2018 Draft Workouts: Džanan Musa

June 11, 2018 - 19-year-old forward Džanan Musa from Bosnia and Herzegovina speaks with Pacers.com's Wheat Hotchkiss about his first pre-draft workout with an NBA team.

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2018 Draft Workouts: Džanan Musa

June 11, 2018 - 19-year-old forward Džanan Musa from Bosnia and Herzegovina speaks with Pacers.com's Wheat Hotchkiss about his first pre-draft workout with an NBA team.
Jun 11, 2018  |  02:11

2018 Draft Workouts: Tyler Wideman

June 11, 2018 - Butler big man Tyler Wideman spoke with Pacers.com's Wheat Hotchkiss after his pre-draft workout with the team.
Jun 11, 2018  |  01:30

2018 Draft Workouts: Bruce Brown Jr.

June 11, 2018 - After his pre-draft workout with the team, Miami guard Bruce Brown Jr. discussed it with Pacers.com's Wheat Hotchkiss.
Jun 11, 2018  |  01:38

2018 Draft Workouts: Devon Hall

Virginia guard Devon Hall talked to Pacers.com following his pre-draft workout on Monday. Hall discussed which aspects of his game he feels can translate to the NBA and how playing four years has given him added experience.
Jun 11, 2018  |  01:25

2018 Draft Workouts: Thomas Welsh

UCLA center Thomas Welsh talked to Pacers.com about how he improved his 3-point shot throughout his time in college and what he feels he can add to an NBA roster.
Jun 11, 2018  |  01:18

Local Favorite Wideman Works Out for "Home Team"

Two-Way Guards and UCLA Big Man Round Out Monday's Pre-Draft Workout
by Wheat Hotchkiss
Pacers.com Writer/Editor
@Wheat_Hotchkiss

For Tyler Wideman, any opportunity to work out for an NBA team is a blessing. But being a Schererville, Ind. native and a Butler University graduate, Monday's pre-draft workout with the Pacers meant a little more.

"It's a little bit more special," Wideman said following his workout at the St. Vincent Center. "Butler's right down the street. It's the home team."

The 6-8, 240-pound forward accomplished a lot in his four years at Butler. He set school records for single-season and career field goal percentage. He ranks fifth in school history in blocked shots. He and classmate Kelan Martin are the first Butler players ever to win an NCAA Tournament game in each of their four seasons with the Bulldogs.

Off the court, Wideman was just as impressive. He was the recipient of the Big East Sportsmanship Award as a senior, an honor voted on by the league's head coaches. He graduated with a degree in Middle and Secondary Education. He has been active in the Indianapolis community, volunteering as a middle-school coach and interning at the Jewish Community Center.

Now, he's trying to prove to NBA scouts that he has what it takes to play at the next level.

You won't find Wideman's name in the first round of any mock drafts. It's unlikely that he hears his name called on draft night at all. But that doesn't mean he can't work his way into the NBA.

Wideman was extremely efficient at Butler, converting 62.3 percent of his attempts over the course of his career and 67.2 percent as a senior. But he did so playing a very limited offensive role, never attempting more than 5.3 shots per game in any of his four college seasons.

His shooting range is limited, something he needs to improve to fit into the modern NBA, where even big men are expected to space the floor and knock down open jumpers. Wideman went 0-for-6 from 3-point range in his career and didn't even shoot a high volume of mid-range jumpers.

His free throw percentages, however, show that there is potential for improvement in his shot. After posting a lowly .415 free throw percentage as a freshman, Wideman steadily improved from the charity stripe over his last three years in school. As a senior, he shot 82 percent from the line.

Wideman's limited shooting range and his height (even in the modern NBA, he's a little undersized for a big man) hurt his draft stock, but his work ethic and intangibles could allow him to impress a team in Summer League or the NBA G League.

It's definitely a mark in his favor that he has already shown he can check his ego at the door and play a specific role, something he did expertly in his time at Butler.

"I'm pretty much going to do whatever my team needs me to do," Wideman said.

"In high school, that was score a little bit more. In college, it was just make guys around me a little bit better. Defend, rebound, score when asked. I'll pretty much do whatever. (I'm a) jack-of-all trades."

Wideman has a few ties to the Pacers. He was high school teammates with Glenn Robinson III at Lake Central and has known rookie guard Edmond Sumner since childhood.

He's hoping to follow their path to the NBA, but even if professional basketball doesn't work out, he should have plenty of fallback options.

When asked on Monday what accomplishment he was most proud of from his four years at Butler, Wideman quickly replied that it was getting his degree.

"Anybody can win basketball games," Wideman said. "But having that degree is forever."

Bruce Brown Jr. and Devon Hall

Miami's Bruce Brown Jr. (left) and Virginia's Devon Hall (right) are both attractive prospects to NBA scouts for their two-way potential.

ACC Guards Showcase Two-Way Potential

The local media who attended Monday's workout focused primarily on Wideman and 19-year-old Bosnian forward Dzanan Musa, a likely first-round pick whose journey Mark Montieth profiled for Pacers.com.

But two other players in attendance are likely to hear their name called on draft night, Miami (Fla.) guard Bruce Brown Jr. and Virginia guard Devon Hall. ESPN.com's latest rankings list Brown as the 31st-best prospect in this year's draft class and list Hall as 50th.

The Pacers currently own the 23rd and 50th picks in next week's draft, which will take place on June 21 at Barclays Center.

