Every year there are dreamers and pranksters who don’t even play Division I ball that declare for the NBA draft without a puncher’s chance to make the league. Meet those players making that plunge this year.
Note: A final list of the NBA draft early entries as of Monday’s 4:00 PM ET deadline is not available. These are names still on the early entry list as of 2:00 PM ET on Monday, as reported by the AP.
Jacob Blankenship (Southeastern)
It’s tough to make the jump from NCAA basketball to the NBA, but try doing it from NCCAA competition. For those of you guessing at home, that’s the National Christian College Athletic Association. Blankenship might be given the benefit of the doubt if he set the NCCAA on fire – OK, he wouldn’t have – but he didn’t.
While he was the team’s leading scorer, he averaged just 13.4 PPG at this Lakeland, FL, school. And the NBA isn’t exactly dying for 6-foot-9 big men.
Roscoe Davis (Midland Junior College)
Davis was recruited by West Virginia and ranked the 113th best recruit in the nation by Rivals.com but couldn’t make the grades to play college basketball at the highest level. Instead, he played one year at Midland College (TX) and now is going to make the leap to the NBA. Sure, he has talent and garnered some interest. But straight from junior college to the NBA? Not even Larry Johnson could do that.
Mamadou Diarra (Chaminade)
Diarra is a 7-foot junior who put himself on the map with a stellar performance in the Maui Invitational – the only time Division II Chaminade sees the light of day. The Mali native and former USC player had 16 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks against Michigan State and 15 and 12 rebounds against Oklahoma.
Diarra averaged 13.3 PPG and 10.0 RPG for the Silverswords last season but instead of transferring back to a Division I program and proving himself for scouts, he just went head-first into the draft. He’s ranked as the 109th best draft prospect by ESPN’s Chad Ford and appears extremely unlikely to be picked.
Dan Kelm (Viterbo)
Kelm is six-foot sophomore guard who averaged just 1.2 points at NAIA Viterbo University in Wisconsin. Kelm said it’s a joke but that he’s definitely keeping his name in the draft.
Said Kelm to Ballin’ Is A Habit: “No NBA teams have sent anything to me, I’m not exactly sure that they are interested in a guy that averaged 1.2 ppg at an NAIA school. But you never know, I’m keeping that option open.”
Trust us, you know.
Kelm says he’d like to be drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks and says it would be a good fit since the team needs a shooter.
Tiondre Johnson (Coastal Bend Junior College)
Another junior college player ready to jump to the league. An Akron, Ohio, native, the 6-foot-6 Johnson played against LeBron James’ former high school, St. Vincent-St. Mary. Unfortunately, that won’t prepare him for the real games when, you know, James is on the floor.
Playing for this tiny junior college in Beeville, TX, Johnson averaged 19.4 PPG last season according to the site NJCAA. That’s about what LeBron would have in five minutes at a junior college. But that won’t convince these guys Johnson isn’t NBA material.
Thomas Tibbs Jr. (College of Staten Island)
A 5-foot-10 guard – and apparently, that’s generous – from Division III’s College of Staten Island, Tibbs’ name is so obscure one early entry draft lists incorrectly list his first name as “Tony.” Tibbs was good enough to make his conference’s first team, but 14.6 points and 5.3 assists in Division III basketball is a good predictor.
Needless to say, he won’t be drafted and isn’t the young stud point guard the local New York Knicks are searching for.