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June 04, 2017

A closer look at the prospects (including a new addition) attending Sixers' first pre-draft workout

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On Monday, the Sixers will hold their first workout for prospects ahead of the June 22 NBA Draft. And earlier this weekend, the team announced the six invited players, all of whom project to go in the second round – the Sixers have four picks in the second (36th, 39th, 46th and 50th overall).

However, there’s been a last-minute change to the list of prospects that will be working out at the Sixers’ training complex in Camden, according to the Sixers.

Middle Tennessee forward Reggie Upshaw, Jr. will be replacing Weber State guard Jeremy Senglin. The other five players on the guard-heavy list – Maryland guard Melo Trimble, Kentucky guard Isaiah Briscoe, Colorado guard Derrick White, Tennessee State guard Tahjere McCall, and George Washington forward Tyler Cavanaugh – remain the same.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these prospects, starting with the newest addition to the list:

REGGIE UPSHAW | Forward, Middle Tennessee

HEIGHT: 6’7” | WEIGHT: 222 lbs. | AGE: 22 | YEAR: Senior 
2016-17 STATS: 14.5 points, 6.8 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 52.5 FG%, 31.7 3P%, 72.4 FT%

What they’re saying

Upshaw a former wide receiver - and a really good one, apparently

The son of a former MTSU football player, Upshaw was on his way to stardom in whatever sport he played, said his high school football coach, Phil Massey.

"You knew whatever sport he'd chose, he'd do it wholeheartedly," Massey said. "It doesn't surprise me that he's done so well in basketball. You could see that he was special."

As a 6-foot-6 wide receiver/tight end recruit, Upshaw had offers from multiple Division I schools including Vanderbilt, MTSU and Louisiana-Lafayette.

"He was a mismatch for defensive backs for sure," Massey said. []

But he can also ball – and has been compared to Draymond Green

“For a four-year player, he’s had the biggest impact on winning of anybody we’ve coached,” [MTSU coach Kermit] Davis said of Upshaw. …

“He’s made a ton of huge shots since he’s been here,” Davis said of the 6-foot-8, 228-pound Upshaw (14.2 points, 6.7 rebounds per game), a power forward who often plays like a point guard. “But he’s just one of those unselfish guys, just a really good passer. It’s just part of his makeup. But I tell you what, big plays in big games, he’s not afraid to go make them.” … 

He’s a power forward who sits seventh on MTSU’s scoring list (1,475 points), fourth in rebounding (865) and No. 1 with 134 games played and 109 starts. He led the team in assists last season and is second this season, a total of 250 in his career. His game is somewhat reminiscent of Draymond Green, and that comparison is something he hopes will help his NBA dream.  []


MELO TRIMBLE | Guard, Maryland 

HEIGHT: 6’3” | WEIGHT: 185 lbs. | AGE: 22 | YEAR: Junior 
2016-17 STATS: 16.8 points, 3.6 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 43.6 FG%, 31.7 3P%, 78.9 FT%

What they’re saying

Consistency should count for something

At best, Trimble can be selected in the second round of this year’s draft. But it wouldn’t be shocking if he didn’t hear his name called on draft night. The Maryland native is coming off a season in which he led a younger Terrapins team in scoring and assists with 16.8 and 3.7, respectively. He proved himself reliable as a primary playmaker and scorer. Trimble was a model of consistency when it came to scoring throughout his collegiate career. For the past three years, he was the heart and soul of Maryland but didn’t have anything to gain by returning to school for his senior season. With aspirations of going pro, he made the right decision to declare and keep his name in this year’s NBA draft. However, after a lackluster showing at the NBA Draft Combine, going undrafted has become more of possibility. The best case scenario for him remains sneaking into the back end of the second round with some luck and impressive performances during predraft workouts. []

What he could bring to Sixers offense

More than half of Trimble's total possessions as a sophomore came in the pick and roll action, per Synergy Sports Technology. He does a good job of playing with pace and changing speeds, particularly when engaging the defending big, showcasing a great deal of comfort in splitting and snaking against poor defense, but has a tendency to over-dribble and make possessions more difficult than they typically should be. When Trimble gets his defender hit by the screen he is able to create enough space to step into his pull up jumper or continue into the paint for a floater that he employs quite often, though not always with a high degree of efficiency or accuracy. 

