Saturday, June 27, 2020

2020 NBA Draft - Small College Prospects

Tim Soares
photo courtesy of
The Master's University

1. Tim Soares - 6'11", 230lbs - Center

Senior, The Master's University (CA) (NAIA)


It is not often that you see players with Tim Soares' size and skill set in NAIA basketball. Soares is a mobile big man with excellent post moves and legitimate 3-point range. He could be effective in the high post as a pick-and-pop shooter, and has enough size to impact the game on defense. Both Tim and his sister Stephanie starred as post players for The Master's University, Tim as a 2nd Team NAIA All-American and Stephanie as NAIA Player of the Year. Soares' shot-blocking ability helped him earn GSAC Defensive Player of the Year honors. Soares will be taken seriously because of his size, and his ability to run the floor and the quick release on his shot give him a chance to fill a role as a pro.

18.7 pts, 8.4 reb, 1.5 ast, 1.0 st, 2.2 bl

56.8% FG, 40.5% 3PT, 69.5% FT





Brodric Thomas
photo courtesy of
Truman Athletics

2. Brodric Thomas - 6'5", 185lbs - Shooting Guard

Senior, Truman State (MO) (D2) [Southwestern CC (IA)]


Swagger is not a problem for Brodric Thomas. His game exudes confidence and control on both ends of the court. Thomas is a long and lean athlete with plenty of highlight reel dunks, blocks, and is known for taking and making big shots. He has excellent court vision, beats people in transition, and is an aggressive defender. His Truman State teammates believe his future is still bright as a pro. Thomas was named GLVC Player of the Year and 1st Team DII All-Midwest Region. Thomas has the size and athleticism to play shooting guard as a pro, but it is his mean streak on defense that makes him stand out.

21.5 pts, 7.2 reb, 3.3 ast, 1.8 st, .8 bl

49.7% FG, 41.7% 3PT, 80.9% FT






Leo Behrend
photo courtesy of
Ave Maria Athletics

3. Leo Behrend - 6'4", 200lbs - Shooting Guard

Senior, Ave Maria University (FL) (NAIA)


Explosive is the word to describe Leo Behrend's game. From his first step on a backdoor cut leading to a powerful dunk, to chasing down a man on the break for a block off of the backboard, to a thundering two-hand slam running the break. Behrend is not the typical athlete you see on the NAIA level of basketball. If his athleticism wasn't enough to get him noticed, Behrend also shoots over 40% from 3-point range and constantly has defenders rocking on their heels, scared of both the drive and the shot. Behrend was a 2-time Sun Conference 1st Team selection and 3rd Team NAIA All-American. Behrend is exactly the kind of prospect NBA teams are trying to find for an audition in a typical Summer League.

22.6 pts, 9.1 reb, 1.5 ast, .8 st, .8 bl

49.6% FG, 40.7% 3PT, 81.1% FT





Jake Ross
photo courtesy of
Springfield College

4. Jake Ross - 6'5", 200lbs - Shooting Guard

Senior, Springfield College (MA) (D3)


Jake Ross was basically the LeBron James of Division III basketball this season for Springfield. He has guard skills to handle and distribute the ball, as well as shoot from deep. He has the forward skills to rebound and slash to the basket. But where Ross really stands out is with his intangibles. He is active on defense, moves without the ball, makes great decisions, and has the talent and athleticism to do whatever his team needs to win the game. In a 105-99 2OT win over Coast Guard, Ross had 55 points and 21 rebounds. Ross was named ECAC Player of the Year, Northeast Region Player of the Year, and 1st Team DIII All-American. Ross has a chance to get noticed because he has the size and skill to play shooting guard at the next level.

26.0 pts, 9.7 reb, 3.9 ast, 2.1 st, 1.3 bl

45.7% FG, 37.6% 3PT, 81.3% FT




Jhonathan Dunn
photo courtesy of SNU Athletics

5. Jhonathan Dunn - 6'4", 180lbs - Shooting Guard

Senior, Southern Nazarene (OK) (D2)


Jhonathan Dunn is a deadly shooter that uses fakes and excellent footwork to create space and get open looks. As soon as defenders start playing him tighter, Dunn ends up going on a backdoor cut for a layup or dunk. Dunn's senior year highlights are a clinic on the variety of ways a player can score. Dunn was a 2-time GAC Player of the Year, 1st Team All-Central Region, and 2nd Team DII All-American. Dunn made 46% as a high volume 3-point shooter, but he is a versatile scorer and takes whatever the defense gives him. He already has people believing he deserves a chance at the next level. Dunn's creativity to score and legitimate size bode well for his future as a pro.


