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Jordan passes the test
by Marc Narducci / June 2, 2007

Jared Jordan admitted that he had something to prove, not to himself, but to the NBA scouts. The 6-foot-2 Marist point guard ended a solid showing during the NBA pre-draft camp at Disney’s Wide World of Sports with six points (3 for 4 shooting), five assists and two turnovers in this final game.

His team won all three games during the week and Jordan played a major role. In the three games he averaged 6.6 points and had 17 assists and five turnovers. Jordan shot 3 for 4 from the field in each of the three games. The knock on his was his quickness and while he’s not a gazelle, Jordan has a good knowledge of the game. He led the nation in assists as both a junior (8.5 per game) and senior (8.7) and came into the camp with the proverbial chip on his shoulder.

“I loved it here,” Jordan said. “I felt I had something to prove, that I could play against top competition

And he thinks he proved his point. Obviously NBA teams are intrigued with his game. That doesn’t mean that he will get drafted but there are plenty who want to see more. Jordan at this point has nine individual workouts set up and that list could grow.

One scout this week put it best, “He knows how to play the game.”

His calling card will always be his passing ability, not flashy, but fundamentally sound.

“My passing is what has gotten me here,” he said.

And now he is looking forward to his NBA workouts, insisting there won’t be the slightest bit of nervousness.

“I never get nervous when I am playing basketball,” he said.” I’ve been doing it so long and I feel I play with a lot of confidence.”

It showed this week and Jordan hopes it continues during a whirlwind tour of NBA workouts.

Camp observations:

- Normally by the end of a camp, the play could get sluggish, but three of the best games were staged on the final day, one ending, 93-92 in OT, the other, 93-89 and the third 95-93. In the overtime game, Ohio State’s Ron Lewis was awarded three free throws with 2.6 seconds left. He hit two of them for the final margin. Lewis never found his stroke in the camp, shooting 10 for 33 from the field.

- After one subpar and one average performance, Ohio State 6-4 freshman Daequan Cook finally had a breakout final game. A teammate of Lewis in college and in the camp, Cook scored 22 points in his final game, shooting 9 for 15 from the field, 3 for 4 from beyond the arc. Cook has yet to sign with an agent, but it would be a surprise if he pulled out of the draft. As mentioned before, scouts have said he has first-round talent (making him a rarity at the camp), but he had an inconsistent freshman season.

“Today I performed well and showed scouts what type of player I am,” Cook said.

For somebody who averaged just 9.8 points for the Buckeyes, Cook sure doesn’t lack confidence. At least during the camp, he learned by his mistakes. After committing an unsightly eight turnovers his first game, Cook had a total of just one in the next two. If a team doesn’t need a finished product and could wait for development, Cook seems like he’d be a decent gamble with a late first-round pick.

- One player who appeared to really raise his stock was Stephane Lasme, a 6-8 forward from the University of Massachusetts. In the view of many scouts, he was the best athlete in the camp. NBA scouts often fall in love with athletes, sometimes at the expense of basketball players. That is not to suggest that Lasme isn’t a basketball player. In the camp, he averaged 15.2 points per game, but his game is far from refined. He will need to show continued improvement to have a chance in the NBA.

- Coleman Collins, a 6-8 forward from Virginia Tech, was the camp’s leading scorer averaging 17.7 points per game. He also averaged 5.3 rebounds. Collins led the camp in minutes played, a total of 74:27 in the three games. Despite the numbers, he didn’t turn a lot of heads. As a senior he averaged 7.8 points for Tech. Collins came with an aggressive mindset in the camp and at least made some people take notice of him.

- Boise State 6-5 guard Coby Karl is somebody everybody was familiar with due to his bloodlines. The son of Denver Nuggets head coach George Karl, Coby punctuated an excellent camp with a fine final game. He scored 17 points (4 of 8 from the field, 9 of 13 from the line). Although he didn’t have any assists the final game, Karl finished with 10 dimes and six turnovers. His performance was more amazing considering that he had a second cancer operation in April. Karl, like Jared Jordan, really knows how to play the game and there should be a place in the NBA for players who are team-oriented.

- Syracuse 6-7 senior Demetris Nichols, who was sizzling the first two games, cooled off in his final contest. Nichols scored six points (2 for 7 from the field, 2 of 4 from beyond the arc). Overall, he averaged 13.7 points, hitting 15 of 23 from the floor and 9 of 13 from three-point range. He was by far the best long-range shooter in the camp and should be a solid second-round find.

- Ali Traore, a 6-10 center from Le Havre (France), didn’t show much finesse, but he used a bullish demeanor to score inside. He averaged 14.7 points (19 for 27 from the field) with most of the points near the basket. The 22-year-old Traore was originally an early-entry candidate for last year’s draft but wisely pulled out. He averaged 9.9 points in the French Pro League last year. His game still needs refinement, but inside players who go after it, could eventually find a home in the NBA.

- It was nice to see the top prospects, including Ohio State center Greg Oden and Texas forward Kevin Durant, participate in agility testing and light drills during the final day. While Oden and Durant don’t need to be seen, other players such as Washington 7-foot freshman Spencer Hawes drew a crowd when he took part in the workout. Many wanted to see Hawes’ mobility. He is one of the true legitimate low-post prospects in the draft. Even though he hasn’t signed with an agent, if Hawes stays in the draft, he will be a lottery pick.

Marc Narducci covers the NBA for the Philadelphia Inquirer and is a regular contributor to HoopsHype.com

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