Brown and Hall, both primarily shooting guards, have similar profiles. Brown measured at 6-5 and 195 pounds at the NBA Draft Combine, while Hall checked in at 6-6 and 206 pounds. Hall is a few years older (he was a fifth-year senior at Virginia, while Brown turned pro after two seasons at Miami), but both players are known for their ability to play on both ends of the floor.

For Brown, playing lock-down defense has been a big part of his game for as long as he can remember. He used his 6-9 wingspan to his advantage in college, like when he amassed four blocks and three steals in a game at Georgia Tech on Jan. 3 or when he tallied three blocks and three steals in an overtime win over Louisville on Jan. 24.

"Defense is really what gets me going," Brown said. "If I get a stop, I get a block, or I get a rebound, then I (can) push and score in transition. Defense is really big for me.

"And then offensively, just getting the easy bucket and finding my teammates is my game."

Brown averaged 11.4 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 4.0 assists per game as a sophomore. His athleticism is his strong suit on the offensive end. He showed flashes of playmaking ability that could allow him to slide over to point guard on occasion and thinks coach Jim Larrañaga's pro-style offense helped prepare him for the NBA.

"There's a lot of pick-and-rolls in the NBA," Brown said. "All we did at Miami is pick-and-roll and watch film. So knowing how to read defenses in the NBA will be big for me."

While he has the physical tools to succeed at the next level, whether or not Brown goes in the first round might hinge on his ability to show improvement with his jump shot.

After shooting 34.7 percent from 3-point range as a freshman, Brown converted just 16 of 60 attempts (26.7 percent) from beyond the arc as a sophomore.

The pre-draft process is also important for Brown to show that he is healthy, as he missed the last 12 games of his Miami career after undergoing surgery on his left foot at the end of January. Since the season ended, he has been cleared by doctors to return to the court, took part in athletic testing at the combine, and has been competing in all drills in pre-draft workouts.

While he's been jetting across the country for the past several weeks, Brown — who is one of 11 siblings — admitted that his anxiety is building as the calendar creeps toward draft night.

"I try to keep it in," he said on Monday. "I try not to pay attention to it, but I can't wait."

Hall had a productive career at Virginia, his role steadily increasing each year he spent in Charlottesville. He averaged 11.7 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 3.1 assists as a senior while shooting a career-best 43.2 percent from 3-point range.

The second-team All-ACC selection followed that up with a productive performance at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament, a showcase for the top seniors in the country. Hall averaged 17.3 points, 5.7 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 1.7 steals and knocked down 9-of-15 3-pointers over three games. He was one of just five players from Portsmouth who earned an invite to the combine.

In Hall's mind, the key to impressing teams in the pre-draft process is knowing your own abilities.

"I'm not trying to go out here and create miracles or anything," he said Monday. "I'm going to be myself. Show that I can shoot, defend, play at multiple positions."

Playing at Virginia, Hall enjoyed plenty of success in college, winning two ACC regular season championships. Under Tony Bennett, the Cavaliers play a unique system, slowing down the pace on both ends and relying on their stout "pack line defense." Hall believes Bennett's defensive principles will help him on that end of the floor in the NBA.

"You've got to be smart to play at UVA, know the game well defensively," he said.

But at the same time, Hall acknowledged that it will be an adjustment offensively as he moves to the next level. But he believes that he has the ability to play at a faster pace and create offense in isolation situations, something he did not really have the opportunity to do in college.

Like Brown, Hall is a firm believer that his all-around skill set will be his ticket to the next level.

"I'm guarding on one end and able to make plays on the other end as well," Hall said. "I just talked to Coach (Nate McMillan) about that and he said he wants two-way players. I think that's me."

Thomas Welsh

UCLA center Thomas Welsh showcased his improved shooting range on Monday.

Welsh Hoping Expanded Offensive Game is Ticket to Next Level

The fifth and final player at Monday's pre-draft workout was UCLA center Thomas Welsh (Tulane forward Melvin Frazier was originally scheduled to participate in the workout, but was not in attendance on Monday). The 7-footer was a three-year starter and four-year rotation player for the Bruins.

He was teammates with current Pacers players TJ Leaf and Ike Anigbogu in 2016-17, starting ahead of Anigbogu, and had the chance to catch up with his former teammates over dinner on Sunday night.

Welsh's production steadily increased in his four years playing for Steve Alford, culminating in a senior season when he averaged 12.6 points and 10.8 rebounds per game.

When examining Welsh's stats, one major thing stands out — the seemingly sudden development of a 3-point shot.

Welsh did not attempt a single three in his first two years in college and took just one as junior (which he made). But he took 112 as a senior (an average of 3.4 per game) and made 45 to post an impressive .402 3-point percentage.

For Welsh, that development was the product of years of hard work.

"I think over my four years I've been working on just slowly extending my range a couple (feet) every year," he said. "I think my junior year...it was about 18-feet range. I continued working that summer and I extended it out to about 21 feet to the college 3-point line and just felt really comfortable shooting it.

"It's been a gradual process, but I'm starting to feel much more confident about it."

While he is still unlikely to be drafted, Welsh's improved shooting range definitely makes him a more attractive fit to NBA teams. He could be a prime candidate for a two-way contract, which would allow him to continue to develop in the G League while spending up to 45 days with an NBA team.

And having played with a slew of current and future NBA players at UCLA, Welsh is definitely comfortable as a role player.

"I'm a guy that's going to do the little things," he said. "Rebounding, being in the right position, talking on (defense) — just try to do all the small things to help the team win."