The good folks over at CBSSports.com put together an interesting read on some of this draft class’s under-the-radar prospects.
It’s not the typical under-the-radar post, either.
Instead of breaking down what the player is able to do on the court and why they will make for a quality NBA player, the article focuses on how their college coaches landed them and why they weren’t recruited to by bigger schools.
There were two particular stories that I really liked. The first comes from Dan McHale, who was in charge of recruiting Scott Machado to Iona:
He changed high schools a little bit. At St. Mary’s, he played with Danny Green as a freshman, then moved to North Carolina, so he got lost in the shuffle a little bit. At St. Benedict’s, he played with Samardo Samuels, Zack Rosen, Chris Smith. With AAU teams, bounced around a little bit. I remember, one time in Vegas, it was myself, coach [Kevin] Willard and Shaheen [Holloway] in a back gym. The rosters weren’t right, but we knew Scott because we were on him. He made four or five great bounce passes, and people were wondering who he was. No one knew his name. Sean Doherty from Quinnipiac asked me who he was, and I said, ‘Nah man, I don’t know.’
Smoke screens. Throw ’em off the chase. Well played, Dan. Well played.
Jeff Massey didn’t need to throw off the competition as he pursued Andrew Nicholson at St. Bonaventure. Nicholson did that himself:
“Two reasons, really. One, he stepped on his cellphone, and I don’t think a lot of people could reach him. It was those size 18 shoes. I tried for two months before I could get a hold of him. Second, he hurt his ankle, so he didn’t play AAU the summer before his senior year.” But there is another reason though, and that was where Nicholson actually played high school ball. Father Michael Goetz Secondary School in Ontario was a uniform school, and “basketball wasn’t one of the main things,” Massey added. “Most of the coaches are volunteer coaches. They could teach home economics and then head to the gym for practice.”
Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good.
If I’ll be honest (and not in the least bit humble), my favorite story is how Jae Crowder wound up at Marquette. After spending a year at an unaccredited Junior College in Georgia, Crowder had to take two years worth of classes in one year in order to get himself eligible for Division I basketball. Then, when Buzz Williams finally made it to see him play a game, Crowder scored three points and fouled out.
It is also worth noting that Darius Johnson-Odom, another JuCo transfer, came to Marquette despite an assistant coach seeing him score just a single point at a Hoop Hall game. I guess it is a good thing that Buzz Williams has his own way of evaluating talent.