Two players who made names for themselves through Floridas high school and college ranks got a chance to show their stuff to HEAT President Pat Riley, HEAT Head Coach Erik Spoelstra, and other team personnel during the HEAT's Pre-Draft workout on Thursday. South Floridas Dominique Jones and Florida States Solomon Alabi joined Terrico White (Ole Miss), Hassan Whiteside (Marshall), Artsiom Parakhouski (Radford), and Zach Peacock (Georgia Tech) to vie for a spot on the HEATs roster come June 24s NBA Draft. The HEAT holds the Nos. 18, 41, 42, and 48 picks.
Jones, a 6-4, 220 -pounder, is widely considered a combo guard who can score and defend. But one knock on the Lake Wales native is his outside shooting. Jones said that he was pleased with his overall performance and that he shot the ball very well during his workout. He also said that hes not too worried about his shooting because improvement will come with practice.
I did well, he said about Thursdays workout. I shot the ball a lot better than a lot of people expected me to. Shooting is something that comes with work. I can come in here and put a couple of thousand shots up. Everything will come together when you put hard work in it.
The 2010 Big East scoring leader averaged 21.4 ppg as a junior at USF. However, with big name guards such as Kentuckys John Wall and Ohio States Evan Turner stealing the spotlight, Jones is flying under the radar leading to the draft. Jones thinks his name should be mentioned when talking about the top guards in the college game.
When it comes to combo guards, I feel like Im the best guard in the draft, he said. Everybody looks at the cants. But look at what I can do. I play the one and the two and Im tough defensively.
According to many mock drafts, Jones is expected to be a late first round to early second round pick.
Miami is his ninth of 18 stops since declaring for the draft. Jones auditioned for Milwaukee on Monday and is leaving to workout in Chicago.
Former Florida State big man Alabi was a two-time ACC All-Defensive team selection in 2009 and 2010, leading the ACC in blocked shots both seasons. The 7-0 , 240-pound center, who is also a solid rebounder, is now trying to show NBA teams that he can be just as effective on both sides of the ball.
Im trying to prove that I have an all-around game, he said. Ive been working a lot on my offensive game. This is a chance I can show I can be good offensively as well.
Alabi underwent a right knee scope following the conclusion of the Seminoles season and participated in todays workout despite not being 100 percent. The Kaduna, Nigeria native, who attended Montverde Academy in Orlando, is entering the NBA Draft after playing three seasons at Florida State. However, he didn't start playing basketball until 2003. Growing up, he played a host of other sports, but found that his height made him the right fit for basketball.
Im taller than everyone back home and they made fun of me when I played soccer, he said. I have much more of an advantage over them playing basketball. I can score with them and I can block their shot."
Basketball must have come easily to him, right?
Six years ago, I couldnt even hit a layup," he said.
Stay tuned to HEAT.com for more pre-draft coverage.