Kentucky will be the college team talked about most on NBA Draft night for the third straight season, for good reason with Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist potentially picked first and second overall. But recent movement up the board by Dion Waiters is a reminder that a solid quartet from Syracuse also expects to make an impression on June ?28 and in the NBA next season.
Montreal native Kris Joseph, who played for two years at Archbishop Carroll, made an argument for himself in front of the Wizards on Tuesday and endorsed his teammates.
"They still got some love for me [in Washington] despite the Syracuse-Georgetown rivalry," said Joseph, who led the Orange with 13.4 points and 4.7 rebounds last season. But the 6-foot-7, 215-pounder doesn't stand out and is projected as a second-round pick in a draft class that includes a host of talented small forwards.
Meanwhile, the 6-4 Waiters has surged into lottery territory despite functioning as Syracuse's sixth man, scoring 12.6 points per contest as a sophomore.
"He exploded off the bench," Joseph said. "He gave us that spark. I can see him being an instant impact in the league."
Waiters has also soared past his friend Scoop Jardine, whose footsteps he followed from Philadelphia to upstate New York. The journey was much further for Brazilian center Fab Melo, who Joseph watched claim Big East defensive player of the year only to miss out on the NCAA tournament with eligibility issues.
But Melo, who could be a first-round pick, does have something Joseph knows he doesn't: "You can't teach seven feet."
- Craig Stouffer