While Hollis Thompson’s recent signing with the Oklahoma City Thunder may have compensated for a brutal NBA draft for Georgetown (and for my home team, the Boston Celtics, who decided to throw away its future and draft TWO Syracuse players in Fab Melo and Kris Joseph), three other undrafted Hoyas from the past two years are looking to follow in Thompson’s footsteps: Austin Freeman, Jason Clark, and Henry Sims.
The NBA Summer League is used to spotlight hidden talent and uncover the best undrafted players, as they have a chance to go up against recently-drafted players and some rookies. While every player technically plays for a team, the undrafted ones aren’t obligated to any single organization, instead acting more like showcases for the entire NBA. Here’s a breakdown of the Hoyas’ performances thus far:
Jason Clark, Miami Heat: There’s really not much left to be said about Clark. Extraordinarily talented and effective in college, Clark suffers from the same problem that plagues many collegiate players — he is a shooting guard in a point guard’s body. If Clark is to make the Heat’s roster, he must demonstrate improved ball handling and an increased ability to run an NBA offense. After a scoreless first outing, Clark came back to hit 3 of 6 field goals, finishing with 6 points and 5 rebounds in 17 minutes.
Unfortunately for Clark, Norris Cole, who just came off of a successful rookie campaign, is looking stellar and will likely take the backup role behind Mario Chalmers on the Heat’s roster.
Chance of making a roster: 2%
Austin Freeman, New Orleans Hornets: I got a chance to see Freeman play in the Kenner League last weekend, and he looked phenomenal. Committed to finding a role in the NBA as a point guard — which was not his natural role at Georgetown — Freeman has slimmed down and shown a better ability to handle the ball. He looks quicker and more athletic, which is vital to his chances of making an NBA roster. But after two games for the New Orleans Hornets, Freeman has totaled only 4 points and 2 rebounds in 15 minutes, taking a backseat to Austin Rivers and Xavier Henry. While the Hornets need all the help they can get in their backcourt, it looks like they may have found it in Freeman’s competition.
Chance of making a roster: 5%
Henry Sims, Chicago Bulls: Sims had such an outstanding senior year that it once seemed a surefire thing that he would be drafted. His poor play over his first three years begged questions about his commitment and consistency, however, and so Hank did not hear his name called on draft day. The Jazz decided to add Sims to their Summer League roster, though his stat line with Utah — just over 4 points and 2 rebounds per game — was underwhelming.
But Sims, now with the Bulls, is suddenly looking smooth and NBA ready.
In a recent summer league contest against Boston, Henry was a team-high +15 for Chicago, showing up his counterpart, Melo, in the process. Reporting on the game, Chicago City Sports stated, “The Celtics drafted Syracuse center Fab Melo in the mid-first round, and Sims went undrafted. However, from this game, Sims looked more NBA-ready, and like the better prospect, if only by a slight margin.” Of course, to those who know college basketball — a group that clearly doesn’t include Celtics’ General Manager Danny Ainge — it is totally unsurprising that a Georgetown product has turned out to be a more polished big man than one from Syracuse, particularly one that couldn’t stay on the court for a full year. But it is promising for Sims and Hoya fans that Hank has been looking good in recent Summer League play.
Chance of making a roster: 35%