Men's Basketball, Men's Sports, Sports

Casper Ware preparing for NBA Draft

Casper Ware’s ESPN draft profile describes him as a “super quick scoring guard” who is an “excellent ball handler” with an “unlimited shooting range.” Despite this praise, he is ranked as only the 9th-best point guard and the 68th-best prospect overall.

That low ranking is almost entirely due to his lack of size. At 5’10”, Ware falls well short of the average height of 6’7″ for NBA players. If he were drafted, Ware would be the fourth-shortest player in the entire league.

“People didn’t think I would be successful in college [because of my size],” Ware said. “I’ve always had doubters, but I always just prove that I have the biggest heart out there. That’s how I compete.”

Ware’s heart, talent and hard work have earned him enough recognition to get him on the radar of numerous teams preparing for the NBA Draft. He has worked out for the Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks, New Jersey Nets and many more.

“I’ve shown that I can play at an NBA level; that I have the talent to compete,” Ware said. “My expectation is just to get drafted. I just hope to hear my name called.”

According to Ware, most teams are still figuring out their draft strategies. At this point, he hasn’t received any hints from team executives or front office personnel suggesting where he will land.

The NBA Draft only consists of two rounds, which means that a total of 60 players will be drafted. That is a significantly smaller number than the seven-round, 253-player NFL Draft and the 40-round, 1,238-player MLB Draft.

In other words, competition for an NBA contract is as stiff as it gets.

In order to even get himself into a position to be drafted, Ware has had to compile an outstanding career at Long Beach State. The four-year starter led the 49ers in points per game and assists last season and was named the Big West Men’s Basketball Player of the Year. His efforts also earned him a nomination for the Bob Cousy Award, which is given to the nation’s top collegiate point guard each year. Ware finished as a finalist while North Carolina’s Kendall Marshall took home the hardware.

That being said, awards, accolades and stats from college days hardly translate to pro success. This summer, Ware is on a mission to prove that his stellar play for Long Beach State will continue for whichever NBA team wants him. Unfortunately for him, whether or not he gets drafted at all is still up in the air.

ESPN’s rankings aren’t set in stone draft results, but they do present a general guide to those following along. Ranked at 68th, Ware just barely misses the cut. His 9th-overall ranking among point guards is also discouraging. – 16 point guards were taken in the 2011 draft, which means more than half of all teams are just one year removed from investing in young talent at the position.

Supply is high, but demand is low. Anybody who has taken economics knows that this is not an ideal combination.

The good news for Ware is, by the time the late second round rolls around, teams are more likely to look past an issue such as height and go for a promising player with some good upside. Such an example can be found in last year’s draft, when the Sacramento Kings used the 60th pick to take Isaiah Thomas, a 5’9″ point guard out of Washington.

Thomas ended up claiming a starting role and finished with the fourth-highest points-per-game total on the team. His success is recent proof that short players, despite their undeniable disadvantage, can still be effective in the NBA.

In the end, Ware’s draft hopes hinge on his performances at his workouts. If NBA scouts believe what he believes, then he will become the first Long Beach State alumnus to be drafted since 1998.

“I think I’ve shown that I belong and that I can hold my own in this league,” Ware said.

Anyone who saw him play at Walter Pyramid last year can certainly take his word for it.

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