Seltzer's Notebook: Top Pick Resources, Saric in Finals, More on Prospects

by Brian Seltzer
Sixers.com Reporter

Preparations for Top Pick Continue
Draft night is now less than three weeks away.

On Thursday, Sixers Vice President of Player Personnel Marc Eversley shared some insight on where the team stands in terms of its approach to vetting possible options for the number one overall pick.

“It’s an ongoing process,” said Eversley at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, following the fourth pre-draft workout that the Sixers held.  “We’re utilizing all of our tools and all of our information to make a selection on [June] 23rd.  We have trust in our group.  We’ll be ready on the 23rd to make a selection that’s going to help this team move forward.”

In order to gather data on and evaluate members of the 2016 draft class, the Sixers have relied on multiple tactics.  They’ve hosted players at PCOM, travelled across the country to attend private workout sessions, and scouted prospects at various showcases, such as the NBA Draft Combine and Portsmouth Invitational Tournament.  

While LSU forward Ben Simmons and Duke swingman Brandon Ingram are presumed to be the leading candidates to go first in this year’s draft order, Eversley indicated Thursday that the Sixers are keeping an open mind.  He said, for example, that Kentucky shooting guard Jamal Murray is “certainly going to be one of those kids who is going to be in contention for the number one pick.”

With that remark, Eversley seemed to be suggesting that the draft not only boasts a depth of talent, but that the Sixers could use help in a several spots.  

“You look at the way the roster is composed today, there’s certainly a lot of holes that need to be filled,” said Eversley.  “We’re doing our due diligence and bringing in as many guys as possible.  We need to make sure we make the right selections.  We need to bring as many players as possible and evaluate them, not only on the court but off the court as well.”

The Sixers also own the rights to the 24th and 26th slots in the first round.

Saric and Efes Suffer First Post-Season Setback
Friday marked the start of the Turkish Basketball Super League championship round.  The series pitted against one another Anadolu Efes and Fenerbahce, both of which went 24-6 during the regular season, finishing tied atop the standings.  

Efes, of course, is the team that Dario Saric has played for the past two seasons.  He has performed particularly well in the post-season, and Friday was no different.  The 12th overall choice of the 2014 NBA Draft deposited 14 points, while shooting five for eight from the field.  He also snagged four rebounds.

Of particular note is that Saric stroked both of his attempts from outside the arc versus Fenerbahce (a team operated by Maurizio Gherardini, a friend of Bryan Colangelo).  The Croatian forward, who missed his lone three-point heave in the second game of the series, has hit eight of the 12 perimeter attempts he’s taken in the TBSL playoffs.

Friday’s 87-85 setback to Fenerbahce was Anadolu Efes’ first loss in the six post-season outings.  On Sunday, Efes bounced back for a resounding 91-70 triumph.  Saric accounted for six points and a team-best eight rebounds. 

Colangelo told 94.1 FM WIP this past Tuesday that the he and Brett Brown intend to visit Saric in Istanbul this week.  Saric is averaging 12.4 points and 4.4 rebounds per game in the playoffs.  During this seven-game stretch, he’s generated a 52.5 field goal percentage.  

Saric and Efes resume the best-of-seven title round series on Tuesday.

Three Prospects Have Distinct Backstories
Following the Sixers’ fourth pre-draft workout session at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Sixers Vice President of Player Personnel Marc Eversley highlighted the performances of several prospects, including France’s Isaia Cordinier, Kentucky’s Alex Poythress, and Philadelphia’s Brandon Austin.  

The three other players in attendance this past Thursday brought to the PCOM practice court their own distinct set of skills, in addition to intriguing backstories.  

*Stanford’s Rosco Allen moved to the United States from Hungary in middle school.  After a successful high school career at Bishop Gorman in Las Vegas, he went on to Stanford, capping his career by averaging 15.6 points and 6.5 rebounds as a senior.  

While doing his best to impress NBA teams, Allen is also in the process of closing the book on his academic pursuits at Stanford.  Because the prestigious Palo Alto-based school operates on a quarter semester system, Allen won’t graduate until June 12th.  Subsequently, the forward’s finals are on June 7th, plus he still has a five to 10-page, double-spaced paper to finish.  

The topic of Allen’s paper?  “The difference in technology from World War I to World War II, and why trench warfare is no longer used,” he said Thursday.  His major? “Science, Technology, and Society, with a focus in Innovative Technology and Organization.  

“I know it’s a mouthful,” said Allen, “but it’s Stanford, so they’re going to throw a bunch of words.”

He added that being a student-athlete at Stanford, and a four-year one at that, taught him a valuable lesson. 

“One thing I know for sure is time management.  That’s definitely a skill I had to learn at Stanford.  I feel like it really benefited my life.”

*Several decades ago, Mike Caruso enjoyed a four-year career at Creighton, where, at the time, College Basketball Hall of Famer Eddie Sutton was head coach.  Following his playing days, Mike landed a position in the Texas A&M athletics department.  As a result, the men’s basketball program became an enormous part of his family’s life, and had a particular impact on his son, Alex. 

Before setting the Aggies’ all-time records for assists and steals, Alex Caruso, in his youth, was a ball boy for A&M.  “I’ve been at it all,” said Caruso.  “You name any Aggie memory that you want me to name and I’ve probably been there.”  

Caruso generated 8.1 points and 3.6 rebounds this season, and received All-SEC Second-Team honors.

“Basketball, that’s my life, what I love watching, playing, and have a passion for,” he said following his visit with the Sixers.  “To have an opportunity to be here is a real blessing.”

*Daniel Hamilton spent just two years at UConn, but the versatile 6’7” tall, 195 pound swing man who can score, board, and pass believes he’s ready to make the jump to the NBA.  

“The impact I had was making plays, and being able to get bigger at the college level, gain 20-something pounds,” Hamilton said Thursday.  “That’s another impact that helped me play at the next level for college, and I think that will help me in the NBA as well.”

A former American Athletic Conference Rookie of the Year, Hamilton averaged 11.7 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 4.2 assists in his career with the Huskies.  His dad, Greg, played for four seasons at Miami, before starting an international career.  Hamilton’s brother, Jordan, went to Texas, and has logged 151 NBA appearances over the last five years. 

“Making the transition, they would probably say conditioning,” Hamilton said of the pointers his family members gave him.  “My brother went through the NBA combine and NBA workouts, so he said you just have to be in conditioning.  This is my third workout in a row.  I’d say conditioning is the most important thing.”

Hamilton and LSU’s Ben simmons were the only two NCAA Division I players this season to post at least 450 points, 300 rebounds, and 150 assists. 

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