The biggest reason I ended up asking this question after the Raptors made the 59th selection in this year’s draft, was that the man picked, Miami center Dewan Hernandez, hadn’t played college basketball in over a year. (The other reason, he changed his last name from Huell to Hernandez this year) Hernandez got wrapped up in the Christian Dawkins corruption trial, a trial emblematic of everything wrong with the NCAA, and was forced to sit out this past season as a result. It’s nice to see him get an NBA chance in spite of that.
And he will get an NBA chance, Hernandez has some skills. He had a quiet freshman season at Miami, but broke out in his sophomore year, as he seized the starting center position and averaged an efficient 11.4 points per game, nearly leading the team in scoring. Hernandez was poised to elevate his draft stock, having spent the offseason working on his shooting to help impress NBA teams, when the bribery scandal hit, sidelining him for the year.
In his breakout year at Miami Hernandez was an effective post-scorer, roll man and shot-blocker, and was at his best running the floor, though he didn’t exactly flash much playmaking. He had an excellent Draft Combine this year, grading out as the 3rd most athletic big overall, per NBA Athlete’s composite rankings. He also showcased a re-vamped jumper in workouts.
The hope for Hernandez at the next level is that he’s an athletic play finisher on offense, outrunning other bigs in transition and potentially representing a dual roll/pop threat, while also offering some shotblocking and perhaps some switchability on the other end. Here’s hoping it all comes together. (Remember, none of you knew who Pascal Siakam was)