With the NBA Draft only a day away, the buzz building for Canadian players Andrew Nicholson, Robert Sacre and to a lesser degree Kris Joseph. The workouts are done and it looking like these three guys will be the homegrown kids likely have their names called out by David Stern on Thursday evening.
But this trio aren't the only seniors possibly heading into a pro career.
There are a few other cats that you can mark down as having a shot at the very least a summer league look before then head off to potential overseas riches. Can Ball Ray gives a rundown of the players who have graduated this season as the top seniors that he thinks could potentially be ballin' for a living in the fall ...
Devoe Joseph, Guard
Devoe Joseph, the older brother of Cory, had what could be described as a Cinderella ending to his college career. Going from an almost floundering situation after leaving Minnesota, he would show out in Eugene leading the Ducks in scoring (16.7), assists (3.3), steals (1.4) and minutes (35.3) on his way to being named to the All PAC-12 First Team. He had some individual workouts leading up to this week and as a very good shooter with some play making ability and good defense, he could very well see himself on some team's summer league roster. With all the talented guards in this year's Draft, it's looking like he will not be called out as a 2nd round pick but I'm betting that some team will be willing to take a chance on him, at least for July, before he flies across the Atlantic.
Olu Ashaolu, Forward
Here is a guy that dominated in a mid-major league before he followed former AAU teammate Devoe to Oregon. He averaged a near double-double (14.2 points, 9.4 rebounds) at Louisiana Tech his junior season and was named All Western Athletic Conference honorable mention and All Defensive First Team before transferring but was not the same player statistically with the Ducks. Like Joseph, Olu got a few individual workout looks in June notably in Toronto and Milwaukee but he may be on the short end here. He's got a DeJuan Blair type game meaning a big man in a short body but he is an active player on both ends. Though not as offensively polished he could still find his way onto a summer league team also but that could be best case scenario. I'm thinking he signs in Europe before the summer ends on an A division squad, which wouldn't be bad for him either.
Hernst Laroche, Guard
Laroche is a heady point guard that could score and distribute as he's displayed throughout his star studded career at New Mexico State. Though not the most flashy, he is solid on all facets and on top of that he has a motor to boot evidenced by his school record 4,417 minutes played. He was named to the All WAC Conference 2nd Team as a senior last year and is among the Aggies all time leaders in points (15th with 1,209), assists (2nd with 552), steals (1st with 216) and games played (1st with 135). He is a consummate play maker and my sports agent buddy Matt tells me that European teams are looking for lead guards. Laroche could do just that for any team across the water.
Tyler Murray, Guard
Murray is a very solid combo guard out of Wagner. He can stroke the three very well, he's a good playmaker and he has some size on him at 6'5". Unfortunately, like the other very good mid-major backcourt guys, there is an excess of talent at that position but it's possible for this guy to head over to Europe. As a player who is a true triple threat scorer that can move to the point if needed I think the two time All Northeast Conference selection has a great shot at landing a pro contract early on.
Harouna Mutombo, Guard/Forward
Mutombo has been through the wringer of sorts in his college career. Beginning as the Southern Conference Freshman of the Year sets some lofty expectations. With his team not at the same talent level as some others in the conference the rest of his time at Western Carolina, his role and position was shifted almost on a nightly basis. All that meant for Harouna was that he was learning to play in different spots on the floor. He may not be great at one thing but he does many things well. He has length, strength and the ability to defend almost anyone and that could mean a spot on a team overseas.
Ashton Smith, Guard
Here is the lone representative from Division II. Smith was showered with accolades while playing at Indiana University - Pennsylvania. He is a two time Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference First Team selection and was not only named PSAC West Conference Player of the Year but also an NABC DII All American. How's that for a resume? He's a scoring combo guard, more a two than a one, and can play some D. If these credentials can't get him at least a look with a pro team overseas than no one is getting a contract.