NBA Draft 2011: David Lighty and the 7 Best Undrafted Players
The NBA Draft concluded late last night, and after it was all said and done, a few names that were expected to be called, weren't.
All is not lost for these players, however. More than a few undrafted players are currently firmly entrenched in the NBA. Joel Anthony, Anthony Morrow, Reggie Evans, Ben Wallace, Udonis Haslem, and Samardo Samuels all contributed to their respective teams this past season.
Now, none of them are stars, but all are doing just fine making a living by playing professional basketball.
While the following players may not be picked up immediately by NBA teams and instead elect to head to Europe for a few seasons, don't be surprised to see these names pop up on NBA rosters in the near future.
Some of these names will be quite familiar to those who follow college basketball closely.
Malcolm Thomas, San Diego State
Malcolm Thomas was part of the supporting cast that helped Kawhi Leonard lead San Diego State into the national spotlight. He averaged 11 points, eight rebounds and two blocks per game for the Aztecs and was their man in the middle that protected the paint.
At 6'9", Thomas is an NBA power forward that is a solid defender and rebounder who a solid athlete that can get up and down the floor.
His offensive game could use some major work, but he can definitely make a team and be used as the big man that comes off the bench to provide energy and defense.
Greg Smith, Fresno State
Greg Smith was the highest player rated on ESPN's Chad Ford's Big Board that wasn't drafted. Being just a sophomore, it probably would've been a good idea for Smith to return to Fresno State for at least one more season.
Still, he has a good chance of getting picked up by a team at some point this offseason. He's one of the few centers in this class, listed at 6'10" and over 250 pounds, and true centers are hard to come by nowadays.
He's a strict back-to-the-basket player that needs to learn how to give out more effort on a consistent basis. Landing on a team with the coaches and players that don't tolerate anything less than 100 percent would really help this kid.
Jamie Skeen, VCU
Jamie Skeen gained notoriety as the best player on the Cinderella team of the NCAA Tournament that was VCU. Skeen originally committed to Wake Forest out of high school, but ultimately transferred to the Rams. Considering where Wake is right now, that was probably a great decision on Skeen's part.
Skeen, at 6'8", is probably best classified as a stretch power forward as he can step out to the three point line and knock down shots consistently. He's also effective down low, but his lack of leaping ability due to knee problems would prevent him from scoring against the bigger players in the NBA.
Mr. Skeen is a knowledgeable, and experienced, player who would help out a team coming off the bench to provide some scoring punch from the outside and potentially be a quality leader.
Jereme Richmond, Illinois
The fact that Jereme Richmond declared for the NBA Draft in the first place was a shock to many, including yours truly. Yes, he was very highly regarded coming out of high school, but his inconsistent performance in his first season at Illinois did not help his draft stock, yet he declared anyways.
Somehow I think he wishes he could get a re-do on that decision. Too bad time machines have yet to be invented.
Still, talent-wise, Richmond has plenty to make an NBA team. He's crazy athletic, can play either wing position at 6'7" and is at his best in the open court. He also showed promise as a defender, but was inconsistent at Illinois.
Richmond's perimeter game needs some serious work, and he could also use some extra weight (only 205 pounds) on his wiry frame. I wouldn't be surprised if an up-tempo team gives him a look.
Demetri McCamey, Illinois
I was pretty surprised Demetri McCamey wasn't drafted last night. He's a pure point guard who rarely makes mistakes and is a very good passer. In his last two seasons at Illinois, his assist/turnover ratio was over 2/1.
Yet because McCamey isn't much of an athlete, is a streaky shooter, and it's uncertain if he could defend the quick point guards that are now dominating the league, he wasn't picked up.
Regardless, this guy can run a second unit as well as anyone. Bring him off the bench for a team that doesn't play fast, and he'll be a quality floor general who can do his share of scoring.
Scotty Hopson, Tennessee
Scotty Hopson's decision to enter the NBA Draft was probably due to the massive NCAA issues now surrounding Tennessee than anything. Granted, I thought he would get drafted somewhere in the middle of the second round because of his scoring ability and athleticism as a shooting guard.
Scotty's inconsistency probably was the biggest reason teams didn't pick him up. While at Tennessee he'd have great games or pretty pathetic ones and not much in between.
An athlete of his caliber will be hard to keep off an NBA roster, especially if he's able to improve on his inconsistency and is able to give 100 percent every minute of every game.
David Lighty, Ohio State
A favorite of mine who I wish the Cleveland Cavaliers would have picked up, David Lighty watched the draft and sadly never heard his name called.
Lighty is the final member of the famous Ohio State recruiting class known as the Thad Five which included current NBA players Mike Conley, Daequan Cook, and Greg Oden.
After being medically redshirted in between his sophomore and junior seasons, Lighty is a fifth year senior who is an absolute winner.
Lighty's biggest problem is he doesn't have an NBA skill like his teammate Jon Diebler who was a second-round pick. He's solid in every aspect and is an above average defender. At 6'7", he'd be a solid shooting guard to come off the bench and provide hustle and leadership.
His perimeter shot is pretty good, has a good feel for the game, and he never quit during his tenure at OSU.
Wherever Lighty ends up, that team will be incredibly fortunate to pick up this kid.