Believe it or not, tremendous scoring numbers on the NCAA level don't automatically equate to being drafted high or even being drafted at all. The NBA draft is only two rounds, and teams tend to draft for potential first, experience and production second.
Such is the case for Xavier Silas, a guard from Northern Illinois who was eighth in the nation in scoring this past season at 22 points per game. Now, Northern Illinois isn't exactly a national powerhouse, but in this day and age, NBA scouts will find the talent.
Also, Silas is a second-generation player. His dad James Silas is one of the greatest players in ABA history, and his number is retired by the San Antonio Spurs. As well, Xavier's godfather is Julius Erving.
Silas has had plenty of professional influences to prepare him for his NBA journey.
Even with these factors, some scouts doubt his athleticism and ability to create off the dribble in the NBA. Silas is considered by many a second-round pick or an undrafted free agent.
There are plenty of success stories for undrafted free agents finding NBA success—most recently, J.J. Barea with Dallas from Northeastern University. Barea has been key for Dallas after putting up impressive scoring numbers in college but still going undrafted.
I had an opportunity to talk with Xavier and ask him his thoughts on this topic and others. This is what he had to say, as well as his YouTube videos showing his preparation for workouts with the 76ers and Celtics.
BM: Many people don't pay attention to NCAA scoring leaders. You were eighth in the nation in 2010-2011. What else do you do well?
XS: I play tough defense and I play hard. Effort should be consistent, and that's how I play.
BM: If you aren't drafted, there is a list of players who have been successful as an undrafted FA. How does that make you feel?
XS: Either way the draft goes, there is still work to do. June 23rd doesn't define pros whether you're drafted or not
BM: You began your career at Colorado. What made you transfer to lesser-known and covered Northern Illinois?
XS: Coaching change. I went to CU under (Ricardo) Patton and he left, so I ended up following him. NBA scouts made their way to little old DeKalb.
BM: Being the son of a former NBA player and being around NBA players as a kid, do you think this has given you an advantage?
XS: No question. That's where I got my mentality and personality. I approach the game how they taught me I should.
BM: Being so successful in college, does it light a fire under you to see mock drafts and such not list you in the draft?
XS: I don't even look at mock drafts. I've seen who they talk about and they have seen me. They know me, they know what's up. It'll surface.
BM: Who have you competed against in workouts for teams?
XS: (Tyler) Honeycutt, UCLA, (Andrew) Goudelock, Charleston, (DeAndre) Liggins, Kentucky, (Iman) Shumpert, Georgia Tech, just to name a few
BM: If the NBA doesn't materialize immediately, would you be open to honing your skills overseas?
BM: Describe the feelings you have before you meet or work out for teams and with other draft prospects
XS: Excitement. We are all chasing a dream and competing. Everyone has their path and what will happen will happen. Enjoying the moments.
BM: What do you believe is the perception of your game among "experts" and NBA talent evaluators?
XS: I'm a scorer. Shot in the 40 percent range. I'm a big guard who can defend 1, 2 and 3, and I can run the point if you need me to.
BM: You have a personality that lends itself well to the camera. When basketball is over, be it in three years or 10, what do you see yourself doing?
XS: I will always be helping the world we live in be a better place. If you aren't doing that, then what exactly are you doing?
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