2009 NBA Draft: Top Undrafted Players

Mon, 06/29/2009 - 12:00pm

The NBA Draft is over, but as history indicates, there are still some NBA-caliber rookies without a team. In the past ten seasons, players such as Chris Anderson, Andres Nocioni, Udonis Haslem, Chuck Hayes, Kelenna Azubuike, Jamario Moon, J.J. Barea and Jannero Pargo have gone undrafted. So, let's take a look at some guys from this year's class who can make an impact in the NBA despite being passed over on Thursday.

Dionte Christmas, Temple

Dionte ChristmasDionte Christmas Perhaps the biggest surprise here. Christmas, a 6-foot-5 lights-out shooter, was projected as an early-second round prospect. His lack of athleticism was probably the thing that knocked him off the draft board, but there is likely still a place for him on an NBA roster. He's got an unorthodox release (but then again so does Michael Redd) which may have concerned teams. He also has great length, elevates well on his jumpshot and, after three years as a starter at Temple, is as ready for the NBA as any second-rounder. The (local - Temple) Sixers recently signed him to their summer league squad.

Josh Heytvelt, Gonzaga

From a pure talent perspective, Heytvelt is a very unique player. At 6-foot-11, 260-pounds, Heytvelt is a bruiser inside who can step out and be effective from the 3-point line (he shot 40 percent from 3-point last year). But, unfortunately, his past troubles and character issues (remember the mushroom incident in '07) kept him out of the draft.

Jerel McNeal, Marquette

Being named First Team All-Big East - especially considering how dominant 16-team conference was last year - is certainly nothing to scoff at. Four of the five other selections (Hasheem Thabeet, Terrence Williams, DeJuan Blair and Sam Young) were drafted within the first 39 picks, and the other, Luke Harangody, opted to return to school. McNeal, a four-year starter at Marquette, averaged 19.8 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game as a senior and should have a fighting chance to make a roster if he excels on a summer league team.

Curtis Jerrells, Baylor

Jerrells was largely responsible for building Baylor's basketball program back to respectability. The lightning-quick 6-foot-1, 200-pound point guard suffered a bit from the depth of the point guard class. If he had come out in a different season, particularly last year where he was viewed as a possible early-second rounder, Jerrells likely would be on an NBA team right now.

Leo Lyons, Missouri

Lyons' counterpart at Missouri, DeMarre Carroll, went a lot higher (27th overall) than anyone expected, and somehow, Lyons didn't go at all. It can be argued that the 6-foot-9 Lyons actually has better NBA potential than Carroll, though. He has a long, NBA frame and is adept at facing the basket and either hitting mid-range jumpshots or taking defenders off the dribble, although he obviously needs to add muscle. He'll play for the Pacers Summer League team in July.

Jeff Adrien, UConn

Adrien, a bruising 6-foot-7, 245-pound forward with limited offensive skills, has signed on to play with Memphis' summer league alongside college teammate Hasheem Thabeet, the No. 2 overall pick in the draft. Adrien has an NBA body, but he needs to prove he has NBA skills as well. He'll need to display a consistent mid-range jumper and make better decisions with the ball if he wants to stick.

Tyrese Rice, Boston College

Rice was one of the most prolific scorers in college basketball over the past three seasons (he averaged 17.6 points per game as a sophomore, 21 as a junior and 16.9 as a senior). He also seemed to always get the upperhand against conference rival Ty Lawson who went 18th, but that still wasn't enough to land him a spot in the draft. He's landed a spot on a crowded Washington Wizards' summer league squad.

Should have gone back to school

Paul Harris, Syracuse

Harris entered the draft with little chance of being selected, but for whatever reason, decided to stay in. There are a lot of knocks against Harris - he can't shoot, he's undersized, he has some character issues. At this point, unless he miraculously develops a jump shot or grows three inches in the next year, it seems unlikely he'll stick in the NBA. Harris is going to play for the Cavs' summer league team.

Eric Devendorf, Syracuse

Devendorf's decision to declare for the draft was a mystery. At no point in the process did he ever stand a chance at being selected, despite being an above-average 3-point shooter. Devendorf appears to have a future in Europe.

Daniel Hackett, USC

Hackett - along with USC teammate Marcus Johnson - fled USC after recruiting violations surfaced and coach Tim Floyd resigned. hackett appears to be content beginning his career in Italy, while Johnson recently informed USC's new coach Kevin O'Neill, that he will return to school.

Should have declared for the draft a few years ago

Ronald Steele, Alabama

After a breakout sophomore season in 2005-2006 that saw Steele average 14.3 points, 4.3 assists and 3.7 rebounds, he was considered to be one of the best point guards in the country and a first-round prospect. But, after an underachieving junior campaign and a serious knee injury, Steele fell off the radars of NBA GMs and was never able to replicate the success of his sophomore year.

Dominic James, Marquette

After a sensational freshman campaign, James never improved much at Marquette. Though he had his limitations as a freshman - height and outside shooting - his dazzling athleticism made him a very intriguing prospect. Unfortunately, that intrigue fell off and James appears headed for a career in Europe.

Josh Carter, Texas A&M

The 6-foot-7 Carter shot a remarkable 50 percent from 3-point range and showed the potential to be a legit NBA shooting guard. Though his numbers improved in his junior and senior seasons, Carter's lack of athleticism/upside was exposed, and it caused him to fall off the draft board completely.


