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If Flemings improves his outside shot, he’ll have an outside shot

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Paul George. Luke Babbitt. Armon Johnson. Today’s two-round NBA Draft in Madison Square Garden, New York, is shaping up to be a big one for Western Athletic Conference individual talent.

Roderick Flemings:
Hawaii swingman’s agent
has emphasized his over-
looked perimeter game
to NBA scouts

George of Fresno State and Babbitt of Nevada are expected to be top-15 picks. The Wolf Pack’s Johnson could go late first round or early second round.

But where does Hawaii swingman Roderick Flemings figure to go after all 60 selections are made?

Well, back to the drawing board … unless the unexpected happens and Flemings – a 16.6 points-per-game scorer in two years at UH – is made a late second-round pick.

You won’t find Flemings’ name on any draft projection list. He’s far enough off the radar that his agent, Michael Hart, is already candid about the need for a strong showing in the NBA Summer League starting July 9.

"I would say outside shot," Hart said of Flemings’ hopes of a late selection today. "I think that’s possible, but more likely he’s going to be an undrafted free agent. Sometimes that can work out to your benefit where we can kind of analyze what the summer league situation is in terms of his chances to make a team, in terms of them having open (roster) spots."

The 6-foot-7, 220-pound Flemings is in Las Vegas, where he’s trained with some fellow NBA hopefuls and current NBA players since graduating in May. He’ll take in the draft remotely, while his family will watch from his native Dallas.

Flemings’ strengths remain his freakish athleticism and ability to play multiple positions, though Hart has emphasized Flemings’ perimeter game to scouts to increase his appeal as a wing player as opposed to the scrappy post player he was mostly known as at UH.

He never really found his outside stroke during his time as a Rainbow Warrior – he shot 31 percent on 3-pointers as a junior and 24 percent as a senior – but Hart thinks that’s an underrated aspect of his game.

Flemings was solid in April at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament for top-rated seniors, shooting a tourney-best 77.3 percent from the field. Hart said that was the first time he was seen by many teams; he was "behind the curve" from George, Babbitt and other WAC players because UH (with its abysmal 10-20 season) missed out on the league tournament and the many scouts positioned there.

Still, he got a workout with the Milwaukee Bucks on June 3, his only official session with an NBA team.

Hart thought the workout went "well." The Bucks recently swung trades for additional picks and now have three in the second round.

Does that help Flemings’ chances?

"You never know, I don’t want to speculate," Hart said. "Who knows? But it certainly can’t hurt."

Flemings’ focus remains squarely on the NBA, but he has options elsewhere to fulfill his dream of playing professionally.

"(The NBA is) Plan A, and Plan B is, there’s been significant interest in some of the European teams that are showing interest in him," Hart said. "But for right now, for July, the focus is on the NBA. From there, you do what you have to do to keep pursuing that goal."

 

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