June 11, 2009 in Sports

Gonzaga’s Daye leaning toward NBA

By Mike Cranston Associated Press
 
Jesse Tinsley photo

Austin Daye’s shot-blocking ability, here sending one back against Patty Mills of Saint Mary’s, is one of his biggest assets on defense.
(Full-size photo)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Larry Brown coached Austin Daye’s father, Darren, at UCLA. Now it appears Brown will be joined in the NBA next season by the second generation Daye.

Despite questions about the lanky 6-foot-10 forward’s strength and toughness, Austin Daye said after working out for Brown’s Charlotte Bobcats on Thursday that he’s heavily leaning toward keeping his name in the draft and skipping his final two years of school.

“I have a feeling things look good for me right now,” Daye said. “Me and my adviser, my father, have been talking and I feel comfortable (being drafted) in the 1-20 range, so we’ll see how it goes.”

Daye, from Irvine, Calif., declared for the draft in April, but didn’t hire an agent. That leaves him room to change his mind by Monday afternoon and return to school.

Daye, who averaged 12.7 points and 6.8 rebound in his sophomore year at Gonzaga last season, performed poorly on several athletic tests in the NBA’s pre-draft camp last month in Chicago. But Daye, who has also worked out for Toronto, Phoenix, Detroit, Minnesota and Golden State, said he’s been getting positive feedback despite concerns about his 200-pound frame and suspect defensive skills.

He said he’ll make a final decision after upcoming workouts with New Jersey and New York. But when asked if it was safe to say all signs point to him turning pro, he replied, “Oh yeah.”

Daye said his father, who was a freshman on Brown’s Final Four team at UCLA in 1980, advised him to “not get into his doghouse” in Browns’ pre-draft workout, which is heavy on teaching and running plays.

Daye was joined by Dwayne Anderson of Villanova, Josh Carter of Texas A&M, Gary Flowers of Chipola Junior College in Florida, Leo Lyons of Missouri and Lamont Mack of Charlotte.

“I think he’s going to be a heck of a prospect, but I think physically it’ll take a while,” Brown said of Daye. “But all the skills are there. He’s got great handling ability. He can shoot the ball. We’ll see.”

Holding the 12th pick and with a project big man in Alexis Ajinca already on the roster, the Bobcats don’t seem to be a likely destination for Daye.

“There are a lot of similarities in my mind,” Brown said of Daye and Ajinca.

As for whether Daye would be better off returning to school and bulking up, Brown was coy.

“I think they all are better off,” Brown said, “but I’m a voice in the wind.”

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