Hawks Pre-Draft Workout: Meet the Players

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: DEC 21 Jumpman Invitational UNC vs Michigan

The Hawks hosted their first set of pre-draft workouts on Tuesday, May 30th. Here are the players they invited, as well as some background on each of them.

Leaky Black, University of North Carolina

Season Averages: 7.3 PTS (41.1 FG%), 6.5 REB, 1.5 AST, 1.3 STL

While his stats certainly don’t jump off the page, Leaky Black is an intriguing draft prospect. Listed at 6’9 and 205 pounds, he is one of the few players in college basketball that could effectively shut down a player at any position. He has good athleticism and occasionally showed the ability to play with the ball in his hands. However, he’s 23-years old and just finished his fifth year at North Carolina.

Part of the reason his stock isn’t super-high is because of a subpar offensive game he displayed in his college career. He finished his fifth season shooting 41.1 percent from the field on over six shot attempts per game. But there is a silver lining that makes him interesting as a draft prospect.

In his final year, he attempted 2.6 three-pointers per game, up from 1.3 the previous year. In his first few years at UNC, Black struggled from behind the three-point line, but he showed much more confidence in his shot this past year. He shot 32.6 percent from distance (down .7% from the previous year), but this is understandable, as he doubled his attempts. He looked far more confident in his shooting during his final season than he ever had previously. The improvement in his jump shot shows some potential for him to be a 3-and-D wing in the NBA.

ESPN Projection: Undrafted

Oscar Tshiebwe, University of Kentucky

Season Averages: 16.5 PTS (56 FG%), 13.7 REB, 1.0 BLK, 1.6 STL

Listed at 6’9 and 260 pounds with a 7″4 wingspan, Tshiebwe was nothing short of dominant at Kentucky. He is also 23 years old, and his 13.7 rebounds per game led the entire country. He finished his junior season as the unanimous National Player of the Year and followed it up with an incredible senior campaign.

Tshiebwe was purely a paint scorer in college, which undoubtedly makes him undersized as a prospect. He was able to dominate most centers, as he did in his final game of the NCAA tournament, finishing with 25 points and 18 rebounds in a loss vs Kansas State. His motor is undeniable which makes him a fun player to watch.

However, it’s unclear if he’ll be able to compete with NBA centers who will be able to match or exceed him in height and size. He showed more willingness to shoot the mid-range jumper this season, but I wouldn’t bet on it becoming a shot he can hit consistently. It’s hard to see where Tshiebwe would fit on the Hawks, so I wouldn’t expect to see him in uniform.

ESPN Projection: Undrafted

Jazian Gortman, Overtime Elite

Season Averages: 14 PTS, 5 REB, 4 AST

Gortman is listed at 6’2 and 170 pounds. It’s hard to judge any player playing for Overtime Elite, so I’d imagine watching these players workout and practice is of equal consideration to their in-game stats.

He posted the third-highest vertical jump at the G-League elite camp and often appears to be the quickest man on the court. He is viewed by most as a two-way guard. It’s nearly impossible to predict how a player’s game will translate from Overtime Elite to the league, making pre-draft workouts ultra-important. Similar to the Thompson brothers, two Overtime Elite players projected to be lottery picks, you’re looking at the raw talent and potential of these players.

ESPN Projection: Undrafted

Trey Jemison, University of Alabama at Birmingham

Season Averages: 9.1 PTS (58.6 FG%), 8.4 REB, 1.7 BLK,  0.6 STL

Trey Jemison is a 6’11” and 260-pound center hailing from UAB. After logging only eight minutes per game in his sophomore season at Clemson, he transferred to UAB and became the team’s starting center for the next three seasons. Jemison led the Blazers in rebounding which helped them lead Conference USA in team rebounds per game. The only Conference USA center currently playing in the NBA is Charles Bassey out of Western Kentucky.

Ahead of the NBA draft Jemison says, “I’m just focused on getting a better jump shot… getting in the best shape possible.” Jemison is clearly ready to accept any role that a team may need. It is unlikely he will be drafted, but the opportunity to play in the Summer League will be huge for a player like him, as he looks to grab a two-way contract.

ESPN Projection: Undrafted

Sir’ Jabari Rice, Texas

Season Averages: 13.0 PTS (46.4 FG%), 3.5 REB, 2.0 AST

Listed at 6’4 and 180 pounds with a 6’9 wingspan, the highlights of Rice’s college career have surrounded his ability to score the basketball. He averaged over 11 points per game for four straight seasons in college. After the G-League Elite camp, many scouts signified Rice as the most NBA-ready scorer they saw. While he won’t overwhelm you with athleticism, he is crafty and patient with the ball.

As a grad transfer from New Mexico State University, Rice shot 37.1 percent from beyond the arc on 4.5 attempts per game. Rice only started in three games during his last season at Texas but still logged just over 25 minutes per game. His size and stature seem to be enough for him to hold his own on the defensive end. He was widely regarded as one of the better sixth men in college basketball.

ESPN Projection: Undrafted

Emanuel Miller, Texas Christian University

Season Averages: 12.3 PTS (50.5 FG%), 6.5 REB, 1.7 AST

Miller is listed at 6’7 and 217 pounds. He played his first two seasons at Texas A&M before transferring to TCU where he played his junior and senior seasons. Miller showed a lot of promise on the defensive end, spending time guarding big men as well as guards.

He didn’t appear to be “the guy” on the offensive end but his stats were still impressive. It’s important to note that in his second year at Texas A&M, he took his most field goal attempts per game (10.3) and averaged 16.2 points per game that year. This season he put up 10.2 attempts per game but saw a fall-off of 3.9 points per game. He shot 39.2% from deep on 1.6 attempts per game, but struggled from the free throw line. He will need to keep developing his jump shot to play at the next level. He is another player that needs to find a role as a 3-and-D player in the league. He just turned 23 years old last month.

ESPN Projection: Undrafted

I wouldn’t expect the Hawks to draft any of these players, but they will likely all get the opportunity to prove themselves in Summer League. I’d like to see Leaky Black get a chance in a Hawks uniform this summer.

Photo: David Jensen/Icon Sportswire

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