Hit-and-miss pro scouting
As you watch the NCAA tournament, be careful projecting the pro prospects of players. How unscientific a science is NBA scouting? Consider what has happened recently in Florida, where some of the highly touted prospects have disappointed, and several unheralded ones have thrived:
• UM: Three years ago, many scouts thought Darius Rice would be a terrific pro, with James Jones a borderline prospect.
And now? While Jones contributes to the Indiana Pacers, Rice toils in Fort Myers for the NBDL's Dennis Johnson-coached Florida Flame, averaging 10.5 points and shooting 40.2 percent. Undrafted in June, Rice was cut by the Nets in training camp.
One Eastern Conference scout said he doubts Rice ever will play in the NBA. The scout said Rice remains a one-dimensional ``stand still jump shooter.''
• UF: Before his stint with the Gators, Christian Drejer was considered a top prospect, while Udonis Haslem and Matt Bonner were questionable to make the pros.
Fast forward. Drejer, drafted by New Jersey in the second round June, averages just 4.3 points and 1.3 rebounds for a pro team in Barcelona. Meantime, the Heat's Haslem and Toronto's Bonner are headed for big paydays this summer.
• FIU: While Raja Bell and Carlos Arroyo were afterthoughts, scouts drooled when they watched Taurance Johnson three years ago. And now? While Utah's Bell and Detroit's Arroyo thrive, Johnson -- dismissed from the FIU team 13 months ago -- awaits trial in Williamsport, Pa., charged with armed robbery after allegedly breaking into a woman's home and stealing $500 and a cellphone in December. He's out on $15,000 bond. Maximum penalty: 20 years in prison. Also in December, he was charged with possession of marijuana and a loaded firearm.
• Although sophomore Guillermo Diaz said he's returning to UM, several NBA people won't be surprised if he changes his mind. If he came out, he probably would go in the 20s in the first round, two NBA officials said. One scout said UF forward David Lee could crack the first round, but point guard Anthony Roberson would be a second-rounder if he leaves school.
D Rice was on the Nets in Pre season and the Nets hold the rights to Drejer.