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Draft sleepers poised for NBA success


June 23, 2005
Let's look at some of the sleepers in the NBA draft. My definition of a sleeper is a guy who won't be taken in the lottery. Following are the Rip Van Winkle prospects who I believe will make contributions in the NBA when given the opportunity.

These sleepers are five diamonds who won't be called early by commissioner David Stern on draft night Tuesday. But they will be factors down the line.

Luther Head | Guard | Illinois
Jarrett Jack | Guard | Georgia Tech
David Lee | Forward | Florida
Wayne Simien | Forward | Kansas
Salim Stoudamire | Guard | Arizona

Stoudamire probably won't be drafted in the first round, but he can flat-out shoot the rock, baby! The Arizona guard is also an exceptional free-throw shooter. There is no substitute for a guy who can make shots.

Simien is a winner who can play in the NBA for years to come. Jack is a tough, physical guard, and Head has seen his stock rise. Lee is a good athlete up front.

While these five guys aren't projected as lottery picks or automatic NBA stars, I feel they'll reward the NBA teams who draft them.

Dick Vitale coached the Detroit Pistons and the University of Detroit before broadcasting ESPN's first college basketball game in 1979. Send a question to Vitale for possible use on ESPNEWS.

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