Francisco Garcia Draft Capsule
VITALS: 6-7, 195, Louisville
OVERVIEW: The main catalyst behind Louisville’s first appearance in the Final Four in 19 years, Garcia led the team in scoring (15.7), assists (148), blocks (56) and steals (65). Leading the team in scoring for the second straight year, Garcia also ranked within the top eight in Conference USA in each of those categories. The swingman, a three-time All-Conference USA selection, holds the Cardinals’ single-game records in both assists (15) and 3-pointers made (8). One of 10 players named to the Conference USA All-Decade Team, Garcia captured the league’s top freshman honor in 2003.
LIKELY DRAFT POSITION: Garcia is solidly in the first round, but it remains to be seen how high he can go. Some think Denver would like to snag him with one of its two picks (20, 22), but the uncertain availability of other blue-chip players who could fall to Denver make that problematic. The factor in Garcia’s favor is that he has the type of strong fundamental training that would allow him to be a complementary player on a strong team, who drafts in the 20s.
COMPARATIVE UPSIDE: Josh Howard
COMPARATIVE DOWNSIDE: Quincy Lewis
ROLE PROJECTION: Reserve scoring small forward.
POSITIVES: Garcia has excellent shooting mechanics. When he’s rolling, he can carry a team with his outside shooting. He also is tougher than he looks with his lean body. He doesn’t mind taking the ball to the basket strong and drawing fouls to get his points. Garcia has already had some adversity in his life, being raised in New York in a hardscrabble environment. He is not likely to back down the first time things don’t go his way.
SHORTCOMINGS: Like Reggie Miller and Tayshaun Prince before him, Garcia will always have to answer skeptics’ questions about his wiry, thin frame. There’s no question NBA small forwards will try to take him into the post to see how he reacts to an elbow here, a leaning torso there. Most of Garcia’s questions as a rookie will be as to who he will defend. If he answers those affirmatively, he should have a long career.