As a finisher inside the paint, Trimble struggles against length due to his poor tools, converting only 50% of his field goal attempts in half-court situations, per Synergy Sports Technology, often times relying on creating contact and getting a whistle leading to free-throws. In the event that the defender is able to avoid contact on the screen, Trimble doesn't have enough burst to get by high level defenders and struggles to create high quality shots.  []


ISAIAH BRISCOE | Guard, Kentucky

HEIGHT: 6’3” | WEIGHT: 210 lbs. | AGE: 21 | YEAR: Sophomore 
2016-17 STATS: 12.1 points, 5.4 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 47.0 FG%, 28.8 3PT%, 63.5 FT%

What they’re saying

The other, other Kentucky guard

Averaging more than 30 minutes per game in the 2016-17 season, Briscoe was an integral piece of Kentucky’s success. He averaged 12.1 points, 5.4 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game -- all three categories that saw improvement from his freshman campaign, despite playing fewer minutes. 

Briscoe entered the draft last season but withdrew his name to return for a sophomore campaign. Despite a solid season, he’s not likely to be picked up in the first round. CBS Sports NBA Draft experts Howard Megdal and Gary Parrish don’t have him in their first round mock drafts, and he could be a second round steal for a team looking to add a young prospect who has been productive in his two seasons at Kentucky. []

The next Eric Snow?

Strengths: The definition of a bull in a China shop. Extremely physical and aggressive guard … Gets into the lane at will … Has the ability to finish creatively around the basket … Knows how to position his body and maneuver in the air to get off shots in the paint … Capable of playing both on and off the ball … More of a lead guard, but was willing to play multiple positions/roles at Kentucky … Very vocal leader … A second coach on the floor … Doesn’t waste dribbles, takes only the necessary amount to get to where he needs to go … Great all-around defender … Often matched up against the opposing team's best player … Has wide shoulders and a strong base that allows him to body up with bigger players .... Has the size of a small NBA SG … Wingspan (6'10) allows him to contest shots when he’s matched against taller players … Active as a rebounder … Not afraid to stick his nose in on the boards and do the dirty work … Strong hands let him snatch rebounds away from opponents … Is involved on the boards on both the offensive and defensive ends …

Weaknesses: Tweener, lacking ideal point guard skills, and the shooting and ideal size for the 2 ... Jack of all trades, master of none. Solid skill set but doesn't really stand out in any area, aside from his toughness ... Still not a threat from the perimeter … After talk of an improvement Briscoe was reluctant to shoot from deep … Misses badly when he isn’t in rhythm … Will probably need to completely overhaul his shot to get to an adequate level … Spent most of his time at Kentucky off the ball, will have to prove that he is capable of running an offense … Can be hot headed. Prideful and quick to let it be known—to an opponent or an official—when he feels like things aren’t going his way … Has the passion and fight coaches love, but his chippie play can go too far at times … Needs to get in better shape, cut back some of the body fat, to improve as an athlete …

NBA Comparison: Eric Snow  []


DERRICK WHITE | Guard, Colorado

HEIGHT: 6’5” | WEIGHT: 200 lbs. | AGE: 22 | YEAR: Senior 
2016-17 STATS: 18.1 points, 4.1 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 50.7 FG%, 39.6 3P%, 81.3 FT%

What they’re saying

White a standout at Portsmouth Invitational

“He made NBA plays,” [trainer Marchus] Mason said. “He went on stretches where he completely dominated the game. He shot the ball well at times from very long distance. In the second game, his team was down 17 points with about 10 minutes to go. He had about a seven-minute stretch where, on offense and defense, he made every play. The funny thing is, it’s the same thing he did in high school, the exact same thing he did in Division II, the exact same thing he did at Colorado, where he has this ability to affect the game on both ends.”

