NBA

12 Notable Players Who Went Undrafted

A look at 12 notable prospects who didn’t get selected in Thursday’s NBA Draft.

Eric Saar profile picture
Updated 1 year ago on

9 min read

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The 2015 NBA Draft is over, but there are still many prospects who have yet to find a home. Each year, there are a number of pretty decent players who go undrafted and must try to fight their way onto a roster by playing well in summer league and training camp.

Here’s a look at some of the notable players who weren’t selected on Thursday evening:

Christian Wood

Wood, a 19-year-old power forward out of UNLV, was at one point being projected as a first-round pick in credible mock drafts. Throughout the process, his stock had fallen, but he was still expected to be a mid-to-late second-round pick based on his potential. Draft Express still had him listed in their top 50, but he finished the night without his named being called.

At UNLV, Wood scored 15.5 points per game in 32.9 minutes, while grabbing 9.8 rebounds and dishing out a little over one assist per game. Wood was invited to the NBA Combine and it seemed like he was a lock to be picked as recently as one month ago.

Wood is quite slender at 6’11 and weighed in at a mere 216 pounds. But his biggest issue is that he’s very raw and reportedly struggled in workouts for teams. It also didn’t help that there were a number of teams in the second round looking to save money for free agency by going with the draft-and-stash strategy.

After going undrafted, Wood agreed to a partially guaranteed contract with the Houston Rockets. He’ll have to play well this summer in order to make his way onto their roster.

Cliff Alexander

Alexander was one of the top-five high school recruits in the nation last year, and some mock drafts had him listed as a lottery pick around that time. However, after a dreadful one-and-done stint at Kansas, he entered the draft process without much hype.

Still, he was projected to be picked at the tail end of the first round by DraftExpress based on his potential, but he ultimately went unpicked when all was said and done. At 6’9 and 239 pounds with a 7’3 wingspan, it isn’t too hard to see why he was slotted to be a first-rounder, but general managers around the league weren’t impressed.

As a freshman big man at Kansas, Alexander averaged 17.6 minutes, scoring 7.6 points, grabbing 5.3 boards and blocking 1.3 shots while on the floor. Eligibility issues kept him off the court for a chunk of the season.

Alexander is undersized for his position, which scared teams away, but his aggressiveness and tenacity make up for that so it was a surprise to see him go undrafted. His off-court issues are probably to blame for his undrafted status. Alexander has yet to sign with a team for summer league.

Aaron Harrison

While his twin brother Andrew Harrison got picked by the Phoenix Suns at the 44th pick then immediately got traded to Memphis, Aaron didn’t hear his name called on Thursday night.

According to DraftExpress’ mock, Harrison wasn’t projected to be drafted so this wasn’t a huge shock. However, this would have been surprising to hear around this time last year or the year before, when the Harrison twins were being hyped as first-round talents.

The 6’6, 209-pound sophomore shooting guard out of Kentucky averaged 11 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 25.8 minutes as a Wildcat this past season. These numbers don’t really jump off of the page and there were concerns about his skills would translate to the NBA, which is probably why his name wasn’t called.

Harrison will reportedly play summer league with the Charlotte Hornets.

Robert Upshaw

Upshaw’s stock plummeted in the weeks leading up to the draft. Bad stories about his character surfaced and this, coupled with his past substance abuse and heart issue, had some teams remove him from their board completely.

Even with his stock falling, DraftExpress still had him going in the middle of the second round, believing that some team would be willing to take a shot on the big mean who led the nation in blocks before he was dismissed by Washington last season. However, he ended up not getting drafted and instead will play on the L.A. Lakers’ summer league team.

Upshaw is a seven-footer, who weighs in at 258 pounds with 7’5 wingspan. As a center for the Huskies last season, he averaged 10.9 points, 8.2 rebounds and 4.5 blocks in only 24.5 minutes per game.

Unfortunately for Upshaw, the NBA is not entirely about on-court production. He didn’t get drafted due to his off-court issues – both behavior and injury related.

Mohammadou Jaiteh

A 20-year-old French center, Jaiteh is still quite raw, but he had shown flashes. DraftExpress had him slotted to go in the early second round, but his name surprisingly wasn’t called on Thursday evening.

Jaiteh stands at 6’11 and weighs 247 pounds and is an average athlete. In his last season in his French league Nanterre, he averaged 11.3 points, 6.5 rebounds and half a block in 22.5 minutes a game.

Those aren’t amazing numbers, but he is a project anyway, which is probably why he didn’t get selected. It remains to be seen if Jaiteh will sign with a team overseas or if he’ll continue to pursue his NBA dream by joining a summer league squad.

Dez Wells

At 23 years old, Wells is already polished, but that also means the words “upside” and “potential” are rarely used to describe him. He wasn’t “supposed” to be drafted, according to DraftExpress, but he’s still one of the more notable undrafted rookies.

