On Thursday morning, the Bucks officially announced the six participants for the day’s pre-draft workout:
It’s the third official workout held by the Bucks and, once again, features mostly veteran college players and a healthy mix of forwards and point guards. Fair, Burton, Rudd and Thames were all seniors this past season, while Sampson left St. John’s after his sophomore year. Buza, a versatile 6-7 forward, played professionally in his native Bosnia and Herzegovina last season.
Fair is probably the biggest name on the list, though the consensus seems to be that he’s entrenched in the second round at this point. The rest of the prospects also project as second-rounders, with Nevada’s Deonte Burton holding the highest DraftExpress ranking (37) of the bunch.
Arizona State’s Jahii Carson is noticeably absent from the group after it was reported Wednesday night that he was expected to take part. The Bucks will continue to hold workouts in the coming weeks, so it’s quite likely the athletic point guard will find his way to Milwaukee prior to the draft.
Let’s take a closer look at each of Thursday’s participants:
Xavier Thames, G, San Diego State
The Mountain West Conference Player of the Year and AP Honorable Mention All-American led the Aztecs in scoring (17.6), assists (3.2), steals (1.6) as a senior. He also shot a team-high 37.2 percent from beyond the arc and 83.4 percent from the free throw line. Thames didn’t “wow” scouts at the NBA Draft Combine with his measurables, but at 6-3 he has ideal size and could sneak his way into the second round. DraftExpress ranks Thames as its 98th-best prospect.
C.J. Fair, F, Syracuse
A four-year contributor at Syracuse, Fair averaged 16.5 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game as a senior. But it was his junior year that was arguably his best, as he posted similar numbers (14.5 points, 7.0 rebounds) while shooting much more efficiently. The lefty shot just 42.9 percent from the field and 27.6 from deep as a senior, compared to 47.0 percent from the field and 46.9 percent from three as a junior. At 6-8, he has great size for a small forward, though his outside shooting must improve.
Nedim Buza, F, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Buza averaged 9.0 points, 3.6 boards and 1.5 assists in 22 games professional games for Spars Sarajevo last season. He turned 19 three weeks ago, so scouts likely see him as more of a long-term prospect, as is the case with many European second-round talents. Buza checks in as the 64th-best player in DraftExpress’ top 100 prospects.
Victor Rudd, F, South Florida
The Arizona State transfer led the Bulls in scoring each of the past two seasons. He left campus with the 10th-most points in school history despite playing only three seasons. Rudd is big-time scorer and rebounder, but efficiency is a huge concern. A 6-9 forward shooting 41.8 percent from the field doesn’t exactly make scouts salivate. And neither does his three-point shooting, which sunk to a career-low 26.0 percent as a senior (4.0 attempts per game). The most unlikely of the group to be drafted, Rudd does not appear in the DraftExpress top 100.
JaKarr Sampson, F, St. John’s
The 2013 Big East Rookie of the Year burst onto the NBA radar after a stellar freshman season in which he led all conference rookies in scoring (14.9 ppg). Sampson returned for his sophomore season in 2013-14 and posted averages of 12.8 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.0 blocks in 29.0 minutes per game. He’s an elite athlete with an above-average handle for his size, but Sampson may end up regretting his decision to enter the draft two years early.
Deonte Burton, G, Nevada
The senior put together one of the best all-around seasons in college basketball last season, averaging 20.1 points, 4.3 rebounds and 4.4 assists while shooting 47.1 percent from the field. He’s only 6-1 but makes up for it with a strong frame (193 pounds), huge wingspan (6-7) and 39.5-inch vertical leap. DraftExpress’ 47th-best prospect, Burton will almost certainly hear his name called on draft night.
Per usual, the Bucks’ official Twitter account provided a little behind-the-scenes access to the workout: