Darington Hobson wasn’t even sure he’d make it to college at mid-major New Mexico.
So imagine how he must be feeling after getting drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks in the second round Thursday night.
The junior small forward was deemed too talented and too versatile to pass up on by the Bucks when their first pick of the second round rolled around, despite what seemed to be more pressing needs elsewhere. Even if others may have been weary of his many stops along the way.
Hobson played at five different high schools and paperwork problems prevented him from enrolling in a division one school out of high school. After two years at Eastern Utah, Hobson enrolled at New Mexico last season and became the leader of the team from the get-go. And when I say leader, I mean he virtually led them in every important category.
Minutes, points, rebounds, assists and steals were all saw Hobson on top. The 6-foot-7, 210 pound swingman was Mr. Everything for the Lobo’s last season, and that made a believer out of John Hammond, who seemed to be struggling to hold in his delight when speaking of Hobson.
“The guy loves the game, a real gym rat,” said Hammond of Hobson. “A guy like Darington Hobson knows how to play. He’s a very unselfish player and he plays the game. A very good passer, has great vision.”
My immediate thoughts when looking over scouting reports and physical specs on Hobson is that he’s a bit similar to Carlos Delfino, at least in terms of versatility. Hobson probably won’t be looking at many minutes until Delfino’s contract expires or used in a trade. However, Hobson may be able to avoid the D-League by acting as the Bucks emergency third point guard if he’s able to prove himself in Summer League as a ball handler and defender.
Further intrigue surrounds Hobson.
He ranked 20th in John Hollinger’s draft rater out pacing first round picks like Larry Sanders, Ekpe Udoh and Ed Davis. Since John Hammond has taken over as Bucks GM, he’s picked up a number of players who fared well in statistical measures like Hollinger’s, including Joe Alexander and Darnell Jackson. Hobson’s stellar rebounding numbers, assist numbers and decent shooting percentage (44%) all likely contributed to his faring well in Hollinger’s rater.
When the subject of what position Hammond saw fit for Hobson, he did not hesitate to throw out some lofty possibilities for the Bucks new second round pick.
“He definitely is a combo guy,” said Hammond. “When people say a 6’6 guy can play point guard, most of the time you kind of roll your eyes and say, ‘yeah right’. But I think he can play a little point, because he has good enough feet defensively. The old theory is you can’t play it unless you can guard it. And I think that he might be able to guard the position.”
Hammond kept on about his thoughts on Hobson as a point guard and more.
“Basically that’s the way New Mexico played him, they basically played him as a point guard,” said Hammond. “He was a facilitator and he loved doing that. He’s big enough obviously to guard two guards and he can play some small forward. That’s a pretty tall order for a guy who’s never played the NBA game to say he can play three positions. Hopefully he can be successful at one.”
Thriving at three positions, as a second round pick? It sounds like the expectations for Hobson are high, but the man they call “Butta”, has overcome more.