25.3 pts, 6.0 reb, 2.1 ast, 1.6 st, .4 bl

51.8% FG, 46.1% 3PT, 86.6% FT




Nate West
photo courtesy of
Le Tourneau University

6. Nate West - 5'10", 165lbs - Point Guard

Senior, LeTourneau University (TX) (D3)


West has some Stephen Curry-like flare to his game: he will stop on a dime to square up and fire a shot, he has outstanding range and an uncanny ability to make long shots, and he sets up his teammates for great scoring opportunities. When West has the ball and attacks the lane, his teammates stay alert and engaged because they know he will find them. West recorded 5 career triple-doubles, 3 in his senior campaign. He also made 12 3-pointers and scored 67 points in a 114-98 win over Bellhaven on Senior Day. West was named ASC East Division Player of the Year, DIII 1st Team All-South Region, DIII 1st Team All-American, DIII South Region Player of the Year, and DIII National Player of the Year. West will get some pro attention because of his dynamic play-making ability and excellent use of change of pace and direction to attack defenses.


28.6 pts, 7.9 reb, 7.2 ast, 2.0 st, .3 bl

42.7% FG, 36.9% 3PT, 85.6% FT



Selom Mawugbe
photo courtesy of
Ryan Walvoord/Azusa Pacific

7. Selom Mawugbe - 6'10", 230lbs - Center/Power Forward

Senior, Azusa Pacific (CA) (D2)


Not many players shoot over 70% from the field, but Selom Mawugbe is an athletic big man with an impressive arsenal of post moves that allowed him to dominate the competition at Azusa Pacific. Mawugbe is humble and seems like a gentle giant, but he throws down thundering alley-oops and turns away shots at a staggering rate. Mawugbe was named PacWest Conference Defensive Player of the Year, 1st Team DII All-West Region, and 1st Team DII All-American. He had 20 points, 19 rebounds and 5 assists in his final game of the season against Biola. Mawugbe has the muscle and frame to defend and bang in the low post against other quality big men.

16.9 pts, 10.4 reb, 2.0 ast, 1.1 st, 3.1 bl

71.8% FG, 0.0% 3PT, .69.8% FT





Chris Coffey
photo courtesy of
Richard Davis/Georgetown
College Athletics

8. Chris Coffey - 6'7", 225lbs - Power Forward

Senior, Georgetown College (KY) (NAIA)


One of Coffey's most impressive traits is to see how he and sensational point guard Eljay Cowherd seem to have a telepathic wavelength to abuse defenses. They each possess great instincts and feel for the game to produce easy baskets, both in transition and the half-court set. He has the power and explosive game to compete inside, but he runs the floor and intercepts passes like a much smaller player. Coffey was Mid-South Conference Player of the Year, 2-time NAIA 1st Team All-American, and NAIA National Player of the Year. Coffey is a little undersized as a power forward in the pros, but his athletic ability is undeniable with his tenacious rebounding and breakaway dunks.

15.4 pts, 12.7 reb, 1.5 ast, 1.4 st, 1.0 bl

63.9% FG, 34.8% 3PT, 48.1% FT






Jordan Floyd
photo courtesy of
Mason Thomas/King University

9. Jordan Floyd - 6'2", 165lbs - Point Guard

Senior, King University (TN) (D2) [Albany State (GA)]


Jordan Floyd suffered a fractured ankle in his first game of the 2018-19 season, and returned in 2019-20 to lead all of Division II basketball in scoring, averaging 31.9 points per game. He is a shoot-first lead guard that is comfortable with the ball in his hands. Floyd has great anticipation on defense to niff out lazy passes and does a nice job to create spacing on offense. Floyd was named Conference Carolinas Player of the Year, DII Southeast Region Player of the Year, and DII 1st-Team All-American. Teams will take a long look at Floyd because he is a very smooth ballhandler and weaves through traffic with ease.

