Illinois’ Leonard, Carolina’s Zeller headline Bucks’ second pre-draft workout
The Bucks’ second pre-draft workout consisted of big time considerations for first-round picks, and a much taller crop of players in general. Illinois C Meyers Leonard and North Carolina center Tyler Zeller have been rumored to be in the mix of players that the Bucks’ could wind up selecting with the 12th pick in the NBA Draft on June 28th. Joining Leonard and Zeller at today’s workout were Syracuse’s big man Fab Melo, Norfolk State’s F/C Kyle O’Quinn, and guards Nick Barbour from High Point University and Terrell Stoglin from Maryland.
Leonard was previously thought of as a mid to late first-rounder, but has since shot up the draft boards after a strong showing at last week’s combine in Chicago. As the tallest player in the draft, Leonard’s stock is rising on account of his versatility and overall athleticism at his position. At 7’ 1” and 245lbs, Leonard has the desirable frame to add some more muscle, and those extra pounds could help him further develop and improve on his 1.9 blocks/game and 8.2 rebounds/game from last year, both ranking in the top three in the Big Ten.
Leonard also acknowledged that Milwaukee was a possible destination.
“Those guys traded away Bogut,” Leonard said. “You have a nice corps of guys, Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis. I know Tobias (Harris). He works out in Long Island where I do sometimes.
“Coming in here I had some confidence and I wanted to show what I can do. Today’s workout was great.”
Zeller was the 2012 ACC Player of the Year, averaging 16.3 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks per game as a senior. Because of his four-year stay at North Carolina, Zeller feels like he is more than prepared to come in and immediately contribute where he can.
“I can step out and I can post up,” he said. “I need to gain a little weight to be able to play inside all the time. At the same time, I think my speed is something I can use to be able to counter that.”
Where Zeller excels is his ability to get up and down the floor, and the capability to stretch the defense and finish at and above the rim in transition. While he could also use some bulk to be able to defend NBA centers and the rim consistently, he is thought to be very cerebral in terms of positioning and help defense, something the Bucks’ desperately could use. Zeller is also the two-time winner of the Skip Prosser Award, which is given to the top male scholar-athlete in basketball, so if the NBA adopts an academic decathlon to its All-Star Weekend, the Bucks’ should strongly consider drafting Zeller in hopes of bringing home the inaugural title (here’s to hoping).
Barbour was High Point’s all-time leader in three-pointers made and finished second in points, behind former NBA coach Gene Littles. He led his team in scoring all four seasons at High Point, and has good size for a point guard at 6’ 3”, 175 lbs.
Melo was named Big East Defensive Player of the Year last season, leading the team in rebounds per game (5.8) and blocks per game (2.9). While offensively raw, Melo was active on defense when he played, once recording 10 blocks in a game against Seton Hall this past season. He also has one of the top-5 coolest names in this year’s draft.
O’Quinn is the 2012 Lou Henson Award winner, given to the nation’s top mid-major player. He also was the MEAC Player of the Year and Defensive POY, and was also the DPOY in 2011. O’Quinn burst onto the national scene when he put up 26 points and 14 rebounds against Missouri in the NCAA Tournament, as 15-seed Norfolk State went on to upset 2-seed Missouri in the second (technically, the first) round.
Stoglin is the reigning ACC scoring champ, averaging 21.6 ppg in his sophomore season, which was sixth in the nation. He was the first Maryland Terrapin to lead the ACC in scoring since (BUCKS FLASHBACK ALERT) Joe Smith in 1995.
Eric Buenning is a writer for Bucksketball.com. Follow him on Twitter.
Categories: Draft Talk