For NBA scouting departments, there are certain collegiate players throughout the country that continually pop up onto the radar. For Thunder Vice President of Identification and Intelligence Will Dawkins, it was a sturdy guard from the University of Virginia who kept crossing into his path.
A redshirt senior, Devon Hall, a 6-foot-6, 206-pound guard from the University of Virginia continually made an impression on Dawkins, Thunder General Manager and Executive Vice President Sam Presti and the rest of Presti’s staff. With four years of visits to Charlottesville to watch the Cavaliers, summer showcases and other meetings, the Thunder staff has gotten a bunch of cracks at charting Hall’s progression, and been able to tap into his character.
“We feel like we know him really, really well,” Dawkins said. “He's a guy that was an All-ACC defender. He's a guy who improved his shooting every single year he was in college, attempts and accuracy. He's able to play on the ball, off the ball. We're interested in seeing him just kind of get on the floor and just fit in with our other wings and have a chance to play there.”
“We get to see these guys practice a couple times a year, so by the end of it, you're looking at the mechanics, studying what they're changing, and our scouts and evaluators, they go out and work really, really hard,” Dawkins noted.
Watch: Devon Hall in Action
As Dawkins mentioned, Hall comes to the Thunder with a reputation as one of the Atlantic Coast Conference’s best defenders, and one of the top of the line defenders for Virginia, which is perennially one of the country’s best on that side of the ball. On offense, Hall is a knockdown shooter from the perimeter, hitting 43.2 percent of his shots from behind the arc during his senior season at UVA. The smooth shooting stroke and a comfortable handle helped him average 11.7 points per game for the plodding-paced, low-scoring Cavaliers, but also chipped in as a playmaker with 3.1 assists per contest.
“He’s a really, really complete guard,” said OKC Blue and Thunder Summer League Head Coach Mark Daigneault. “He shoots, passes and dribbles. He really knows how to play. He’s extremely savvy.”
“Being able to guard different positions as well as to be able to play different positions on the offensive end definitely helps me,” Hall explained.
The Cavaliers’ slow pace on offense is paired with a hunkered down defense on the other end of the floor. It’s a unique style, and Hall’s physical gifts and instincts fit in nicely. At the next level, some things are different. The lane is wider by four feet. The three-point line is more than a foot further back.
As a result, there’s a particular adjustment period that Hall is working through during Summer League out in Las Vegas. Through the first three games he’s been with Daigneault and the squad, Hall hasn’t shot it as well as he’d like, and is trying to learn the schemes, calls and terminology by listening to the coaching staff. By all accounts, Hall is a mature player and person who is making a good impression, who like his other teammates is watching film and staying focused on making strides with each game he plays.
“I’m enjoying this process and I’m super excited to be a part of the Thunder,” Hall said. “Just getting integrated and trying to learn as much as I can and trying to get better each and every day.”
“The more repetition, the better you’ll get with it,” Hall concluded.
He’ll get another chance tonight at 5 p.m. CT against the Memphis Grizzlies. The game will be broadcast on NBATV. If the Thunder wins, its next game will be on Saturday as a part of a knockout tournament that ends Summer League. With a loss tonight, the Thunder will play in one consolation game on Friday before returning to Oklahoma City.