The NBA Draft is approaching and once again, Iowa State fans have a reason to watch. Will Clyburn will look to become the second player of the Hoiberg era to hear his name called, following the first round choice of Royce White one year ago. If Clyburn is selected, it would be the first time since the 2000 and 2001 drafts (Marcus Fizer '00 & Jamaal Tinsley '01) where Cyclone players heard their names called in consecutive years.
Clyburn has made the rounds during the pre-draft circuit, being invited to the Portsmouth Invitational, the NBA combine and he's spent the last month jetsetting the country working out for various teams. Several mock drafts have Clyburn as a second round choice, but some of the more notable mocks leave his name out altogether. In his only year in the Cardinal and Gold, Clyburn led Iowa State in scoring at 14.9 PPG and finished second in rebounding, pulling down 6.8 boards per game.
What Does He Project To Be?
If you followed the 2013 playoffs and have paid attention to the evolution of today's pro game, you're probably well aware that every roster has a few spots reserved for lengthy perimeter types that can provide reliable outside shooting. If that player can make an impact on the defensive end and crash the boards, all the better. Think of guys like Trevor Ariza, Quincy Pondexter and Jimmy Butler in recent years. These are the types of players that NBA GMs are coveting to surround their stars with. At the combine, Clyburn checked in at 6'7" with shoes on and measured out to a 7-foot wingspan and certainly could fit that mold.
In his only year in Ames, Clyburn's versatility allowed Fred Hoiberg to use him as a point-forward and situationally as a post in small-ball lineups. Although Clyburn shot only 30% from outside, he did show enough range to give scouts a look at the type of player he could develop into.
Having watched Clyburn for an entire year, we're all well aware of his strengths and weaknesses. Just look at his stat lines from the following games:
BYU: 32 points, 9-16 FG, 4-7 3PT, 10-11 FT
Kansas State: 24 points, 8-16 FG, 2-5 3PT, 10 rebounds
Baylor: 28 points, 7-14 FG, 3-6 3PT, 10 rebounds
@ West Virginia: 27 points, 7-13 FG 18 FT attempts!, 10 rebounds
@ Iowa: 0 points, 0-5 FG, 3 rebounds, 5 turnovers
@ Kansas State: 6 points, 2-9 FG, 5 turnovers
@ Oklahoma: 6 points, 1-5 FG, 3 turnovers
Not surprisingly, Iowa State won the first four games listed, and lost the last three. Clyburn's consistency was called into question more than a few times throughout the year and has to be one of the biggest concerns pro scouts have with his game. That being said, there aren't a lot of guys out there that stand 6'7" and have the ability to put the ball in the hoop in the multitude of ways that Clyburn can.
Will He Be Drafted?
Tough call at this point. Clyburn's name has not been showing up in some of the more recent mock drafts and although this has been labeled a relatively weak draft as far as star-power goes, many NBA pundits are saying that there's quality talent to be found in both rounds to help teams round out their rosters.
If a team takes a chance on Clyburn, it will be toward the end of the second round, but I'm going to guess that he will not hear his name called. Clyburn should have little trouble signing with a team though and could have a chance to make a roster with strong summer and training camp showings.
Clyburn's situation is actually quite comparable to that of Diante Garrett. Neither were on any NBA radars going into their senior seasons, but Fred Hoiberg found ways to feature both and they thrived. In Garrett's case, he was not drafted, but eventually found his way onto the Phoenix Suns' roster where he made several appearances last season. I see a similar trajectory for Clyburn. Spend a year or two in the D-League and then catch on with the right roster and hope to stick. Considering Clyburn was unranked by Rivals coming out of high school, the fact that he's put himself in this position is nothing short of remarkable and he deserves credit for the work he's put in.
It will be pleasant surprise if Clyburn hears his name called Thursday night, but even if he doesn't, he still looks like he has a promising future ahead in professional basketball.
Clyburn Draft Links