The parade of All-Americans has stopped.
The number of recognizable names has diminished.
The most recent Suns’ pre-draft workouts may lack in star power but that does not mean they’ve lacked in talent. So, don’t think for a moment that they have not been of the utmost importance to GM Ryan McDonough and his staff.
In addition to drafting fifth overall, the Suns hold the final pick of the first round, 30th overall, and a late second round selection, 57th overall.
Friday’s group of draft hopefuls fell into that 30-57 range with shooting guard Glen Rice Jr., who last season played in the NBA D-League after being dismissed from Georgia Tech, the one possible late-first round candidate.
He was joined by guards Colt Ryan (Evansville) and Angelo Sharpless (Elizabeth City State) plus forwards C.J. Aiken (St. Joseph’s), Brandon Davies (BYU) and Greg Echenique (Creighton).
“A lot of these guys, they have to get in front of as many teams as they can,” McDonough said. “The guys came in today and really competed. I was really impressed with the effort.”
Rice, whose father spent 15 seasons in the NBA after leading Michigan to the 1989 NCAA National Championship, ran into trouble his junior season, twice getting suspended and then kicked off the team following a shooting incident outside an Atlanta nightclub.
Rather than declare for the draft, he chose to play in the D-League and led the Rio Grande Valley Vipers to a title while averaging 25 points, 9.5 rebounds and 4.3 assists in the playoffs.
“My track record at the D-League was clean,” said Rice, who added about his pro experience, “I think it helped tremendously. The guys are bigger, better if you ask me. It will be a shorter step for me to adjust from the D-League to the NBA than from college to the NBA like most guys.”
Rice, according to McDonough, “got great reviews from the coaches and staff there (at Rio Grande). He realized that he made mistakes before and matured and played very well. He’s a big-time scorer. He has a lot of offensive ability and that was apparent here today in the workout.”
While not a consideration at No. 30, Davies could be a player the Suns look at with their 57th pick.
“He’s got kind of prototypical size and body and strength for a power forward,” McDonough said.
Davies is 6-foot-9, 235 pounds. He led BYU in rebounding in each of his last three seasons, grabbing eight boards per game while averaging 17.7 points his senior season.
His draft stock really began to rise after he was named MVP at the Portsmouth Invitational, which features the nation’s top college seniors.
“I’m one of those guys who a couple of months ago wasn’t even on those boards,” said Davies after what was his 11th pre-draft workout. “I try not to pay attention to it and just work on the things that I can control and that’s my work ethic and making sure I bring it every day.”