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Polishing the Stone -- former UTEP point guard starts his journey to the NBA

Julyan Stone

Ignore his ranking as the No. 1 career assists leader in UTEP and Conference USA history.

Ignore his 6-foot-7 height, because he may even pick up another inch or two before his growth halts.

Ignore the fact that as a point guard, he led the Miners in rebounding this past season. After all, he was forced to play out of position as a forward/center for most of his prep career, so rebounding comes naturally.

Ignore all of that, because Julyan Stone wants you to know something:

He's nowhere close to as good as he can be.

"I feel like right now I'm a 2 out of 10 when it comes to my full potential," said Stone before a recent workout with Coach Dan Barto at the IMG Academy basketball program, where Stone's preparing for private NBA workouts. "I've never even had a basketball trainer until now. I'm learning so much. I feel like where I am now isn't anywhere close to where I'll be in three or four years."

That's right. The person who booted Tim Hardaway from the top spot of UTEP's career assists list truly believes his full potential is still untapped. And why not? If he didn't believe it, who would?

Boys & Girls Club coaches in elementary school forced him to play on the block because he was taller than everyone, even though he already knew he was born to play the point guard position. Pac-10 programs barely cast him a second glance, despite Stone playing in their backyard at Dos Pueblos Senior High in California. Even Coach Tony Barbee, who recruited Stone before leaving for Auburn, tried to move him to the 3 on the first day of Stone's freshman year.

None of it worked, because Stone believes without any shred of doubt that he is a point guard in the truest form of the position.

"I feel like being a point guard comes naturally," he says. "You have to want to make other people better. You should want to do anything and everything your team needs to win. That's the true measure of a point guard. Even in high school, I could have probably averaged 30 a game, but I don't like that. I want to get others involved."

In addition to workouts with Athletic & Personal Development program experts, Stone runs through twice-daily on-court sessions with Dan Barto, IMG Academy basketball program's Head Trainer.

"Julyan is an game-controlling point guard," Barto says. "Those players are hard to find in general, let alone at 6-6. His ability to find guys in transition and distribute the ball is rare. We are focusing one day at a time on reaching his goal of being on an NBA roster.

"Once he reaches that goal he will quickly establish himself as a difference maker."

So ignore Julyan Stone now if you want. Chances are, you won't be able to for very long.

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