The Wizards Are Working Out WHO? Monday, June 3, 2013—NBA Pre-Draft Workouts
[The Washington Wizards are working out WHO? The dirt on the six players that the Wizards are bringing to the Verizon Center on Monday, June 3, for pre-2013 NBA Draft workouts.]
>> Tyler Brown
G – Illinois State
6’4″, 185 lbs.
The 23-year-old hails from Owensboro, KY. He is listed at 6’4″, but his height without shoes is listed at 6’1″ and his wingspan at 6’5″ (per DraftExpress).
He signed with Morehead State out of high school, red-shirted in 2008-09, then transferred at Marshalltown Community College in Normal, Illinois. At Marshalltown, he was named an NJCAA All-American twice, honorable mention in 2010 and second-team in 2011.
On January 9, Brown was suspended indefinitely by Illinois State Redbirds coach Dan Muller for conduct detrimental to the team. He only missed one game before returning to the court. Last season, Brown led the Redbirds in scoring with 18.1 points per game (third in the Missouri Valley Conference), shooting 44 percent from the field, 39 percent from the 3-point line, and 80.6 percent from the free throw line.
To me, Illinois State’s Tyler Brown’s combination of size, explosion, court vision and playmaking puts him at the very top of the NBA prospects that I saw this week.
This kid has it all and can do it all, and he looks as if he has the potential to guard two positions. He can play a two-man guard game well, as he did with both UCLA’s Larry Drew and Dayton’s Kevin Dillard. He can attack the lanes in dribble drive and while his mid-range game wasn’t overly spectacular, he did show the ability to finish from 8-12 feet.
Brown finished second to High Point University’s Corey Law at the 2013 State Farm Dark Horse Dunkers contest:
>> Miguel Paul
G – East Carolina
6’1″, 170 lbs.
The point guard hails from Florida and went to the same high school as Ray Lewis, Kathleen High School in Lakeland. He was originally signed by Missouri out of high school. As a freshman with the Tigers, Paul appeared in all 38 games, averaging 11.4 minutes, 3.0 points, and 1.5 assists per game.
Midway through his freshman year, some online controversy arose when it appeared that Paul had embellished a meeting between him and who he said was his cousin, NBA All-Star Chris Paul. The “meeting” turned out to be a discussion between Miguel Paul’s father and an apparent uncle of Chris Paul, and everyone may or may not be distant relatives. The story dubiously caught the attention of Deadspin.com.
As a sophomore, Paul played in 31 games, averaging 12.1 minutes, 3.5 points, and 1.7 assists, but never started a contest. In April 2010, Paul and a teammate sought transfers from Coach Mike Anderson’s Missouri team. Steve Walentik of the Columbia Daily Tribune wrote this about Paul: “… it was clear freshman Mike Dixon had moved ahead of him in the Tigers’ backcourt rotation, and with heralded point guard prospect Phil Pressey scheduled to arrive as part of a top-15 recruiting class in June, Paul’s playing time might not have increased much over the next two seasons.”
The transfer raised questions when, two days later, Missouri signed two of the nation’s top junior college players to take the scholarships of Paul and teammate Tyler Stone. One of the JUCO transfers was the brother of incoming freshman Phil Pressey.
As a junior at East Carolina, Paul led Conference USA with 5.9 assists per game and was named second team all-conference. As a senior, he upped his conference-leading assist average to 7.2 and was again named to the CUSA all-conference second team. Paul was suspended for the first two games of his senior year because of a violation of team rules. He helped lead the ECU Pirates to a 23-12 record in 2012-13 and scored 23 points in a win over Weber State in the 2013 CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament (CIT) championship.
>> Angelo Sharpless
G – Elizabeth City
6’4″, 190 lbs.
James Blackburn, director of scouting for Basketball Elite, attended an Elizabeth City-Winston-Salem State game in January and wrote a scouting report about Sharpless at basketballelite.com. In it, Blackburn, touts the scoring and rebounding abilities of Sharpless (he led his team in rebounding per game), but noticed weaknesses in Sharpless’ ball-handling, defense, and leadership.
Web evaluations of Sharpless’ game are hard to come by; instead, he has caught attention because of dunking. One dunk in particular, dubbed the “Hallelujah Dunk,” came at the Ben Wallace pro-am in the 2012 summer. Sharpless crossed-over a defender, left-to-right—bouncing the ball hard off the floor and around the defender with his left hand—before catching up with the ball above the rim and slamming it home with his right hand. Just watch…
Sharpless was one of several guards to participate in the Brooklyn NBA combine at the Barclays Center on May 22. Seth Davis of CBS Sports tweeted: “Angelo Sharpless is the revelation from group one if only cause I never heard I the guy. Just buried another 3. Spindly 6-4 athlete.”
>> Rotnei Clarke
G – Butler
6’0″, 184 lbs.
Rotnei is named after former Oklahoma Sooners running back Rotnei Anderson. So there’s that. Also, because Clarke is engrained into local Oklahoman basketball lore, has the ability to shoot, and is Evangelical, some God-fearing types have dubbed him the “Tim Tebow of basketball.” (Or maybe he’s just the next Jeremy Lin.) In any case, it should come as no surprise that the Internets have written a 5,100-plus word Wikipedia entry about Clarke.
Clark became a cult figure in high school when he averaged more than 40 points per game as a senior, breaking Oklahoma’s single-season scoring record and the state’s career high school scoring total (3,758 points). Clarke was coached by his father and uncle and led his school, Verdigris, to its first state Class 3A championship. Rotnei has a road named after him in Verdigris.