31.9 pts, 4.1 reb, 2.7 ast, 1.9 st, 1.1 bl

50.3% FG, 81.3% FT, 42.6% TP






J.J. Culver
photo courtesy of
Wayland Baptist Athletics

10. J.J. Culver - 6'5", 195lbs - Shooting Guard/Small Forward

Senior, Wayland Baptist University (TX) (NAIA)


Brother of Minnesota Timberwolf Jarrett Culver, J.J. has already carved out a name for himself by scoring 100 points in a single game this season in a win over Southwest Adventist. Culver moves extremely well without the ball to setup scoring changes, both in coming off of screens and cutting to the basket. He is a sneaky defender that generates many steals with his active hands and catching the offense napping. Culver was named SAC Player of the Year and 2nd-Team NAIA All-American. His name alone will force NBA teams to take a look, but he has good size and an all-around game that will help his chances.

23.1 pts, 6.4 reb, 3.2 ast, 2.7 st, .5 bl

46.2% FG, 34.3% 3PT, 76.8% FT





Honorable Mention: Brandon Myer - F, Minnesota-Duluth, Tra'Quan Knight - SG, LSU-Shreveport, Brian Halums - SG/SF, Arkansas-Fort Smith, Luka Majstorovic - C, Embry-Riddle (FL), Raquan Mitchell - PG, New Mexico Highlands

Friday, June 12, 2020

Welcome to DraftDirectory.com!

Hello,

This is a new (as of June 2020) website dedicated to compiling data and sharing knowledge and assessment of NBA Draft prospects. I have followed and studied the NBA Draft for many years and decided now to make the information available to the public. I had an inkling this would be coming for a couple of years ago, so even though the site is only going live now, I will be sharing some of my details on the 2018 and 2019 NBA Drafts to show more depth and history.

This is a work in progress, so bear with me though the website and presentation, and stay for the compelling content and abundance of detail. Please contact me if you want to see anything specific, or if you have any questions.

2020 NBA Draft content is beginning to be posted now. Expect new articles and updated lists in the coming weeks.

Thanks,
Jesse Schoen - Draft Directory

Small College Players - A History

Making it to the NBA is not an easy feat for aspiring basketball players. Of high school basketball players, only .03% find their way into the league. Even the progression from high school to college basketball can be difficult, as many talented players across the country are scrambling to get noticed, recruited, and secure a Division I scholarship.

There are 353 NCAA Division I college basketball programs, which each have 13 scholarships to round out their roster. That represents more than 4,500 basketball players of the best young talent, but there are many outstanding players at other levels of college basketball who rise to the top. Some excellent athletes end up playing at the Division II, III, or NAIA levels for a variety of reasons: desire to stay close to home, academics offered at a school, personal connection to the school of coaching staff, religious views, late blooming physical traits/gifts - often there is some notable reason.

While it isn't an impossible path to the NBA through lower levels of college basketball, it is a much tougher road, now more than ever with organized youth basketball starting at such an early age, with social media coverage allowing players to get discovered earlier, and with more Division I basketball programs than ever before.

Here is a historical timeline to highlight the some of the notable non-Division I players that did realize that dream of playing basketball in the NBA:

Vern Mikkelsen
photo courtesy of Hamline University


Before Vern Mikkelsen was a force alongside George Mikan as a 4-time NBA Champion with the Minneapolis Lakers, he was also a NAIA Champion and All-American with Hamline University (MN) in 1949. Hamline was a small-school powerhouse during this time, producing 7 NBA players in the 1940s and 1950s. In 10 seasons with the Lakers, Mikkelsen was a 6-time All-Star and is a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame.

Bank-shot artist and Wilmington native, Sam (Mr. Clutch) Jones starred at North Carolina College (later North Carolina Central) at the Division II level in 1957 before going on to win 10 NBA titles alongside Bill Russell with the Boston Celtics. Jones had 12 seasons with the Celtics, where he was a 5-time All-Star and a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame.



Phil Jackson
photo courtesy of University of North Dakota

Earl (The Pearl) Monroe was a Philadelphia playground basketball legend that exploded on the scene at Division II Winston-Salem State (NC). In 1967, Monroe was the NCAA Division II Player of the Year and Winston-Salem State won the national title. At the professional level, Monroe was NBA Rookie of the Year, a 4-time NBA All-Star, and won the NBA title with the New York Knicks in 1973.

