UW's Isaiah Thomas staying in NBA draft
The consensus from a handful of evaluators at a predraft combine was that the Washington junior guard would be selected somewhere in the second round of the June 23 draft.
Seattle Times staff reporter
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The deadline to withdraw from the NBA draft expired Sunday hours after Isaiah Thomas worked out for league scouts and executives with 21 other prospects at a combine in New Jersey.
It was his first predraft workout, and the consensus from a handful of evaluators at the Nets' practice facility afterward was that the Washington junior guard would be selected somewhere in the second round of the June 23 draft.
For some, that kind of sobering projection might push them back to school. But not Thomas.
The Huskies star told coach Lorenzo Romar he's staying in the draft, officially ending his three-year UW career.
"When I spoke with Isaiah, in his mind he felt this is what he was ready to do," Romar said Sunday. "He just felt he would show why he'd be worthy of being drafted higher. He has a high level of confidence in what he can get done."
After declaring for the draft March 31, Thomas thought he would be drafted between the middle of the first round and early in the second. Those beliefs now appear to be optimistic.
"Mostly from what I've heard is the second round," Romar said.
That doesn't mean Thomas can't improve his draft stock.
Thomas, who on Sunday teamed with Ohio State sharpshooter Jon Diebler, admitted it's difficult for a point guard to flourish at a combine when playing with new players.
"I just wanted to come in and get other guys that ball," Thomas told reporters in New Jersey. "In this kind of setting, guys just want to shoot and score and impress guys. My job now is to get others the ball."
The 5-foot-9 guard doesn't believe his height will be a problem in the NBA.
"I feel like you can put me against anybody and I'll show you that I'm not (too) small," Thomas said.
He drew mixed reviews from five NBA sources who either attended Sunday's combine or had firsthand accounts of what happened.
"He was fair," said a person familiar with Thomas' workout. "Just in the middle. Only one team requested an interview with him. If it's not too late, I would tell him to go back to school."
Two front-office executives said Thomas projects to come off the board in the 50s. Sixty players will be selected in two rounds of the draft.
Some projections include Washington seniors Matthew Bryan-Amaning and Justin Holiday as second-round picks.
Percy Allen: 206-464-2278 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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