Friday’s Blazers pre-draft workouts

By Matt Calkins, Columbian Sports Reporter

Published:

 

The Blazers held two pre-draft workouts at their practice facility Friday. Here’s a run down of who came in:

KEITH BENSON

Age: 22

Position: Center

Height/Weight: 6-11, 230

College: Oakland

Noteworthy: Averaged 17.0 points and 10.1 rebounds in his senior at Oakland while shooting .547 from the field. He shot .622 from the floor his sophomore year. Benson was an AP All-American honorable mention selection each of his last two seasons and was named the Summit League Player and Defensive Player of the Year as a senior.

Draft projection: Draft Express has Benson going as the 14th pick in the second round. His athleticism is intriguing, but he needs to bulk up his skinny frame. At this point, Benson is probably more of an upside player, which makes him an interesting prospect come draft day.

MICHAEL DUNIGAN

Age: 21

Position: Center

Height/Weight: 6-10, 254

Team: BC Kalev/Cramo Tallinn (Estonia)

Noteworthy: Before going overseas, Dunigan averaged 8.7 points and 4.8 rebounds in 20.1 minutes in his two years at Oregon. In Estonia last year, he posted averages of 12.5 points and 8 rebounds in 23.2 minutes per game. Dunigan was a McDonald’s All-American as a high school senior and Parade Magazine Third Team-All American. At Oregon, he ranked sixth and fifth in the Pac-10 in blocks as a freshman and sophomore.

Draft projection: Draft Express currently has Dunigan going as the 27th pick in the second round, and ranks him 17th among big men. He is athletic and physically-imposing and has the ability to get to the free-throw line. Once he’s there, however, he shoots just 58 percent. He does not have a myriad of moves around the basket, and needs to work on his footwork.

RICK JACKSON

Age: 22

Position: Forward/Center

Height/Weight: 6-9, 240

College: Syracuse

Noteworthy: Jackson averaged 13.1 points and 10.3 rebounds while shooting .588 from the field in his senior year at Syracuse. He was named the Big East Defensive Player of the Year that same season and ranks eighth all time at Syracuse with 930 career rebounds.

Draft projection: Draft Express does not currently predict Jackson will be drafted. Jackson’s a back-to-the-basket big man whose ability to rebound is his best attribute. However, considering Syracuse’s fast pace of play, some of the rebounding numbers may be inflated. He also shot just 51 percent from the free-throw line in his four years with the Orange.

DEMETRI McCAMEY

Age: 22

Position: Guard

Height/Weight: 6-3/205

College: Illinois

Noteworthy: Averaged 14.6 points and 6.1 assists his senior year at Illinois. The season before, his 7.1 assists per game was the second-best average in the country.

Draft projection: Draft Express has McCamey going as the 21st pick in the second round and ranks him eighth among NCAA seniors. There is no doubting McCamey’s natural talent, but the Illini went just 11-13 to finish the season while the point guard was publicly called out by his head coach for a lack of effort. The upside is there, but the city of Portland and the Blazers don’t generally value those unwilling to improve themselves.

DARIUS MORRIS

Age: 20

Position: Guard

Height/Weight: 6-4, 190

College: Michigan

Noteworthy: Averaged 15.0 points and 6.7 assists per game for the Wolverines as a sophomore last year — a major increase from his 4.4 points and 2.6 assists as a freshman despite seeing 24 minutes a game. Was named to the All-Big Ten third team as a sophomore and ranked fifth in the nation in assists per game while setting a school record for total assists in a season.

Draft projection: Draft Express has Morris going as the No. 5 pick in the second round and ranks him ninth among 2011 guards. He is not incredibly quick, but has a size advantage that allows to him excel and seems to have grown adapt at utilizing his frame. His 27.9 percent shooting from 3-point distance, however, is a major area for improvement.

GREG SMITH

Age: 20

Position: Center

Height/Weight: 6-10, 250

College: Fresno State

Noteworthy: Averaged 11.7 points and 8.1 rebounds last year as a sophomore and was selected to the All-WAC second team while finishing fourth in the conference in rebounds, blocks and field-goal percentage.

Draft projection: Draft Express has Smith going as the 28th pick in the second round. He possesses solid athleticism and can play with his back to the basket with reasonable mobility and has enormous hands. However, he failed to significantly improve from his freshman year to his sophomore year, and was part of a Fresno State team that finished just 11-12 last year.

NOLAN SMITH

Age: 22

Position: Guard

Height/Weight: 6-2, 185

College: Duke

Noteworthy: Averaged 20.6 points and 5.1 assists his senior season with the Blue Devils, earning consensus First-team All-America honors while being named ACC Player of the Year. Helped lead Duke to a national title as a junior.

Draft projection: Draft Express has Smith going as the sixth pick in the second round. Smith became one of college basketball’s best players last season and has shown the ability to handle big-pressure situations. He can both shoot and attack the basket, but is somewhat of a tweener between a point guard and shooting guard. While Smith is not tremendously quick, he does have a high basketball IQ.

MALCOLM THOMAS

Age: 22

Position: Forward

Height/Weight: 6-9, 220

College: San Diego State

Noteworthy: Averaged 11.4 points and 8.1 rebounds his senior with the Aztecs while being named All-MWC second team honors in each of his two years with the program.

Draft projection: Draft Express has Thomas going as the 25th pick in the second round. He is explosive and has an 86-inch wingspan, but seems to be a one-dimensional player on offense. He must seriously improve his jump shot to make it in the NBA.

JORDAN WILLIAMS

Age: 21

Position: Forward

Height/Weight: 6-10, 260

College: Maryland

Noteworthy: Averaged 16.9 points and 11.8 rebounds per game for Maryland last year as a sophomore, leading the ACC in rebounding while ranking third nationally. He was also second in Division I with 25 double-doubles and was an AP All-America honorable mention selection.

Draft projection: Draft Express has Williams going as the 16th pick in the second round. He is strong and an obviously skilled rebounder who lost 10 pounds since the end of the season to improve his draft stock. The weight loss was a necessity given how he’s only a so-so athlete.