Add Vernon Macklin to the litany of Boo Williams alumni drafted by the NBA.
A 6-foot-10 forward from the University of Florida and Portsmouth’s Norcom High, Macklin was chosen in the second round Thursday, No. 52 overall, by the Detroit Pistons.
As a senior last season, Macklin averaged a modest 11.5 points and 5.4 rebounds. But he closed his college career with a personal-best 25 points in an NCAA tournament loss to Butler.
More important, Macklin had a successful homecoming, playing well in the NBA-sponsored Portsmouth Invitational, where he averaged 18 points in three games. Macklin augmented that with a quality personal workout in Detroit, where the Pistons also hosted eventual lottery picks Tristan Thompson of Texas (No. 4 to Cleveland), Bismack Biyombo of Spain (No. 7 to Sacramento) and Markieff Morris of Kansas (No. 13 to Phoenix).
“We liked what we saw,” Pistons VP for basketball operations Scott Perry told MLive.com. “He definitely held his own, played well and made an impression on us. He definitely played like he belonged. …
“He's got long arms, he can block some shots and he does a decent job defending the low post. I think what he really started to do, especially in their tournament run, was show an ability to score in the low post. He's got good hands down there.”
Macklin signed with Georgetown, where he played behind current NBA players Jeff Green and Roy Hibbert. He transferred to Florida after two seasons – the Hoyas reached the Final Four his freshman year.
As a late second-round choice, Macklin certainly isn’t a lock to make the Pistons. But his size, defensive timing and athleticism give him NBA potential.
Macklin spent several summers touring with Boo Williams’ Hampton-based travel squad. Other Williams alums chosen in the NBA draft include J.R. Reid, Alonzo Mourning, Joe Smith, Allen Iverson, Bryant Stith, J.J. Redick, Jarrett Jack, Greivis Vasquez, Ed Davis and Patrick Patterson.
Some other draft nuggets and hunches:
* Macklin wasn’t the only Virginian drafted Thursday. University of Richmond forward Justin Harper went No. 32 to Cleveland, who traded his rights to Orlando.
A 6-10 Richmond native and graduate of Meadowbrook High, Harper has the offensive skills (44.8-percent 3-point shooter) to thrive in the show. He averaged team-highs of 17.9 points and 6.8 rebounds last season while leading the Spiders to the Sweet 16.
* Led by No. 1 overall pick Kyrie Irving of Duke, seven ACC players were drafted. The choice I really like is Washington taking Florida State forward Chris Singleton 18th.
Singleton will make the All-Defensive team sooner rather than later, and his offense is underrated. Might the perennially pedestrian Wizards be progressing?
* For local basketball mavens, the most notable players bypassed were Virginia Tech guard Malcolm Delaney and VCU forward Jamie Skeen. Given Delaney’s suspect defense, I was more surprised by Skeen, who scored game-highs of 26 and 27 points, respectively, in VCU’s regional final upset of Kansas and Final Four loss to Butler.
Unsure of his draft prospects, Delaney earlier this month signed a contingency contract with a professional team in France, Elan Chalon. Since NBA teams cannot sign undrafted free agents during the current labor impasse, Delaney’s move looks wise, indeed.
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