Clarke was rated the 52nd best prospect coming out of high school and turned down some of the nation’s top programs, including Kentucky, Kansas and North Carolina, to attend Arkansas. With the Razorbacks, Clarke quickly became known as one of the best shooters in the country, once scoring 51 points via 13 3-pointers as a sophomore and being named to the All-SEC second team as a junior. As a freshman he averaged 7.0 3-point attempts per game and shot 39.3 percent; as a sophomore, 7.5 attempts per game and 42.7 percent; and as a junior, 6.7 attempts per game and 43.8 percent from long distance.
After Arkansas coach John Pelphrey was fired in 2011, Clarke asked for his release and ultimately transferred to Butler, sitting out the 2011-12 season in the process. As a senior at Butler, Clark attempted 8.6 3-pointers per game and sank them at a rate of 39.9 percent. He was named to the Atlantic 10 All-Conference first team.
Clarke shares an agent, Doug Neustadt, with former Wizard Shelvin Mack.
In late-April, Clarke evidently met local D.C. rapper Wale.
This game-winning buzzer-beater by Clarke over Marquette at the 2012 Maui Invitational is worth the watch:
>> Gregory Echenique
C – Creighton
6’9″, 260 lbs.
Echenique hails from Venezuela (his father Jose played on the Venezuelan national team) and came to the U.S. to play basketball at the famed St. Benedict’s Prep in New Jersey. J.R. Smith, Corey Stokes, Samardo Samuels (a teammate), Scott Machado, and P.J. Carlesimo are all products of St. Benedict’s. Ranked the ninth best prospect by ESPN coming out of high school, Echenique signed with Rutgers, even though he was heavily recruited by Duke. As a freshman at Rutgers, he was named team co-MVP and that summer played with Venezuela at the 2009 FIBA Americas. Early during his sophomore campaign, he suffered a detached retina from a poke in the eye during practice, sat out the season with double vision, and was later granted a medical hardship. Echenique then decided to transfer to Creighton, later citing the fact that his injury wasn’t diagnosed sooner by the Rutgers athletic training staff as one of the factors. Just as he left, Rutgers hired Mike Rice Jr. as head coach. At Creighton, Echenique worked with a strength coach and a nutritionist to decrease his weight from 302 to 260.
After sitting out a season, Echenique averaged 22.8 minutes, 10.5 points, and 5.8 rebounds for the Creighton en route to being named to the MVC All-Newcomer team and the MVC All-Defensive team. After his sophomore season, Echenique again played with the Venezuelan national team. As a junior he averaged 23.9 minutes, 9.7 points, and 7.3 rebounds and was named MVC Defensive Player of the Year. As a senior he averaged 22.9 minutes, 9.7 points, and 6.6 rebounds, was named to the MVC All-Defensive team for the third time in a row, and was honorable mention all-conference. Creighton beat eventual 2013 Final Four participant Wichita St. in the MVC championship game for their second conference title in a row, but lost to 2 seed Duke in the NCAA tournament’s third round as a 7 seed after beating 10 seed Cincinnati in the second round.
DraftExpress on Echenique in November 2011:
It is Echenique’s ability to create space for himself in the paint that makes him an effective player as one of his team’s secondary options offensively. Able to establish deep position in the post and back his matchup down, Echenique creates and converts a fair amount of easy scoring opportunities for himself by virtue of his powerful lower body and fairly soft touch at the rim. According to Synergy Sports Technology, he connects on nearly 59% of his post-up shot attempts, which ranks among the top marks in the entire country. Though he isn’t quite as effective when he is forced to operate from the mid-post and is not going to simply out-jump anyone, Echenique is a rugged back to the basket threat who typically relies on his ability to keep his man on his hip, shoot baby hooks with either hand, or utilize an occasional counter move to score.
DraftExpress also describes Echenique as a good finisher, but turnover-prone; a good “area” rebounder and a decent free throw shooter, but with limited lateral movement and lacking an offensive game away from the basket.
Echenique had his first workout with the Boston Celtics on May 25, worked out for the Minnesota Timberwolves last Thursday, the Portland Trail Blazers last Friday, and is scheduled to workout for the Brooklyn Nets on June 19.
Echenique also did this to North Carolina’s Tyler Zeller in 2012:
Follow him on Twitter: @Echenique00
>> Ehimen Orukpe
C – Wichita State
7’0″, 250 lbs.
Orukpe played for an amateur team in his home country of Nigeria before being signed by Wichita State Shockers in May 2007. He arrived in the U.S. in the summer of 2008, but had to go to junior college before being cleared by the NCAA. Orukpe redshirted his first season at Three Rivers [Mo.] Community College and played 14 games his second season, missing seven due to a stress fracture in his left foot. Once at Wichita State, he spent three years at the school, culminating in a 2013 Final Four appearance. As a senior, Orukpe played in 36 games and averaged 15.1 minutes, 2.6 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks. He majored in math, minored in business, and carried a 3.52 GPA last season. He is currently 24 years old.
In other news…
Also interesting is what Sheridan wrote about Trevor Booker’s brother, Devin (in Sheridan’s Portsmouth Invitational post), and how the same concepts might be applied to Trevor:
The biggest thing that hit me this year, after talking to several NBA scouts and executives, is what teams are looking for. Every team looks for bigs to develop, but players like Notre Dame’s Jack Cooley and Clemson’s Devin Booker both listed around 6’8/6’9 are more physical power forwards than centers with limited shooting range.
Based on the success of players in the NBA who can guard NBA power forwards and shoot 3-pointers and create space for driving guards, players like Cooley and Booker might be seen as quickly becoming obsolete. Space leads to ball movement and open shots. I love both Booker and Cooley and it will be interesting to see if any teams take a chance on either in the second round.