June 3, 2012 in Sports

UConn’s Drummond may be gamble in draft

Dom Amore Hartford Courant
Associated Press photo

Andre Drummond, at the age of 19, has a combination of size, speed and agility that makes him an intriguing NBA draft prospect.
(Full-size photo)

The Memphis Grizzlies took a chance in 2009, the year they used the No. 2 pick in the NBA draft on UConn’s Hasheem Thabeet.

By February 2010, Thabeet became the highest-drafted player sent to the NBA’s Developmental League.

Such is the risk when an NBA team, seduced by size, takes on a “project” and tries to envision what a player will become. Another UConn big man, Andre Drummond, is awaiting entry to the NBA and has also been mentioned this week as a possible No. 2 pick, once the Charlotte Bobcats were assigned that slot in the lottery.

“The biggest question NBA teams will be asking will revolve around how much he can improve on his technique, offensive skill-set and mental approach as he gets older,” wrote Mike Schmitz for DraftExpress.com. “His feel for the game in general is still a work in progress, as he’s the type of player who can make incredibly good and bad plays, sometimes on consecutive possessions. He doesn’t appear to be going 100 percent at times, and there have been concerns raised about exactly how passionate he is about the game of basketball due to his laid-back demeanor.”

Drummond’s rare combination of size (6-foot-11, 275 pounds), speed and agility has drawn comparisons to players like Dwight Howard. He is just 19, and perhaps over a period of time he can become that player.

But can a team drafting Drummond as high as No. 2 afford to wait?

There are those who wonder if Drummond, who has been working out in New York, has the “motor” to channel all his athletic ability into basketball excellence. Drummond bristles at the notion that he does not love the game enough to be a great player.

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