Phil Jackson stayed close to home by playing basketball at Division II University of North Dakota. Jackson was drafted in the 2nd round of the 1967 NBA Draft by the New York Knicks. He helped the Knicks to NBA titles in 1970 & 1973 and had a 12-season career as a key reserve known for his physical nature and defensive intensity. Jackson is the most decorated head coach in NBA history. Over 20 seasons, Jackson was able to lead his teams to 13 NBA Championships - 6 with the Chicago Bulls, featuring Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, and 7 with the Los Angeles Lakers, featuring Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal. Jackson was known as The Zen Master for his calming influence and bringing different personalities together to produce winning teams.


George Gervin
photo courtesy of Eastern Michigan


Originally slated to play at California State, Detroit native George (Iceman) Gervin decided to return home and play for Division II Eastern Michigan. Gervin started his professional career by signing with the Virginia Squires of the ABA in 1972, but played most of his 14-season career in the ABA & NBA with the San Antonio Spurs. Gervin was a 12-time All-Star, 4-time League Scoring Champ, and member of the Basketball Hall of Fame. Gervin was famous for his signature finger roll finishes around the basket.

World B. (Lloyd) Free grew up playing basketball in Brooklyn and was a 2-time NAIA All-American at Guilford College (NC), where they won the NAIA National Championship his freshman year in 1973. Free was drafted in the 2nd round of the 1975 NBA Draft by the Philadelphia 76ers. He played for 6 teams over 13 seasons, was an All-Star with the San Diego Clippers, and was a fan favorite later on with the Cleveland Cavaliers.



Six Jones brothers - Oliver (1964), Melvin (1968), Wil (1969), Caldwell (1973), Major (1976), and Charles (1979) - played Division II basketball at Albany State (GA) and all of them were either drafted or played for ABA or NBA teams. Oliver was drafted by the Cincinnati Royals of the ABA, but never played. Melvin was drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers of the NBA, but never played. Wil was an ABA All-Star and part of the 1975 ABA Championship Kentucky Colonels team. Caldwell had the most size and talent: he was an All-Star in the ABA with the San Diego Conquistadors, and a defensive stopper for the Philadelphia 76ers in the NBA. Major was a bench player, mostly with the Houston Rockets. Charles had a long NBA career as a reserve player, and was also part of the Houston 1995 NBA Championship team.

The Jones Brothers - Oliver, Melvin, Wil, Caldwell, Major & Charles
photo courtesy of Albany State University

Jack Sikma
photo courtesy of Illinois Wesleyan
Growing up in rural Illinois, Jack Sikma was heavily recruited, but had already built a strong relationship with Illinois Wesleyan head coach Dennie Bridges and decided to stay close to home. Sikma finished as the leading scorer and rebounder in Illinois Wesleyan history and a 3-time NAIA All-American. The Seattle Supersonics drafted Sikma 8th overall in the 1977 NBA Draft. Over his 14-season NBA career, Sikma was a 7-time All-Star and won the NBA Championship in 1979 with Seattle. Sikma is revered as one of the best free-throw shooting big men in NBA history and has served as an assistant coach in the NBA for a number of teams.

Purvis Short was a 2-time SWAC Player of the Year at Jackson State (MS) when it was still a Division II school in the Southwestern Athletic Conference. Short was drafted 5th overall in the 1978 NBA Draft by the Golden State Warriors. During his prime, Short averaged more than 20 points per game for a 4-year stretch. Short played 12 seasons in the NBA and now in retirement has served for many years with the NBA Players Association in various roles, including Director of Player Programs.


Rick Mahorn
photo courtesy of Hampton University


The baddest of the Bad Boys, Rick Mahorn, was a 3-time NAIA All-American at Hampton University (VA). Mahorn was taken in the 2nd round of the 1980 NBA Draft by the Washington Bullets, but earned his fame with the Detroit Pistons by winning the NBA title in 1989. Mahorn teamed with Charles Barkley to become a devastating rebounding duo for the Philadelphia 76ers. Mahorn had a 18-season NBA career and was also a 2-time WNBA Champion as an assistant coach with the Detroit Shock.

