View Full Version : We've seen the "Year of the High School player" is this the draft of t

04-02-2004, 03:51 AM
Given the idea that it's a somewhat weak year for college players coming out, is this _really_ the year we get familiar with some of these names?

These names shouldn't be foreign to you

Sean Deveney
Posted: 4 hours ago

Andris Biedrins is only 17, and in many ways, it's obvious. He's sitting with his older brother, 21-year-old Uldis, at a hotel in Los Angeles during All-Star weekend in February, talking about his experiences playing professionally for Skonto Riga in his native Latvia. When it comes to Andris' success against older, tougher veterans, Uldis pipes in to take some credit: "I have been beating him up for years," Uldis says. "He's used to it."

As for taking in the Los Angeles scene, especially during the weekend-long debauchery that accompanies All-Star festivities, Andris also was prepared for the kind of nightlife attendant with being a promising hoopster. That is, until his mother, Inita, got hold of his plans: "After the games are over," Inita says, in Latvian, "I tell him to go back to the hotel and go to bed. And he does."

With players in the NBA draft getting increasingly younger, curfews and bullying brothers no longer are oddities for potential lottery picks -- teddy bears and story time can't be far behind. Many decry the presence of American high school kids in the draft, but the same trend toward youth has taken over internationally. It creates uncertainty. Not only is it a crapshoot to pick a teenager in June, it's a crapshoot just figuring out who will be in the draft.

Biedrins is a rarity. He is certain he will enter the draft, and he will be a lottery pick. He's a pure power forward, a lefty with a good frame. He is 6-11, athletic and a terrific shot blocker, with a mean streak not usually seen in kids his age (one scout compares him with Kenyon Martin). He runs the floor and has a fairly polished back-to-the-basket game. He originally planned to attend a prep school in Washington, D.C., but his status as a pro in Latvia washed out those plans. When he hitched onto the DC Assault AAU team last year for the Big Time Tournament in Las Vegas, he was dominant, averaging a triple-double.

Biedrins, who turns 18 on Friday, understands that being a lottery pick won't necessarily translate into immediate success. He has watched last year's No. 2 pick, Darko Milicic, with great care. "I have done all I can do in Latvia," Biedrins says. "Even if I don't play, I will be getting better just by practicing. I think Darko does the same."

But after Biedrins, issues of youth and contract buyouts dominate the international scene. There will be eight to 11 international players chosen in the draft's first round, but who goes where largely will depend on which players are on the board. Some definitely are in the draft, and some will come in only if a team guarantees a certain draft slot. Others are not likely to enter but could change their minds and create a late stir.

In for sure

1. Andris Biedrins.

2. Ivan Chiriaev, SF, 7-1, St. Thomas Aquinas HS (Oakville, Ontario). He's only 19 but is as good a shooter as there will be in the draft. At his size, he's likely to go in the lottery.

3. Roko-Leni Ukic, PG, 6-5, Split (Croatia). He's the hot name among NBA G.M.s. Ukic has good size and is quick with the ball. Shooting ability is the big question.

4. Ivan Koljevic, PG, 6-1, Buducnost (Serbia-Montenegro). He's 19 and probably the best ballhandler coming out this year. Still, he must prove he is a point guard, not a shooting guard.

5. Sergei Monya, SF, 6-8, CSKA Moscow. Monya is NBA-ready, with a solid, wide body and athleticism. But he is raw and needs to diversify his game. His buyout could be an issue.

6. Ha-Seung Jin, C, 7-4, Yonsei University (South Korea). He's enormous and has been working out in Los Angeles with the SFX agency. He's not very athletic and certainly is no Yao Ming, but he's a first-rounder.

7. Sasha Vujacic, SG, 6-6, Snaidero Udine (Italy). He did not impress scouts at the Chicago predraft camp last year. He will try to play the point but is an off-guard.

Guarantee me a spot, please

1. Martynas Andriuskevicius, C, 7-3, Zalgiris Kaunas (Lithuania). He's only 18 but has been taken under the wing of Arvydas Sabonis, and scouts see a lot of Sabonis in Andriuskevicius' game. He needs a top 10 guarantee.

2. Kosta Perovic, C, 7-3, Partizan Belgrade (Serbia-Montenegro). He'll be looking for a top 10 guarantee and probably will get it. Perovic is a good shooter, handles himself well in the paint and is simply huge.

3. Damir Omerhodzic, SF, 6-10, Cibona (Croatia). Few small forward prospects are as talented, but there are rumors about his rough personality.

4. Pavel Podkolzine, C, 7-5, Metis Varese (Italy). He wanted a lottery guarantee last year but pulled out of the draft when he could not get one. He'll get one this year.

