Shamorie Ponds, Gary Clark among surprising NBA draft combine snubs

Shamorie Ponds, Gary Clark among surprising NBA draft combine snubs

DunkWire

Shamorie Ponds, Gary Clark among surprising NBA draft combine snubs

Nearly 70 prospects for the 2018 NBA Draft have accepted invitations to the upcoming combine, but there are some notable omissions.

While top prospects like DeAndre Ayton and Robert Williams declined their invitations and several players (including Luka Doncic) are currently overseas, these are prospects who were not invited but can still make an impact at the next level.

Some of these players could return to school if they haven’t hired an agent, while others may decide to stay in the draft pool.

Shamorie Ponds, Guard (St. John’s)

One NBA scout told Michael Scotto that Ponds deserved an invitation (via The Athletic):

“He has great quickness, he’s tough, and has the ability to create. He has a good handle. He should get a combine invite. Defensively, he needs to add strength. Offensively, he can create off the dribble and finish. He shoots better moving to his left. He played well in big games, which will give him a bump.”

But the fact that he is still on campus could mean Ponds decides to return to St. John’s next season. The 6-foot-1 guard has played two seasons in the NCAA and led the Big East in scoring last season with 21.6 points per game.

Gary Clark, Guard (Cincinnati)

The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie has described Clark as “a really tough, physical player” who might be the smartest defender in the draft. He has also earned high praise from Mike Gribanov (via The Stepien):

“[He] is one of the best players in all of college basketball and he has helped revive Cincinnati basketball, as the last few years have been their most successful since the Bob Huggins era. His gritty hustle high-level feel should make Clark a useful piece off the bench.”

However, according to Gribanov, Clark does not play a clear position and has a relatively weak game on offense.

While he averaged 1.2 steals and 1.3 blocks per game during his four-year collegiate career, he only put up 10.5 points per game. But he does add value as a rebounder, considering he averaged 8.7 boards per game as a senior.

Carsen Edwards, Guard (Purdue)

Edwards was very productive at Purdue last season, averaging 18.5 points per game with 2.6 three-pointers and a 40.6 percent accuracy from downtown.

While undersized, he was also a defensive standout with 1.1 steals per game. He was an All-American last season, but still doubts his NBA readiness (via JCOnline):

“I honestly look at it as I’m a long way from being able to be at that level. So I just keep working. Just take it day by day. I feel like I’ve said that a lot — just take it day by day.”

He still has two years of college eligibility remaining and has not appeared on too many mock drafts in recent weeks.

Jarrey Foster, Forward (SMU)

Foster is 6-foot-7 with a 7-foot wingspan and he should be able to play both forward positions in the NBA.

Jackson Hay wrote about why he is worth draft consideration (via The Stepien):

“Foster brings an intriguing blend of basketball IQ, size, athleticism, and defensive versatility to the table as a wing/combo forward prospect. He will have to answer questions about his 3-point shooting ability and the effects of his knee injury, and he needs to be consistently engaged off the ball on defense. That said, Foster is the type of player who could stick as a do-it-all player at a position of need as long as he’s healthy and his shot translates. He’s worth a second-round flier due to that upside, but there are enough flaws in Foster’s profile that a first-round selection seems out of the question.”

He averaged just above one three-pointer per game for SMU last season. While his scoring and assist rates were both relatively low, he did have an impressive assist-to-turnover ratio.

The forward also averaged 1.2 blocks per game last season, which will be helpful at the next level.

UPDATE: Foster has decided to return to the NCAA for next season

Jalen Hudson, Guard (Florida)

After two years at Virginia Tech, Hudson transferred to Florida after sitting out a season.

He averaged 15.5 points per game and shot an impressive 40.2 percent from long distance, making 2.3 three-pointers per game.

Hudson is a 6-foot-5 shooting guard who matched up well when he played against Cincinnati’s Jacob Evans, who may be a first-round selection next month. He had 17 points with two steals and a block while Evans was held to just 13 points and no assists.

Other notable omissions

Jalen McDaniels, San Diego State (Forward)

Kerwin Roach, Guard (Texas)

Jaylen Adams, Guard (St. Bonaventure Adams)

Keenan Evans, Guard (Texas Tech)

Lindell Wigginton, Guard (Iowa State)

Jordan Caroline, Wing (Nevada)

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