Power Forward
Weight: 227 lbs.
ESPN draft expert Chad Ford: "Has great length, athleticism and a crazy motor that runs non stop. More skilled than you think. An excellent passer for a big man. Beats everyone up and down the floor. He's always around the ball and is an excellent shot blocker. Noah has the ability to do a little of everything -- he can score inside, block shots, crash the glass on both ends, handle the ball on the break, make passes that only point guards are supposed to know how to make. In short, he's everywhere ... sort of a 7-foot Kirilenko.
From the University of Florida's website: "One of the premier big men returning in college basketball...MVP of both the Final Four and the Minneapolis Region during last year's NCAA title run...A First Team All-SEC selection, an Honorable Mention All-American (Associated Press) and the Gators' leading scorer in 2005-06....Set an NCAA Tournament record with 29 blocked shots."
High School: Seattle Prep
Hometown: Seattle, Wash.
College: University of Washington
Weight: 230 lbs.
Hawes started 31 games at center for the Huskies and averaged 14.9 points, 6.4 boards and 1.9 assists a game in his only year of college basketball.
Ford on Hawes: "Skilled big man with advanced low-post moves for a kid his age. Can score with either hand around the basket. Excellent shooter who can play the high post and work the pick and pop. Good passer for a big man. Excellent basketball IQ. As fundamentally sound as any big man in the country."
University of Washington Bio: "All-Pac-10 honorable mention selection for the 2007 season ... A first-team All-Pac-10 Freshman Team honoree in 2007 ... A second-team NABC District 14 selection ... Honored as a freshman All-American by CollegeInsider.com and Rivals.com ... A 2006 McDonald's and Parade All-American ... The most prominent recruit in Husky history ... Washington's all-time leading freshman scorer and shot blocker."
High School: Minneapolis North
Hometown: Minneapolis, MN
College: University of Wisconsin
Position: Point Guard
Weight: 175 lbs.
The Minnesota native averaged 13.3 points, 1.9 assists and 2.3 rebounds a game in his senior season with the Badgers. He was named to both the Big Ten coaches and Big Ten media's All-Big 10 second team.
University of Wisconsin's Web site on Taylor before the 2006-07 season: "Started all 31 games and led the team in minutes played (34.3 mpg.) ... Second on the team in scoring at 14.2 ppg. ... Had 24 double-figure scoring efforts, including seven 20-point games ... Led the Badgers in assists (73), 3-pointers made (67 - tied for eighth in UW history) and 3-point percentage (.399) ... ranked sixth in the Big Ten in free-throw shooting at .829"
High School: Calvert Hall
Hometown: Aberdeen, MD
College: Towson University
Weight: 200 lbs.
Neal averaged 25.6 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.5 assists a game in his senior season with the Towson Tigers.
Towson University's Web site: "Led CAA and was fourth in the nation in scoring with 25.6 points per game... Scored 30+ points 10 times, and posted the fourth-highest single-season total in league history (769). "The leading returning scorer in NCAA Division I with a 26.1 average last year ... Should be a leading candidate for All-CAA honors including Player of the Year ... Picked as the third best shooting guard in the nation by Sporting News’ College Basketball Preview 2006-07 ... Selected Pre-Season First Team All-CAA ... Ranked as the 46th best college player in collegehoops.net CHN Top 100."