Scouts marveled at the growth White has made in a short time against top-flight competition. In his third conference game last season, against Arizona, White managed just seven points and struggled to find his rhythm. During the Pac-12 tournament two months later, against the same Wildcats teeming with potential NBA players, White went for 31 points, six rebounds and five assists in a loss.

“I think that if he did really well in workouts, there’s a chance someone in the 20s could take him (in the first round),” ESPN draft analyst Fran Fraschilla said. “He’s comfortably ensconced in the second round. He really knows how to play the game, and he fits what the NBA is looking for: a shooter who makes good decisions who is a great teammate and who has great character off the court.”  []

Well that came out of nowhere

Scottie Pippen. Steve Francis. Ben Wallace. Jack Sikma. Avery Johnson. John Starks. Terry Porter.  

Next: Derrick White. 

Commonality? All of them, somehow, did not earn a single Division I basketball scholarship offer coming out of high school. Once White is drafted and inevitably suits up in an NBA game later this fall, he'll join the aforementioned seven in having played in the greatest basketball league the world has ever known, despite being sweepingly ignored. 

But unless you're a hardcore college basketball fan, an NBA Draft junkie or watched the Pac-12 regularly last season, you may have no idea who Derrick White is. You may not know the name, the game, his look, any of it. But, once you watch him play, he's hard to shake from your mind. There's a captivating element to his style. He's lean but not lanky to a fault. His untamed, curly hair bobs with joy. Most fun: his seemingly mutant-type ability to elasticize himself whenever he dunks in traffic. 

White, who just played one season at Colorado, should be a top-40 pick. Amazingly, a year ago at this time, almost nobody outside the Rocky Mountain State knew who he was. White has perhaps the most interesting and unexpected story of any projected draftee. He is the latest example of a role model for the overlooked, an illustration of how you can achieve lofty dreams through measured humility paired with a ferocious desire to never settle. Because 99.999 percent of the time, athletes in Derrick White's position spray off en route to NBA Draft dreams.  []


Tahjere McCall | Guard, Tennessee State

HEIGHT: 6’5” | WEIGHT: 195 lbs. | AGE: 24 | YEAR: Senior 
2016-17 STATS: 14.3 points, 5.0 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 43.5 FG%, 24.3 3P%, 63.7 FT%

What they’re saying

He’s a Philly kid

McCall is a Philadelphia native and attended the Carver High School of Engineering & Science. In addition to his offensive numbers, McCall was named Ohio Valley Conference Defensive Player of the year in 2016 and 2017. He transferred from Niagara after his sophomore season to Tennessee State, Robert Covington’s alma mater. []

McCall a late-bloomer

He is an elite on-the-ball defender and an offensive slasher. He has exceptional tools in his first step and the ability to see the floor and deliver the ball to teammates. He had 19 points, seven rebounds and six assists Thursday, and that assist number would have been double or more with teammates converting simple shots.

At 6-foot-5, 195 pounds and with that explosion and feel, McCall will be paid well to play basketball somewhere next season. His jump shot (6-for-26 on threes) may keep him from the NBA. But the focus is on doing something special this season, and McCall’s perspective is ample — this is a guy who never saw the floor as a junior varsity player at Carver High School of Engineering & Science in Philadelphia.  []


TYLER CAVANAUGH | Forward, George Washington

HEIGHT: 6’9” | WEIGHT: 230 lbs. | AGE: 23 | YEAR: Senior 
2016-17 STATS: 18.3 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 2.0 APG, 44.8 FG%, 40.9 3P%, 84.8 FT%

What they’re saying

He can shoot, but questions remain

A transfer from Wake Forest who spent the last two years with the Colonials, the 6-9 forward averaged 18.3 points and  8.4 rebounds as a senior and shot 40.9 percent from three-point range.

In his final college regular-season game, he had 30 points and eight rebounds in an upset of Dayton. Cavanaugh led the Colonials to a 20-15 finish and a first-round victory in the Atlantic 10 Tournament. He improved his stock with an MVP at the coach's showcase at Final Four weekend in Phoenix, and a standout performance at the Portsmouth (Va.) Invitational. 

The biggest question he'll have to answer is whether he has the athleticism to sustain in the NBA which will hold the draft June 22. []


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