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The Dagger: College Basketball Blog

NC State’s C.J. Leslie and Temple’s Khalif Wyatt headline list of best undrafted college players

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger

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C.J. Leslie (Getty Images)

To appreciate how little stock NBA franchises sometimes put in a draft prospect's college production, consider this example for a moment.

Among the players selected Thursday night was a little-known center from Montenegro who averaged 2.8 points and 2.2 rebounds per game in the Spanish League last season. Not so fortunate was the Atlantic 10 player of the year and a handful of all-conference standouts from some of the strongest leagues in college basketball.

That the Trailblazers selected Marko Todorovic with a second-round pick yet the likes of Khalif Wyatt, Matthew Dellavedova and C.J. Leslie went undrafted has to be extremely frustrating for those guys. Wyatt won Atlantic 10 player of the Year at Temple, Dellavedova carried Saint Mary's on his back the past two seasons and C.J. Leslie helped propel North Carolina State to back-to-back NCAA bids.

The only good news for that trio is they're not alone. Here's a list of the most productive college players who were not selected Thursday night the same way first-team All-American Scottie Reynolds, Duke star Jon Scheyer and ex-Big East player of the year Ben Hansbrough have all gone undrafted in recent years.

1. C.J. Leslie, F, NC State

Comment: It has to be concerns about Leslie's effort and attitude that kept him from being drafted because it certainly shouldn't be his talent. The preseason ACC player of the year is a former top 15 recruit who averaged 18.3 points and 9.2 rebounds during NC State's final 11 games as a sophomore and followed that up with an erratic yet still solid junior campaign.

2. Khalif Wyatt, G, Temple

Comment: The Atlantic 10 player of the year averaged 20.5 points per game, carried a Temple team light on weapons to the NCAA tournament and scored 31 points on both North Carolina State and Indiana once he got there. Unfortunately for him, however, that apparently wasn't enough to offset concerns that he lacked the quickness or athleticism to play shooting guard in the NBA.

3. Matthew Dellavedova, G, Saint Mary's

Comment: Why wouldn't NBA teams covet a pure point guard who averaged 15.8 points per game, 6.4 assists and shot well from behind the arc? Probably because of concerns about Dellavedova's athleticism. The former WCC player of the year in 2012 has the size and skill to play in the NBA, but scouts wondered if he's quick enough to guard opposing point guards off the dribble.

4. Phil Pressey, G, Missouri

Comment: It's no mystery why Pressey wasn't selected by an NBA team: He didn't make good enough decisions with the ball as a junior to offset his lack of size. The 5-foot-11 point guard took too many ill-advised shots and turned it over down the stretch too frequently this past season, which is a shame considering he has the passing ability and court vision to be a solid pro.

5. Vander Blue, G, Marquette

Comment: Had Blue returned to school, he'd have been the centerpiece of a Marquette team with Big East title aspirations after averaging 14.8 points per game this past season as a junior. Instead NBA teams likely passed on him because he isn't a good enough distributor to play point guard and doesn't shoot well enough to be a wing.

6. Jackie Carmichael, F, Illinois State

Comment: Between his chiseled 6-foot-8 frame, his impressive athleticism and his 17.4 points and 9.3 rebounds per game as a senior, Carmichael figured to have a good chance to hear his name called Thursday night. Perhaps concerns about his lack of perimeter game hurt his chances, especially since he's already 23 years old and lacks the upside of other prospects.

7. Myck Kabongo, G, Texas

Comment: Even though Kabongo averaged a solid 14.6 points, 5.0 rebounds and 5.5 assists after regaining his eligibility last February, that 11-game cameo didn't help the ex-Longhorns point guard in the eyes of NBA scouts. Kabongo's speed is an asset, but there were apparently too many concerns about his wayward outside shot and erratic decision making for him to get drafted.

8. Richard Howell, F, NC State

Comment: Between Lorenzo Brown lasting deep into the second round and Howell and Leslie going undrafted, it was a bad night for NC State. Howell was the only first-team all-ACC player not to be selected perhaps because concerns about his lack of athleticism outweighed the fact that he averaged a double-double (12.7 ppg, 10.9 rpg) as a senior.

Honorable mention: Jack Cooley, F, Notre Dame; Seth Curry, G, Duke; Brandon Davies, F, BYU; Dwayne Davis, G, Southern Miss; Trevor Mbakwe, F, Minnesota; Brandon Paul, G, Illinois; James Southerland, G, Syracuse; D.J. Stephens, G, Memphis; Christian Watford, F, Indiana; B.J. Young, G, Arkansas

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C.J. Leslie headlines list of best undrafted players
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