Mark down Florida State shooting guard Malik Beasley as a possibility for the Charlotte Hornets should he last to their 22nd pick in the first round of next month’s NBA draft.
A 6-foot-5 shooting guard, Beasley spent oneseason in college before turning pro. He averaged 15.6 points and 5.3 rebounds as a freshman.
Beasley met with the Hornets in Chicago for the NBA draft combine. He also had interviews with Denver, Memphis, Indiana, Oklahoma City, Philadelphia and Houston.
Beasley said he enjoyed the interaction with the Hornets, particularly with coach Steve Clifford.
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"It went very well. I felt I had a great connection with those guys," Beasley said Thursday. "We laughed a little bit. He asked if I could dance. I thought it went pretty well."
Beasley said the feedback he’s gotten from the NBA suggests he could go as early in the draftas the late lottery (top 14 picks) to early in the 20s.
The Hornets’ situation at shooting guard is in play this offseason. Nic Batum and Courtney Lee are unrestricted free agents. Beasley says he’d enjoy being drafted onto a veteran team where he could learn the game from others. He also said he aspires to eventually transition into more of a combo guard. He said ballhandling and playmaking are his priorities going forward.
Beasley said he never anticipated spending just a season in college before turning pro.
"I didn’t think that going in, and then as the season progressed I realized I could really do it," Beasley said.
Three other players the Hornets interviewed in Chicago: Virginia’s Malcolm Brogdon, North Carolina’s Justin Jackson and Connecticut’s Daniel Hamilton.
Hamilton averaged 12.5 points, 8.9 rebounds and 4.7 assists as a sophomore last season. He projects as a small forward in the NBA. He said Thursday he’d love to have fellow UConn alumnus Kemba Walker as a Hornets teammate.
Brogdon, who completed his college eligibility this season, is working on a Master’s degree in public policy at Virginia. He averaged 18.2 points and 4.1 rebounds in his senior season.
▪ Maryland big man Robert Craft, Jr., showed up with 12.45 percent body fat, far above what you typically see in a pro basketball player.
▪ Among area players, North Carolina forwards Brice Johnson and Justin Jackson, measured, in shoes, to be 6-10 ½ inches and 6-8, respectively.
▪ Among the visitors watching drills at the combine was Hornets power forward Frank Kaminsky, who grew up in the Chicago area, so it was a 25-minute drive to the facility where the Combine is held.
▪ N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried was waiting for point guard Cat Barber to show his support for Barber in this pre-draft process.
▪ Likewise, North Carolina coach Roy Williams is attending the combine to support Brice Johnson, Justin Jackson and Marcus Paige.
▪ Duke’s Brandon Ingram, who might be the No. 1 overall pick, chose not to do media availability at the combine.
▪ Another projected top pick, LSU’s Ben Simmons, is not participating in the combine.
▪ Another player on the Hornets’ radaris Maryland guard Melo Trimble.
They said it
“He plays like he hasn’t had a meal in three weeks.” – projected lottery pick Jaylen Brown on Russell Westbrook’s ferocious style of play.
“I think they want me continuing to transition to the point guard position.” – Brogdon on feedback he’s getting from the NBA.
“I believe I have first-round talent.” – Clemson’s Jaron Blossomgame.