Dalen Terry jumped into the NBA Draft pool amid expectations he would probably return to Arizona, but now the Wildcats’ wing may actually have a decision to make.
Despite not participating in 5-on-5 games nor shooting drills at the NBA Combine last week in Chicago, Terry’s draft stock appeared to rise. He did take part in body measurements, interviews with teams and a “pro day” put together by Excel agents.
“Terry is quickly emerging as a potential top-20 pick now that teams have had the opportunity to sit down with the charismatic, high-energy 19-year-old to learn more about him,” ESPN’s Mike Schmitz wrote. “League executives we spoke with consistently raved about Terry’s interviews, citing his competitiveness, feel for the game and engaging personality.”
None of that probably comes as a surprise to those who watched Terry perform with the Wildcats last season, when he was a complementary scoring threat, defended a variety of top opponents, dished out artful passes and lit up McKale Center with his grins.
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But while NBA teams had a chance to sit down with Terry last week, they also noticed his unusual length and size for a guard.
Terry tied for first among guards in standing reach (8 feet, 10 inches) and tied for second among guards in wingspan (7 feet, 0.75 inches). Terry and Australia’s Dyson Daniels were also tied for second among guards in height without shoes (6-6).
The Athletic noted that Terry measured “outstandingly with a 6-foot-7 height in shoes and a near-7-foot-1 wingspan that will give teams hope on his developmental pathway as a bigger guard that can slide down to the wing.”
While “pro days” often feature players operating alone, making true evaluation difficult, 247Sports.com‘s Adam Finkelstein wrote that Terry shot well during the Excel workout.
“His work ethic was a frequent topic of conversation, both in the stands and among the media, but the other thing that came through was the edge of his competitiveness,” Finkelstein wrote. “He’s one of the more intriguing upside talents for teams drafting in the twenties, but also has a very solid Arizona team waiting for him to return as its headliner and make another potential run.”
Multiple national reports suggest Terry is now at least in the conversation for a first-round pick, and Terry has indicated he would stay in the draft if he were assured of being one. First-round picks receive guaranteed two-year contracts worth at least $4 million.
“I owe it to myself to at least see what I can do,” Terry said during his NBA Combine media interview, “and if I can sneak in there this year and be a sleeper and be a first-rounder then that’s what I’ m going to do.”
USA Today’s post-Combine mock NBA Draft put Terry toward the end of the first round at No. 28, between UA teammates Bennedict Mathurin (11) and Christian Koloko (49), while NBA analyst John Hollinger wrote in the Athletic just before the Combine that Terry was No. 18 in his ranking of the 20 draft prospects.
“Here’s a name you maybe weren’t expecting,” Hollinger wrote. “Terry is still on the fence about whether to stay in the draft, but I have him rated as a first-rounder if he stays because of his ability to handle the ball, defend multiple positions and … hopefully … shoot?”
Terry did not participate in the NBA Combine shooting drills after shooting 36.4% from 3-point range and 57.2% from 2 last season. Terry averaged just 8.0 points a game, a secondary scoring option on a team with Mathurin, Koloko and power forward Azolas Tubelis.
“He’ll need to be a more persistent perimeter threat as a pro,” Hollinger wrote of Terry. “The good news is that tall wings who can handle the ball and defend almost always find themselves in an NBA rotation, even if they aren’t high-wire athletes or electrifying scorers.
“Terry operated as Arizona’s de facto point guard this year, handing out nearly three assists for every turnover, while on the defensive end he ripped 2.5 steals per 100 possessions. One would have liked to see him play a more prominent and aggressive scoring role; between Mathurin and Arizona’s two quality big men, at times one could forget Terry was on the floor.”
Schmitz noted that Terry “won’t be drafted as a go-to scorer,” but that his physical tools, defensive versatility and passing ability would help him gain attention — possibly even for lottery consideration.
If talk gets that heated up, Arizona will be losing three players, not just two, to the NBA Draft. But if not, if Terry isn’t assured of warranting a first-round pick, Terry indicated he’ll go back to UA and coach Tommy Lloyd.
“I mean I’ve got to June 1st, right?” Terry said, referring to the NCAA deadline for players to withdraw from the Draft if they want to return to college basketball. “So, I’m going to wait until the 11th hour and we’re going to figure it out.”
UA pursuing Kentucky transfer
If Terry leaves, a bigger opportunity at forward could help the Wildcats in its pursuit of Kentucky transfer Keion Brooks.
Brooks withrew from the NBA Draft on Monday. Also reportedly interested in Washington and Notre Dame, Brooks averaged 10.8 points and 4.4 rebounds for Kentucky last season. He shot 23.3% from 3-point range and 52.2% from 2nd
Having already played three seasons for UK, Brooks acknowledged in a Lexington Herald-Leader interview that playing a fourth at a program known for one-and-dones might carry a stigma.
“People probably do view it that way,” he said. “That’s not for me to be concerned with. My journey is different from anybody else’s.”
Abogidi visits UA
Washington State transfer Efe Abogidi has now visited Arizona and Maryland, according to Spokane’s KREM-TV, but is still considering a return to the Cougars.
“They’re pushing real hard. They feel like this is the right place for me,” Abogidi told KREM-TV of WSU. “Pullman is obviously the place I’ve been for two years. I know the coach (Kyle Smith), I love the coach, I love the people here. Although it’s a small town, it’s a lovely place to be. Everybody knows you. Everybody loves you here. All of that is something to think about.”
Also testing the NBA Draft waters, Abogidi has worked out for the Bucks and Kings, according to KREM-TV. He also has potential visits to the Clippers and Blazers, the station said.
Contact sports reporter Bruce Pascoe at 573-4146 firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @brucepascoe