During his senior season, USF men’s basketball player Will McDonald tallied a team-leading 15.9 points per game and 8.1 rebounds per contest.
While scouts came to see the 6-foot-11 center perform, he never attracted the number of professional general managers or national reporters who were at the Portsmouth Invitational this weekend.
At the season’s first event for scouts and GM’s to evaluate talent, McDonald impressed many, scoring 19.3 points per game and grabbing 11.7 rebounds per game.
“South Florida’s Will McDonald was a force in the post, and his size and ball skills for a big man will get him a look,” ESPN’s Andy Katz said in his column on ESPN.com.
McDonald will have the chance to give people a second look as he is expected to participate in the Chicago pre-draft camp in June.
“I’ve heard that I was going to get invited,” McDonald said with a grin. “Some people told me.”
The Chicago camp is the biggest event for possible NBA draft prospects, as the nation’s 60 top players attend.
With many of the country’s top prospects and foreign players skipping out on the Portsmouth Invitational, only 10-12 of the participants will get invited.
In his story on ESPN.com, Chad Ford listed McDonald as a player he predicts will be showcasing his skills in Chicago.
“I heard a little feedback telling me that (if) I played well and kept it up, the way I played could take me really far,” McDonald said.
The Portsmouth Invitational provided players with a chance to meet agents, scouts and general managers from the NBA and overseas teams.
McDonald went into the tournament already signed with an agent. He is a client of Steve Kaufman and Andrew Vye of Kaufman Sports Management.
If he does not make an NBA roster in October, McDonald is still keeping the option of playing overseas open.
“That’s always an option,” McDonald said. “Overseas is an option, but that’s not what I’m shooting for. I’m shooting to go to the NBA.”
In order to make the NBA, many feel McDonald will still need to improve and tweak his game.
“The biggest challenge for McDonald will be making the transition from center to power forward in the pros,” Ford said in his story. “He doesn’t have the greatest face-up game.”
McDonald will welcome the Chicago pre-draft camp experience if it is anything like the Portsmouth Invitational.
“It was a great experience for me because I knew I was going to play well, because I play better when there are a lot of guys that are supposed to be higher prospects than me,” McDonald said. “I didn’t think I would score as much as I did because big men don’t always get the ball in those situations.”
Assistant Sports Editor Bryan Fazio covers men’s basketball and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org