Former Illini Demetri McCamey, Jereme Richmond and to a lesser extent Mike Davis were all hoping to hear their name called last night in the 2011 NBA Draft. Unfortunately, their time never came.
I guess it shouldn’t come as that big a surprise that none of them got picked. I held out a little bit of hope for McCamey and Richmond, but I completely understand why teams stayed away. They both had their fair share of problems that were major red flags for NBA general managers.
McCamey is a pretty talented player, but he lacks elite quickness and explosiveness. He’s also a very average defensive player that doesn’t always give maximum effort. Then of course there were all his clashes with Illinois coach Bruce Weber. Mix all these things together and you get an inconsistent player that doesn’t get drafted.
Richmond is just a sad story. After a tumultuous freshman year at Illinois, Richmond decided to leave school and enter the NBA Draft. I still don’t know if he had been planning it all along or if he was forced out because of his off-the-court issues, but either way it’s a shame what happened.
Richmond has all the talent in the world and pretty much threw it all away with his bad attitude. The kid certainly has the tools to be a good NBA player, but nobody wanted to take a chance on him because of all the baggage. If he would have just put in the necessary work, he would have been a star at Illinois. I honestly think he could have been a lottery pick in a few years if he didn’t mess it all up.
Davis really had no shot. He has NBA athleticism, but he’s not nearly strong enough. His game also doesn’t translate very well to the NBA. He doesn’t have much of a post up game and he would have to be a stretch four. The problem with this is he doesn’t have the necessary range to be an effective stretch four. He also lacks the ability to put the ball on the floor and create for himself.
I will say that the impending lockout may have had an effect on the draft status of these guys. With teams not wanting to take on contracts, there were a lot of foreign players drafted late that have zero chance of sniffing the NBA for several years. Some of these guys may not play in the NBA ever. You can’t tell me that Chukwudiebere “Chu Chu” Maduabum is a better NBA prospect than Richmond, McCamey or even Davis for that matter. But that’s just the way it goes.
These guys will end up having to rely on getting signed as undrafted free agents if they want to realize their NBA dreams. With that lockout coming, they may be forced overseas to make a pay check before they’re able to sign with a team. I don’t doubt that these guys could probably have a nice career for themselves overseas, but I’m sure that’s not what they were envisioning.
These guys brought me a lot of angst during their time at Illinois, but I wish them nothing but the best. I really hope they’re able to latch on somewhere and enjoy productive careers, be it in the NBA or overseas.
About the Author
Written by Jason Patt
My name is Jason Patt and I recently graduated from the University of Illinois. I received a degree in Sports Management and also minored in Communication and Business. I am an avid follower of Illinois sports and also most major Chicago sports teams. Along with blogging about Illini basketball here, I'm an editor at Bulls 101.