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Kings host six draft prospects at practice facility

Posted by rc360 on May 14, 2010

The Sacramento Kings welcomed six college seniors hoping to make the jump into the NBA this summer.

Jerome Randle from UC Berkeley (Cal), Houston’s Aubrey Coleman, Kansas State’s Denis Clemente, South Carolina’s Devan Downey, Tasmin Mitchell from LSU and Michighan State’s Raymar Morgan are preparing for the 2010 NBA Draft, competing for a spot on one of the league’s 30 team rosters.

Six other players, including the Kings’ Jason Thompson’s brother and Rider product Ryan and Seattle University’s Charles Garcia, dropped by the practice facility on Tuesday.

Out of the six players who participated in today’s workout, Randle, who played about 80 miles away from Sacramento, is the only player who is projected to be drafted in the second round of the 2010 NBA Draft. The rest are projected to be undrafted.

Randle averaged 18.6 points and 4.3 assists per game last season. He played with current Magic forward Ryan Anderson. Anderson played at Oak Ridge High School in El Dorado Hills two years ago. Although Randle said his role at Cal was to score, he wants to lead a team as a point guard.

“I’m really comfortable,” the speedy guard said about being a leader on the court. “One thing is you have to take your time. A lot of people just want to speed up the game. If you just take your time and take it possession by possession, I feel like I’ll be alright.”

Coleman led the nation in scoring, finished second in steals per game and shot an average of 15 free throws attempts last season. Although he’s listed at six-feet-four-inches, he fits the mold of undersized shooting guards in the NBA like Eric Gordon of the L.A. Clippers, O.J. Mayo of the Memphis Grizzlies and Ben Gordon of the Detroit Pistons.

Coleman, however, was tired after flying from a workout with the Miami Heat across the country.

“The Heat, they really wanted to see if we were in shape,” he said. “This workout was a little lighter than the Heat’s was.”

Coleman was the top scorer in NCAA college basketball last season, scoring 25.6 points per game, and finished second in steals with 2.7 per game. He also rebounded the ball well for his height with 7.4 rebounds per game.

Although he was one of the best scorers in the nation, Coleman said he could set up his teammates as well and that he’d fit well with the Kings.

“I’m a playmaker when my shot’s not falling,” he said. “I lead the nation scoring and No.2 in steals, and I (rebound) too. I took a look at this team, and I think they could use a scorer.”

Clemente, a Puerto Rican native, was the second-leading scorer for the Wildcats, averaging 16.6 points and 4.2 assists per game. He said he models his game like fellow Puerto Rican and Dallas Mavericks guard Jose Barea and Golden State Warriors guard Monta Ellis.

“I want to be there,” Clemente said about making the NBA. “To be there, you’ve got to work, you’ve got to be dedicated to play basketball. I’m ready to be at this level.”

Clemente is familiar with Kings swingman Francisco Garcia, who is from the Dominican Republic.

“That’s an inspiration for me to see somebody who came from the (Caribbean islands) and play in the NBA,” he said.

There are 450 roster spots in the NBA and most of them are already taken. If any prospects aren’t drafted this summer, they still have a chance to make a roster by playing for a team in a summer league or surviving a training camp roster in the Fall. They can also try out for a National Basketball Developmental League team as well and hope to be called upon by its NBA affiliate.

Just because a player doesn’t land on a roster before the season starts doesn’t mean his career is over. Former King and current Chicago Bulls player Brad Miller was not drafted in the 1998 NBA Draft, and he played in Italy.

The Charlotte Hornets, now in New Orleans, picked him up as a free agent after the NBA season began. Later in his career, he became one of the only five undrafted players in history to play in the NBA All-Star Game. He played in back-to-back all-star games from 2003-04 with the Pacers and Kings, respectively.

Sacramento is one of many stops across the country for these prospects. Maybe one of them might be back to play at Arco Arena, right next door to the practice facility where they were trying to make that dream a reality.

Click here to read the story on Sacramento Press.

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