Jerome Kersey played at Division II Longwood College (VA), and left in 1984 having set school records in points, rebounds, steals, and blocked shots. Kersey was drafted in the 2nd round by the Portland Trailblazers, where he enjoyed his best NBA seasons. He had a 17-season NBA career and won the NBA title in 1999 with the San Antonio Spurs.





Manute Bol
photo courtesy of Bridgeport University

Mario Elie was not heavily recruited, but played at Division II American International College (MA) and became the all-time leading scorer in school history. Elie was drafted in the 7th round of the 1985 NBA Draft by the Milwaukee Bucks, but did not make the team. He bounced around between Ireland, the USBL (United States Basketball League), Portugal, and the CBA (Continental Basketball Association) before getting his break with the Philadelphia 76ers. Elie had a reputation as a nasty defender for his 11 NBA seasons and played a key role for the Houston Rockets to win the NBA title in 1994 & 1995. Elie was also a bench player for the San Antonio Spurs for their NBA Championship in 1999.

One of the most unique players in NBA history, Manute Bol played a single season in 1985 at Division II Bridgeport University (CT). Bol was originally from Sudan and was not deemed eligible at Cleveland State, so he enrolled at Bridgeport because of their English program for foreign students. Bol stood 7'6" tall and averaged 22.5 points, 13.5 rebounds, and 7.1 blocks in his season at Bridgeport. Bol played for 10 NBA seasons with 4 teams and stifled opponents with his wingspan and shot blocking ability. There were rumors about Bol's age: many believed he was many years older than any of his documentation indicated. He worked as a political activist and humanitarian beyond his NBA playing career to help the people of Sudan.


Terry Porter
photo courtesy of UWSP Athletics


Terry Porter grew up in Milwaukee and got a late start in basketball, playing for legendary coach Dick Bennett at Wisconsin-Stevens Point, which was an NAIA school at the time. Porter was selected with the last pick (24th) of the 1st round of the 1985 NBA Draft by the Portland Trailblazers. He went on to have a 17-season NBA career, was a 2-time All-Star, and had his number retired in Portland. Porter was known for his defensive motor and ability to play either guard spot well. Porter has been an assistant and head coach for several NBA teams, and is currently the head coach at the University of Portland.




Dennis Rodman
photo courtesy of SE Oklahoma State



Before Dennis Rodman was known as a flamboyant rebounding machine, he was a 3-time NAIA All-American at Southeastern Oklahoma State. He led the NAIA in rebounding in both 1985 & 1986. Rodman was drafted in the 2nd round of the NBA Draft by the Detroit Pistons and became a key member of the Bad Boys teams that won NBA titles in 1989 & 1990. During the 1991-92 season, Rodman not only led the league in rebounding, but did it with a career-high 18.7 rebounds per game. After playing with the San Antonio Spurs for 2 seasons, Rodman was traded to Chicago and was the defensive-minded, rebounding post presence that allowed the Bulls to 3-peat as NBA Champions in 1996, 1997 & 1998. Rodman was a 5-time NBA Champion, 2-time All-Star, 2-time Defensive Player of the Year, and is a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame.




Scottie Pippen
photo courtesy of UCA Athletics



The rise of Scottie Pippen at Central Arkansas is more than a fairy tale – he started as the team manager, then a member of the team, then was granted a scholarship, then was the best player on his team and became NAIA All-American in 1987. Pippen grew 7 inches while at college and dominated the competition with guard skills in his new 6'8" frame. Drafted 5th overall, he played 17 NBA seasons, mostly with the Chicago Bulls and Portland Trailblazers. Pippen was a 6-time NBA Champion and 7-time All-Star with the Chicago Bulls, a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame, and Olympic gold medalist in 1992 as part of the Dream Team.





Virginia Union might as well have been named Tough Guy University. Three of the most aggressive and hard-nosed low-post players in the NBA during the 1980s and 1990s came from Virginia Union, a Division II school.  Charles Oakley was the Division II Player of the Year for Virginia Union in 1985. Oakley played 19 NBA seasons, starting with the Chicago Bulls, but was most known as a longtime dominant rebounder for the New York Knicks. Terry Davis (1989) played 10 seasons in the NBA, most notably for the Dallas Mavericks. Ben Wallace (1996) played for 16 NBA seasons and 5 different teams, beginning with the Washington Bullets/Wizards. Wallace was an NBA Champion in 2004 and 4-time Defensive Player of the Year with the Detroit Pistons. Both Davis and Wallace were undrafted, but found their way to the NBA for successful careers.


