Monday, March 11, 2013

NBA Scouts on Shabazz Napier, Ryan Boatright, DeAndre Daniels: Stay at UConn

I talked to a couple of veteran NBA scouts – one from an Eastern Conference team, one from a Western Conference team, both of whom scouted several UConn games this winter – about the NBA draft prospects ofShabazz Napier, Ryan Boatright and DeAndre Daniels. Omar Calhoun’s name came up, too.

Here’s what they had to say:


On Shabazz Napier:

“I think he should stay in school. I think he’s a talented kid. He needs to show more consistency, more leadership. I think he needs to take the program back to where they all want it to be. I believe he’s well capable of it. He needs to have a good summer.

“If he did declare, he could be taken in the second round. He’s one of those guys that, some people are going to like him and some people are not.

“He’s fearless, he’s capable of running three or four 3’s in a row. He’s capable of changing the game in a heartbeat. He can impose his will on the game.”

On Ryan Boatright:

“I think he has to stay in school. He has to improve his shooting. At his size, he has to be able to knock down shots. He’s got great speed, quickness, an ability to get in the lane. He’s improving his passing, but he’s gotta work to be a knock-down shooter.

“They listen to people outside who don’t know what they’re talking about. If they ever let us talk to them – we care about the game. And we care about them as people to a certain degree, but their head is so full of nonsense about their careers. They come out of these AAU programs, where everyone’s telling them how wonderful they are. Unfortunately, the college coaches have to continue it in order to recruit them. They’re not telling them the truth. The only one who’s telling them the truth is an NBA scout. And the NBA scout can be very hurtful, very cold and professional, but they’ll tell them what they need to hear. Our system is out of whack.

“People have to do the math, which they don’t. There are 30 teams. There’s X number of guaranteed contracts. On some teams there are no spots. On a few teams there are one or two spots."

All first-round draft picks get guaranteed money, even if they get sent to the 'D' league. Second-round picks don't get guaranteed money, though occasionally teams will give them it.

On DeAndre Daniels:

“I think he has a great upside. He’s on our future list. He’s got to get stronger, tougher and more consistent. He has a ton of talent. I’ve seen him play very well at times, and I’ve seen him disappear for long periods of times, which I know people around UConn talk about.

“And the other kid (Omar Calhoun) is gonna be good. I think he’ll take a big step over the summer.


On Napier:

“He’s a tough little guy, got a lot of winner in him. I wouldn’t count him out. He’s not your classic anything. Jim (Calhoun) really likes him, thinks he’s a really underrated shooter, and he’s probably right. He’s got a decent feel distributing ball. He’s not an over-the-top athlete, but I wouldn’t count him out.

(Second round?) “Something like that, maybe. I can see him not getting drafted. Either one is crazy to leave school for."
The scout did point out that this year is a "very weak draft," but next year is expected to be better.

On Boatright:

“I don’t see it for him. He’s an undersized scorer, he has zero point guard skills. He gets stuck in the air. He can make a play now and then, but he’s looking out for himself all the time. He’s a scorer and very quick. At that size, a guy running around like a lunatic, looking for his own shot all time … Somebody else might like his raw ability. He’s a good athlete, but you’re gonna get a version of the kid (Nate) Robinson. I don’t know what you do with guys like that. I’m just not a fan for him.

“There are guys like that in the league, but they have the right mental approach. (Jose) Barrea wasn’t really a point guard, either, but he had the right intangibles. This kid seems tough, too, but …

“His software package didn’t include an option … when he gets in the lane, he’s way out of control. Once in a while, he’ll come up with something. But, especially at the next level, those windows get closed really quickly.

This same scout wasn't wild about Boatright back in mid-January, either.

“I think both are pretty marginal. Shabazz is much more solid. I’d rather go to war with a guy like Shabazz."

On Daniels:

“He’s got some ability. He’s very athletic, looks like he’s got skills. He can shoot the ball OK. You hear people saying how soft he is, that’s never good. You can be thin, but wiry strong. He doesn’t have to be a killer if he’s not toughest guy in world.”

*** Incidentally, neither Napier, Boatright nor Daniels are listed as being selected in the mock drafts at both or In fact, none of the three are even in the latter's 2014 draft, which is silly.

Obviously, mock drafts don't mean a thing. Ultimately, it's up to what the players (and their families) believe is the right thing to do.

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March 15, 2013 at 2:22 AM 

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