5. Marcelo Huertas, PG, 6-3, Paulistano (Brazil). This lightning-quick Argentinian has drawn the interest of several teams. He's more skilled than Leandro Barbosa, the Suns' Brazilian point guard.

6. Peter John Ramos, C, 7-2, Criollos de Caguas (Puerto Rico). This former New Yorker is excelling in Puerto Rico. He's a big talent, but focus is a question. Ramos wants to be in the NBA but wants to be a first-rounder.

Dark horses

These players likely won't enter the draft, but remember their names, just in case:

1. Johan Petro, C, 6-11, Pau Orthez (France).

2. Rudy Fernandez, SG, 6-5, Joventut Badalona (Spain).

3. Pedja Samardziski, C, 6-11, Partizan Belgrade (Serbia-Montenegro).

4. Tiago Splitter, PF, 7-0, Tau Ceramica (Spain).

5. Uros Slokar, PF, 6-11, Benetton Treviso (Italy).

Sean Deveney is a staff writer for Sporting News. Email him at sdeveney@sportingnews.com.


04-02-2004, 09:06 AM
I hope one of these 7-3 C's drops to the end of the 1st round....

04-02-2004, 09:09 AM
I hope one of these 7-3 C's drops to the end of the 1st round....

To spot 32, where the NBA champs Indiana Pacers will be waiting ;)

04-02-2004, 09:27 AM
yeah, perhaps, but, we already have a 7.+ wonder on our IRL.

If we want "talent" and "bigger" at the C, I'll repeat myself, look for another Dutchman over at the Bucks roster:

Dan Gadzuric
2003-04 Statistics

68 0 17.5 177-335 .528 0-1 .000 55-114 .482 1.80 3.00 4.90 .4 .71 1.46 .62 2.60 6.0

Ranks #13 in the NBA in Offensive Rebounds Per 48 Minutes(5.0)
Ranks #4 in the NBA in Blocks Per 48 Minutes(3.99)

According to Hoops Hype he is FA at the end of the season, made 560 this year.
According to GM he is free as well.

More then interesting pickup, great talent, size, and athletic.

04-02-2004, 11:07 PM
the lowest pick of the first round is actually 31, since twolves still have to forfeit a pick.

gadz is nice, but i don't we can get him. bucks are pretty high on the guy. and we all know how rare decent big men are these days.

Jose Slaughter
04-03-2004, 01:41 AM
Actually Charlotte will be the 30th NBA team.

That's why they are going to the new divisional lineup next season.

The Pacers will get the 29th pick because, as stated above, Minnesota gave up their pick for getting caught in the Joe Smith deal.

It would be better to get a player & leave him overseas for at least a year.

Ha-Seung Jin would be the guy I hope slides. It doesn't say in the info provided above, but he is listed at 325 lbs.

Here is a link to some other info on him.


And a little of what they have to say.

Thick physique with a knack for scoring. Jin weighs a surprising 325 pounds, possessing a frame that only the upper echelon of post players carry; and what's even more impressive is the fact that he may still be growing, meaning he may fill out his body and possibly put on more weight in the form of muscle to help him battle in the paint. This unique young man's number one strength would undoubtedly be his prototype height for the ever evolving NBA. With competition from players like Shaq, Yao, Illgauskas, and B. Miller, his size alone makes him an interesting prospect to say the least. Jin has good fundamentals and is still eager to learn the game. An improving stroke from beyond the paint, decent free throw shooting and a soft touch inside the post; scouts have constantly praised his shooting as a strength in his offensive game. Another thing to note would be his dedication to the game, which may be indirectly connected to his Korean heritage, commonly stereotyped as having high levels of work ethic. News sites report that this kid plays nearly 4 hours day! That is not including the time spent on bulking up his body in the weight room. This might be the best news; he is willing to work to get better.

While his offense may be raw at this point, but unlike many foreign centers, he does not shy away from contact. Contrary to popular misconception, though, he plays nothing like Yao Ming. Jin plays more of a down-and-dirty post game like Eddy Curry/Shaquille O'neal/Zach Randolph than a finesse game like Yao Ming. It will take time for that to translate to the NBA, but the fact that he is willing to mix it up inside instead of drifting to the perimeter is another plus to his game. With his aggressiveness on offense and his natural yet unrefined talent on the court, he has all the physical tools to be very capable offensive player in this league.

04-07-2004, 04:59 PM
Well, well look who Inside Hoops has down at #30


I doubt they've seen him or really know any more than anything we've read but it's intriguing...