Josh Shipp 6-5 207 SG UCLA Sr.
Alex Ruoff 6-6 200 SG West Virginia Sr.
Jeremy Pargo 6-2 208 PG Gonzaga Sr.
Lee Cummard 6-6 190 SG BYU Sr.
Josh Akognon 5-11 180 PG Fulerton St. Sr.
Micah Downs 6-8 200 SF Gonzaga Sr.
Alonzo Gee 6-6 215 SG Alabama Sr.
Cedric Jackson 6-2 180 PG Cleveland St. Sr.
Brandon Costner 6-8 220 SF NC State Jr.
Garret Siler 7-0 260 C Augusta St. Sr.
Alade Aminu 6-10 220 SF/PF Georgia Tech Sr.
Luke Nevill 7-2 250 C Utah Sr.
Terrel Harris 6-4 190 SG Oklahoma St. Sr.
Stefon Jackson 6-4 185 SG UTEP Sr.
Lorrenzo Wade 6-6 220 SG SD State Sr.
AJ Abrams 5-11 160 SG/PG Texas Sr.
Aron Baynes 6-10 270 C Wash.St. Sr.
Connor Atchley 6-10 230 PF Texas Sr.
Michael Bramos 6-5 220 SG Miami (OH) Sr.
Kevin Rogers 6-8 235 SF Baylor Sr.
Russell Hicks 7-0 250 C FIU Sr.
Charlie Coley 6-7 220 SF Charlotte Sr.
Markel Humphrey 6-6 215 SG Marshall Sr.
Chris Lowe 6-0 170 PG UMass Sr.
Korvortney Barber 6-7 220 PF Auburn Sr.
Lewis Clinch 6-3 185 SG Georgia Tech Sr.
Wink Adams 6-0 190 PG UNLV Sr.
Lawrence Hill 6-8 220 SF Stanford Sr.
Antonio Anderson 6-5 190 SG Mem. Sr.
Dar Tucker 6-3 200 SG DePaul So.
Mamadou Diene 7-0 242 PF/C Baylor Sr.
Wesley Matthews 6-5 220 SG Marquette Sr.
Shawn Taggart 6-10 230 PF Memphis Jr.
Kyle Spain 6-5 209 SG San Diego St. Sr.

Vitor Faverani 6-11 235 PF/C Brazil 1988
David Huertas 6-5 201 SG Puerto Rico 1987
Luigi Datome 6-8 210 SF Italy 1987
Maxim Sheleketo 6-8 230 SF Russia 1987
Nemanja Aleksandrov 6-11 220 SF Serbia 1987
Rudy Mbemba 5-11 177 PG Sweden 1987
Andrey Vorontsevich 6-9 235 SF/PF Russia 1987
Vyacheslav Kravtsov 6-11 245 C Ukraine 1987
Nenad Mijatovic 6-4 200 PG Serbia 1987
Milos Teodosic 6-5 190 PG Serbia 1987
Anatoly Kashirov 7-0 240 C Russia 1987
Jaka Klobucar 6-7 180 SG Slovenia 1987
Joe Ingles 6-8 195 SF Australia 1987

Evan_Milberg's picture
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Sixers should sign Christmas

Considering they didn't have a second round pick, I think they should move Iggy to the SF spot and let Christmas add some depth to the SG position.

Tha King2121
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Nice Page

1. question, no Ben Woodside

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Dionte Christmas

I saw Dionte up close in the A-10 championship game, and I simply did not see him having the talent to be a sure-fire draft pick. By no surprise to me he went undrafted. For the Sixers, I think he ends up being the next Derrick Byars (former Sixer pick that did not make the team, and has not been on an NBA team). He too was a good jump shooter who too lacked explosiveness as well as decision making.

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Brandon Costner & Tyrese

Brandon Costner & Tyrese Rice are my highest 2 that didnt get drafted

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Back in 2004, many people believed that Nemanja Aleksandrov would be a Top 3 Pick... Now the dude went undrafted!

In this draft some teams made really bad decision... Robert Vaden ?? Taylor Griffin ?? C'mon...

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to Mutombo55

Vaden is good pick by Thunder. They need shooter and he's

The Hoops Manifesto
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A lot of times going undrafted is better for guys than to be picked in the 2nd round. Instead of being tied to a team that might have no place or real interest in you, if you're undrafted you can play the field and find the best situation for yourself.

Jeff Fox

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I remember him too. What happened to that guy?

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Paul Harris and Heytvelt

What kind of character issues you talkin' 'bout Paul Harris. It was back in high school.
And Josh Heytvelt went undrafted, it has nothing to do with that he was on mushrooms a few years ago. I bet 70 percent of this years draftees smoked pot. It was a huge mistake for everybody not to select Heytvelt he is like Spencer Hawes.

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Alade Aminu

I'm surprised nobody took Alade Aminu.

He's tall with a long wingspan and has the potential to be a good defensive PF in the league.

At the very least, he should be able to make a team like Solomon Jones.

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Aleksandrov is injured all the time. Righ now, he's not good enough for Euroleague, no way he can make it to NBA

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No lie about a week ago I hit the internet looking for find out whatever happened to Ronald Steele. I remember a couple years ago when he was just down right sick. It's a shame

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