Wells stands at 6’4 and weighs 209 pounds. In his senior year at Maryland, he averaged 15.1 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 2.8 assists in 30.5 minutes for the Terrapins.

His numbers are decent, but the volume and efficiency were not great and his age probably scared off general managers who were thinking about snatching him up. He will play summer league with the Washington Wizards and could end up making it to the league through that route.

Vince Hunter

Hunter, a fringe draftee according to DraftExpress, was not picked either. A 20-year-old power forward who stands at 6’8 and weighs 208 pounds, Hunter is basically the prototypical power forward. As he’s still young, he’ll continue to develop and put on some more weight to be the perfect size in the pros.

As a sophomore at UTEP, Hunter averaged 14.9 points, 9.2 boards, 1.7 assists, 1.2 steals and a block in his 28.5 minutes per game.

While his numbers were pretty good, they weren’t for a premier team and sometimes a player from a smaller school just doesn’t get enough hype to get drafted. Hunter will play summer league for the Philadelphia 76ers, according to our Alex Kennedy.

Jonathan Holmes

Holmes was, at one point, projected as a first-round pick and just before the draft was slotted as an early second-rounder, according to DraftExpress.

Holmes, a 6’9 power forward out of Texas, weighs in at 242 pounds. He has a near seven-foot wingspan. A 22-year-old senior, Holmes averaged 10.3 points, 6.1 rebounds and an assist and a block in his 26.1 minutes in his final year for the Longhorns.

Holmes’ lack of athleticism, older age and mediocre numbers are probably what contributed to him going undrafted. He’s not a very high upside player. In the second round, GMs are usually drafting-and-stashing or looking for a long-term project. Holmes is neither. It remains to be seen which team Holmes will join for summer league.

Michael Frazier

DraftExpress had Frazier going in the early 50s, which is toward the end of the second round. He didn’t get picked at all.

The junior shooting guard out of Florida stands at 6’5 and weighs in 199 pounds. He is chiseled and has good athleticism. He averaged 12.1 points, 4.1 boards, 1.4 assists and 1.2 steals in 29.2 minutes as a Gator, and earned a reputation as one of the better shooters in this draft class.

Frazier was on the bubble so it’s not a huge surprise he didn’t get picked. It may have been a blessing in disguise for him, as our Alex Kennedy reports that he’ll join the Golden State Warriors’ summer league team – a franchise that clearly values shooting.

Quinn Cook

Cook was the veteran leader on the Duke national championship team, but he didn’t get as much hype as his freshmen teammates who went in the first round (Jahlil Okafor, Justise Winslow and Tyus Jones). Cook was a senior for the Blue Devils last year, but couldn’t translate that success to getting drafted. According to DraftExpress, he was just on the outside looking in.

Cook stands at 6’2 and weighs 179 pounds with a decent wingspan and athleticism. Last year, he averaged 15.3 points, 3.4 boards, 2.6 assists and a steal in his 35.8 minutes on the court for coach K.

His age is likely why he didn’t get picked. However, he could end up making an NBA roster with his glue-guy mentality, leadership skills and willingness to embrace a reserve role. Cook will join the Oklahoma City Thunder’s summer league squad, he confirmed to our Alex Kennedy.

Alan Williams

Williams was also on the outside looking in and didn’t get picked. A senior at UC Santa Barbara, Williams stands at an undersized 6’8 for a center and weighs 261 pounds.

In college, he averaged 17.6 points, 12.1 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.8 blocks in his 33.3 minutes out on the court.

His numbers are good, but he played a lot of minutes for a smaller college. That, combined with his lack of size  and athleticism (28.5-inch max vert), is likely why he didn’t get drafted.

T.J. McConnell

McConnell played his final two years at Arizona and, according to DraftExpress, was projected to be drafted at the tail end of the second round. However, at that spot anything can happen and he didn’t get selected.

The veteran point guard stands at 6’2 and weighs 188 pounds. He averaged 10.4 points, 3.8 rebounds, 6.3 assists and 2.2 steals in his 30.5 minutes for the Wildcats.

His age (23 years old) and lack of size played against McConnell and his only okay numbers and athleticism hurt him as well. He may be able to make it onto an NBA roster, he just couldn’t get drafted. He signed a partially guaranteed deal with the Philadelphia Sixers and will suit up for their summer league team.

 

These players are quite talented, even though they didn’t get drafted. It’s possible some will stick with teams and make a name for themselves in this league, despite not hearing their name on Thursday. Only time will tell.

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Based in Arizona, Eric Saar is an analyst for Basketball Insiders. He has covered the league for several years. He loves to converse about the NBA on Twitter, so follow him at @Eric_Saar. Eric graduated with honors from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

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