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Phoenix Suns Pre-Draft Workouts Day 9: A Diamond in the Rough?

You see what I did there? Don't sleep on the puns.

Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

The Participants

  • Purdue C A.J. Hammons
  • Tulsa G Shaquille Harrison
  • Gonzaga G Eric McClellan
  • Iowa St. F Georges Niang
  • Maryland C Diamond Stone
  • SPO Rouen (France) F Geurschon Yabusele

A.J. Hammons

Measurements via DraftExpress: Not given since 2011

DraftExpress Top 100 Prospects Ranking: 42nd

Falling under the label of "wildebeest," Hammons has carved a path to an NBA roster based off the width of his frame alone. Even though the narrative of today's game is mostly focused on speed and versatility, there is still a place on a roster for, quite simply, a really big dude. It is amazing how much better a defense can be when a 7-footer is able camp out near the rim and impede the progress of blitzkrieging guards (That's right, I just watched a WWII doc last night!) by merely putting their arms up.

Andrew Bogut has proven what sheer size and girth can mean for a successful defense, and Hammons has the same kind of circumference to net similar returns if properly taught how to use it.

On offense, Hammons is awkward, and really only scored because he was twice the size of his oppositions. But still, he is HUGE, and you cannot teach that. Some team will nab him up in the second round.

Shaquille Harrison

Measurements via DraftExpress:

DraftExpress Top 100 Prospects Ranking: Not Ranked

Harrison was a jack of all trades kind of guard at Tulsa, parlaying his hyperactive athleticism into solid rebounding numbers for his size (5.5 per game), while also snatching nearly two steals per game. There is an absence of any shooting touch within his rolodex, and that is going to make his NBA prospects quite dicey.

But hey, when you can just like Harrison can, why the hell would you want to shoot the ball from any other area but the rim am I right?

No? Tough crowd.

Eric McClellan

Measurements via DraftExpress: Not Given

DraftExpress Top 100 Prospects Ranking: Not Ranked

Without any exposure to the media and a pretty unfulfilling Google imprint, there is not too much to say about McClellan. He moved around a lot during his college career (Tulsa, Vanderbilt and eventually Gonzaga), and averaged double figures on a respectable Gonzaga squad.

Oh, and one time, he was given WCC Dunk of the Night honors via CampusInsiders.

Georges Niang

Measurements via DraftExpress:

DraftExpress Top 100 Prospects Ranking: 70th

I am going to be upfront with you all -- I am a self-proclaimed Niang enthusiast, and my affection for his game only increased after a brief interaction with the Iowa State forward. Niang is a hardworking individual, steadily improving his game even as his role increased. It is easy to shoot over 50 percent from the field when there is not as much attention on you as a freshman; it is another thing to improve on that percentage as a senior (54 percent) with most of the eyeballs being dictated by your movements.

What Niang lacks in quicks and explosion, he makes up with craft and unique body control. He is a capable finisher in the paint, using disoriented angles to throw his defenders off kilter. Along with finishing at the rim, Niang can shoot it from beyond the arc, making him an interesting option as a combo forward for teams.

A strong showing at the combine helped put Niang back on team's radars, and I am holding out hope that he will at least get a look in Summer League if his name does not get called on draft night.

Diamond Stone

Measurements via DraftExpress:

DraftExpress Top 100 Prospects Ranking: 33rd

A highly recruited prospect out of high school, Stone had a fairly inconsistent season at Maryland -- an expected reality for any young player that is unpolished. It is difficult to get into a rhythm within the congested college game, and Stone figures to benefit from playing with better shooters.

There were times where he showed an aura of dominance against weakling opponents, but those opportunities are less likely to come to fruition at the next level.

On the positive side, Stone was obviously much thinner during the workout than he was during his time at Maryland, and he handled questions about immaturity concerns in stride. With a new outlook on professionalism, and a dedication to his craft, Stone has the talent and size to make one front office look very wise if they are able to properly hone his physical gifts.

Geurschon Yabusele

Measurements via DraftExpress: Not Given

DraftExpress Top 100 Prospect Ranking: 34th

If first impressions counted for anything during the draft process, Yabusele would be a lead contender for one of the best thus far. Towering over us media folk, the French forward combines an imposing frame -- 6-foot-8, 260 pounds (!!!) -- with a soft spoken tone. Some of us were joking that Yabusele better belonged over with the Cardinals rather than the Suns, but he laughed off that notion and instead spoke about his upbringing as a boxer.

There is a definite mystery to Yabusele's game (as with most international prospects), but it is difficult to comprehend how someone with that kind of physical frame already in place can fail. And the best part is that he handles the weight with flying colors, too. Team officials spoke to how athletic Yabusele is even with the weight, pegging that he must just be "naturally big."

Sign me up for this guy at #34, regardless if he is a draft and stash prospect or not.


That's a wrap on an underwhelming day 8 folks ... Stay tuned for more pre-draft workout coverage on Monday!

Cross your fingers for a top ten prospect.

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