By Hocine LOUKKAF on 7/1/2018

For sure, it has to be a disappointment not to be drafted. But from Ben Wallace to Bruce Bowen, some defied the odds and somehow became successful players in the League. Now, let’s take a look at those undrafted prospects who hope to be in the NBA in the years to come.

1. Ajdin Penava (6-9 PF Marshall)

Not the most respected prospect despite his strengths. Penava was the college best shot blocker with 3.9blks per game. He’s more than doubled his stats from his sophomore to his junior season, become a much improved shooter (34% from three) and has shown his versatility by leading the break and finishing his college career one year earlier with a 18pts 6rbds 6as perf. Tell me what you want but he deserved better than being undrafted. He will play the summer league with the Wizards and I’m sure will be a long term standout in the League.

2. Rawle Alkins (6-4 SG Arizona)

A former top 10 prospect in high school, Alkins has the same profile than his fellow NYC mate Lance Stephenson. A strong guard with good athleticism, he could have had a better statistic year if he didn’t have to share the guard spot with Alonzo Trier. He’s a good rebounder and defender (4.9rbds and 1.3stl) and will use the summer leagues with the Raptors to prove he deserves a contract.

3. Trevon Duval (6-2 PG Duke)

It’s crazy to imagine Duval, a top 10 prospect in the 2017 class slipping so low. Duval had a lot of pressure leading the Blue Devils and despite his up and down season, his passing and defending ability  (5.6as and 1.5stl) should have led him to an early second round pick. Finally, Houston signed him for their summer League and it may be the ideal team to launch his career.

4. Brandon McCoy (7-0 C UNLV)

Small ball killed the big men. As a freshman, the UNLV center averaged 16.9pts 10.3rbds and 1.8blk  while having his best game against DeAndre Ayton. Yet, his lack of versatility on PnR defense and shooting made him slip to the point no team chose him. Since then, he signed to play the summer leagues with the Bucks who may appreciate having an old school big who can rebound and score efficiently near the basket.

5. Alonzo Trier (6-5 SG Arizona)

Alkins’s backcourt mate is a complete guard who scored 18pts per game on 38% from three. Trier is not the longest or most explosive player but his shooting, combo guard potential and poise were enough to convince the Knicks to sign him for the summer leagues.

6. Malik Newman (6-2 SG Kansas)

Newman had a tremendous season with Kansas scoring 14.2pts per game on 41.5% from three including 22pts per game over his last four games in the tournament. He’s also a good rebounder at the guard spot with 5+boards per game. His lacks of height and the fact that he’s more a scoring option than a real combo may have made him slip but no one questions his ability to shoot and his efficiency in clutch situations.

7. Dakota Mathias (6-4 SG Purdue)

You always need a savvy guard who can shoot the ball. That’s what you got with Mathias, your typical tough and smart Boilermaker. With 46% from three on 5+ attempts per game and a 2.0 a/to ratio, Mathias could be a solid backup combo guard who can pass the ball and score his open threes in the League. He could be a Dellavedova type of player in the summer leagues with the Cavs.

8. Trygvii Hlinason (7-1 C Valencia)

Of course his 2.8pts per game haven’t helped him but when he had the opportunity to showcase his skills with Iceland national team, he always did his thing. Hlinason is a workhorse inside, he will rebound, block shots and protect the rim. He may not fit the new small ball shooting NBA but found a spot in the Raptors summer league team, who may have watched the 19pts 7rbds Hlinason put last year against Valanciunas.

9. Kenrich Williams (6-7 SF/SG TCU)

Of course Williams’ glue guy profile and versatility (10.3rbds 4.9as 1.9stl and 39.5% 3pt shooting) is interesting. Now, his injury history and age limit his attractivity. Maybe a team could use him 10-15min a game from the two to the four spot to allow other players to rest. Will he be able to become more than that? The Nuggets, who love this kind of player, will test him during the summer leagues.

10. Gary Clark (6-7 PF/SF Cincinnati)

Following the footsteps of former Cincinnati great big men like Fortson, Martin or Maxiell, Clark is your typical grinding PF who will make it all to make his team win. He’s a well rounded player who has worked on becoming a better shooter (43% 3pt, 2as for 1to per game) and defends and rebounds as hard as he can (8.7rbds 1.4stl 1.2blk). Age and lack of size make him a limited player  but you always need tough minded players to come from the bench. Houston know and to use players like this (e.g. Chuch Hayes, Tarik Black) and will help him make the best out of his opportunity in the summer leagues.

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