News and notes from NBA pre-draft camp

May, 20, 2011

CHICAGO -- Quick hitters from the NBA pre-draft camp:

• The most impressive all-around player continues to be Morehead State's Kenneth Faried. Why? More than any player in this draft, he knows who he is, what kind of player he'll be in the NBA, and appreciates his opportunity.

Faried became the NCAA's all-time leading rebounder this past season, breaking Tim Duncan's record. He arrived at the combine at Attack Athletics with the mindset that he was going to hustle, show that his motor is always on, and prove he can continue to board and defend. Of course, there are no five-on-five drills, but his fundamentals are always on display. He had to go through shooting drills like everyone else, but he never tried to do too much. When I talked to him during the ESPNU broadcast, I found his approach to this process to be correct: He wants to be a rebounder for an NBA team. He'll move up in the NBA draft because teams can lock in what he'll be and won't have to worry about him in the locker room.

• BYU's Jimmer Fredette helped himself again on Thursday. He made shots, he didn't look like he was out of place athletically and, as always, he interviewed well. A number of teams told me that Fredette is a known commodity. He won't be a star, but he will score off the bench and deliver offensively in spurts when needed.

• UConn's Kemba Walker and San Diego State's Kawhi Leonard were told to sit out the first day of drills, which is no surprise for potential lottery picks. Duke's Kyrie Irving, Arizona's Derrick Williams, Kentucky's Brandon Knight, Colorado's Alec Burks and Texas' Tristan Thompson sat out, as well. Walker and Leonard, however, stuck around almost the entire day, watching with long faces, looking as though they wanted to be on the court. Neither would have been hurt by showing his quickness and explosive ability at his respective position (point guard and forward).

• Kansas' Josh Selby said he declared for the draft because he felt good about his game while working out with Joe Abunassar in Las Vegas after the season. It's strange that the decision came down to his offseason workout.

• Michigan's Darius Morris said he researched the 1998 lockout and felt that year's draft was similar to this one, and there was still a season then, so he isn't worried about this year's potential work stoppage.

• Texas' Cory Joseph said his decision to stay in the NBA draft was made after he had a good showing at the New Jersey Nets' workout on May 7-8. The problem is that he was working out against players who are marginal selections at best, as well as those who withdrew from the draft.

• Hofstra's Charles Jenkins and Walker are working out together in Long Island. Jenkins said his height advantage will help Walker prepare for the NBA. If Jenkins had played at a power-six school, he'd be a headline player at this camp.

• One team said that Washington State's Klay Thompson initiated a discussion about his arrest for marijuana possession during an interview Wednesday. Thompson wanted to get it out in the open. When interviewing him Thursday, he discussed it again with maturity. Remember, Thompson apologized to the fans in Pullman when he sat out a game against UCLA shortly after his arrest. Thompson's skill was already earning points with NBA teams; his acceptance of responsibility will help him, as well.

• Kansas' Marcus Morris said he wanted to be with the small forwards more than the power forwards for two reasons: that's more his natural position and he wanted to be separate from his twin brother, Markieff. He said they need to be judged separately in a setting like this.

• Onetime Kentucky student Enes Kanter was the star of the first day. The reason? No one had seen him in a competitive setting since October, outside of a few Kentucky practices in October. Kanter was ruled permanently ineligible by the NCAA for accepting benefits while on a Turkish club as a teenager. His face-up game, ability to run the floor, and overall strength will continue to make him a hit among scouts. He carries himself well, too. He was also the one player who stayed after the workouts and continued to take shots.

• I know it's a snapshot of one day, but Georgia's Travis Leslie and Trey Thompkins didn't stand out. Maybe both should be back with the Bulldogs. Other players who probably should have returned to school based on their inability to distinguish themselves here are Tennessee's Scotty Hopson, Kentucky's DeAndre Liggins and Fresno State's Greg Smith.

• Boston College's Reggie Jackson didn't participate due to injury. That might hurt his hopes of moving up in the draft; he would certainly have highlighted his athleticism here.

• The list of point guards in Friday's groupings show just how deep the position was this season: Irving (not expected to participate), Fredette, Walker, Jenkins, Joseph, Knight, Norris Cole (Cleveland State), Andrew Goudelock (College of Charleston), Shelvin Mack (Butler), Demetri McCamey (Illinois), Darius Morris, Iman Shumpert (Georgia Tech), Nolan Smith (Duke) and Isaiah Thomas (Washington).

• I wish Butler's Matt Howard had been invited. He could have competed against the other bigs as well as anyone. Don't be surprised if he pops up in the second round despite not being invited. Teams will love his practice habits and locker-room presence.

• Former Tennessee assistant and onetime interim coach Tony Jones was at the camp. He filled in for Bruce Pearl for eight games during Pearl's SEC suspension for misleading NCAA investigators. Jones, who was fired along with the rest of the Tennessee staff, said he is going to South Korea to coach for 10 days and be evaluated for a head-coaching job. If that doesn't work out, he may try to work in the first division in Germany. If all that falls through, he plans to do radio in Knoxville and jump back into the NCAA in time for the 2012 coaching carousel cycle. He said the Committee on Infractions hearing in June has prevented him from landing another assistant coaching job this spring. He said Pearl also wants to have his hearing in order to defend himself and ultimately move on.

• Arizona guard Lamont Jones is transferring back East, possibly to a Big East school, according to reports in the New York media. The New York Post reported he might try to get a hardship waiver in order to play immediately. According to one source with knowledge of the situation, Jones may not get the support he needs from Arizona in a case like that. He originally told the Wildcats staff that he was going to play in Europe before mentioning a few days later that his grandmother is ill. To get a waiver to play immediately, the previous school has to provide supporting documentation.

The Wildcats are looking at Jones' stay in Tucson as though he were a junior college player whose two years of eligibility have expired. The Wildcats have moved on, but according to a source, it doesn't appear that Arizona will endorse a transfer that would allow him to play immediately somewhere else.

Andy Katz | email

ESPN Senior Writer




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