                       Charles Oakley                                          Terry Davis                                                  Ben Wallace
photos courtesy of Virginia Union University

Greg Grant led Division III in scoring in 1989 at Trenton State College (now The College of New Jersey). Standing just 5'7" tall, Grant was still selected in the 2nd round of the NBA Draft and played for 6 NBA teams over 6 seasons, and despite his small stature, was very shifty and never seemed to have trouble getting his shot off.

Mike Penberthy
photo courtesy of The Master's University

One of the craziest accounts is that of Darrell Armstrong. At Division II Fayetteville State (NC), Armstrong was a walk-on kicker on the football team who ended up playing basketball later. He was an all-conference selection as a senior in 1991 and began to blossom as a post-collegiate basketball player in the USBL. Armstrong played in the CBA and overseas in Cyprus and Spain before signing a free agent deal with the Orlando Magic. His athleticism and hustle were trademarks and made him a fan favorite instantly. Despite his late start in the NBA, he played 14 seasons. He was the NBA Sixth Man of the Year and Most Improved Player in 1999, and eventually had his number retired by the Orlando Magic.

Mike Penberthy (1997) broke a bunch of scoring and 3-point records while at NAIA school The Master's (CA). He bounced between the CBA and Germany before landing with the Los Angeles Lakers for the 2000-01 season. That team featured Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant, but Penberthy was a flamethrower off the bench for the eventual NBA Champions that season. While his NBA playing career was rather short, Penberthy had success overseas before becoming a shot mechanics coach in high demand among NBA circles. He is currently working as an assistant coach with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Devean George
photo courtesy of Augsburg College

Growing 4 inches and adding 40lbs of muscle during his college years completely changed basketball for Devean George. He went from a guard with good ball-handling and long-distance shooting ability, to a player that was a force everywhere on the floor with his solid frame and leaping ability. In 1999, George was MIAC Player of the Year at Division III Augsburg College (MN) and went 23rd overall in the 1st round of the NBA Draft. George enjoyed 11 seasons in the NBA and won 3 NBA Championships as a key rotation player with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Since 2000, smaller schools have struggled to produce NBA players with meaningful roles or long careers. Yuta Tabuse (BYU-Hawaii, 2002) was a 5'9" Japanese point guard that had a brief stint with the Phoenix Suns. Junior Harrington (Wingate University (NC), 2002) broke into the league as a backup point guard with the Denver Nuggets, but never stuck with any team for more than a season. Jerome Beasley (North Dakota, 2003) was drafted by the Miami Heat, but only appeared in 2 games. Jeremy Richardson (Delta State (MS), 2006) was an athletic forward that bounced around between 5 teams in 3 NBA seasons. Garret Siler (Augusta State (GA), 2009) was a big-bodied post that had a short time of action with the Phoenix Suns. Jaylen Morris (Molloy College (NY), 2017) got a couple of 10-day contracts with the Atlanta Hawks.


Duncan Robinson
photo courtesy of Williams College

Ronald (Flip) Murray had a couple of hot stretches where it looked like he could become a star, but he was never able to sustain it. Murray was the Division II Player of the Year in 2002 at Shaw University (NC). Murray was drafted in the 2nd round of the NBA Draft and played for 8 teams over 8 seasons, experiencing the most success as a part-time starter with the Seattle Supersonics.

The greatest recent success story lies with Duncan Robinson, who only played one season at the Division III level for Williams College (MA). When head coach Mike Maker left Williams for Marist in 2014, he let his friend and head coach at Michigan, John Beilein, know that Robinson was exploring opportunities to transfer to a Division I school to finish his college basketball career...and the rest is history. Robinson was an integral part of a Michigan team that had great success, which lead to opportunities in NBA Summer League to showcase his shooting ability and high basketball IQ, and now he is playing a key role for the Miami Heat.

Rooting for the underdog is a big part of college basketball and what makes the NCAA Tournament such a popular event and sports phenomenon. The same applies for the longshots of college basketball chasing their NBA and professional basketball dreams. The players that were told they weren't tall enough, or weren't good enough, and had to scratch and claw their way to being noticed in smaller or empty gyms to get recognition can provide some of the greatest success stories the NBA has to offer.