As the 2012 NBA Draft took place at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ last night, 60 collegiate and international players achieved their dream of entering the world of professional basketball on its biggest stage. Of these 60 players selected, IMG Academy is proud to stake claim to 7of them who took part in pre-draft training on campus. With three first-round players selected and four second-rounders, it is clear that each player's hard work while at IMG Academy has truly paid off. Congratulations to the 7 players drafted!
13. Kendall Marshall PG (North Carolina) - Phoenix Suns
All signs point to Kendall Marshall being the heir apparent to perennial all-star Steve Nash who will most likely leave this offseason. While those are certainly big shoes to fill, scouts rave about Marshall's consistent heads-up play and ability to make every pass. IMG Academy Head Skills Trainer, Dan Barto calls Marshall "the best pure leader I have trained since Chauncey Billups. His understanding of the game is that of a 10-year vet. He broke multiple reaction and vision tests at IMG and I expect a starter tag sooner than later."
15. Moe Harkless SF (St. John's) - Phildelphia 76ers
A long, athletic wing player still coming into his own, Moe Harkless is the perfect fit for the up-and-coming, fast-paced 76ers squad. Scouts across the country rave about his maturity as a 19-year-old as well as his ability to get to the basket. Originally projected to go towards the end of the first round, it is clear that his time at IMG Academy was extremely beneficial as he cemented his place in the first half of the draft. Here is a video of Harkless training at IMG Academy posted on Hoopsworld.
23. Fab Melo C (Syracuse) - Boston Celtics
One of the best defensive players in the draft, Melo has found the ideal fit with the Boston Celtics who were desperately in need of an inside defensive presence. With a developing but effective offensive game, Barto compares the bruiser to Joakim Noah saying "He will be a steal and his unorthodox offensive game will not matter once his team see him affect the game on the defensive end, night in and night out."
33. Bernard James C (Florida State) - Cleveland Cavaliers
The 27-year-old former United States Air Force StaffSergeantprovided one of the most heartfelt moments of the draft last night. Even though he was projected as a second-round selection, James and his family attended the draft and, when his name was called, was met with booming chants of "USA! USA! USA!" from the Prudential Center crowd. While seemingly nothing compared to his tours throughout the Middle East, James is now tasked to provide a part of a young nucleus for a rebuilding Cavaliers team.
47. Kevin Murphy SG (Tennessee Tech) - Utah Jazz
The Utah Jazz only had one pick to use on Thursday and they made it count with the small schoolprospectfrom Tennessee Tech. The athletic, 6'6" shooting guard will undeniably be a great role player for a team looking to transcend to the top of the Western Conference within the next few years. Look for Murphy to come off the bench and provide a spark for this young Jazz squad.
55. Darius Johnson-Odom SG (Marquette) - Dallas Mavericks traded to Lakers
To put it simply, Johnson-Odom is an athletic freak. Labeled as a top performer in the vertical jump, lane agility and bench press, Johnson-Odom will provide a much-needed spark for the aging Lakers. While a transition to point guard may be in the near future for the 6'3' guard, there is no doubt that he will provide energy off the bench.
60. Robert Sacre C (Gonzaga) - Los Angeles Lakers
With the NBA's version of Mr. Irrelevant, the Lakers made a great selection in the form of Robert Sacre from Gonzaga.In an ideal position where he can learn from two of the league's best big-men in Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum, Sacre has all of the tools to succeed at the next level. Sacre worked hard during his time at IMG Academy and a video of his training can also be found on Hoopsworld.