Julyan Stone was the hot topic on quite a few Los Angeles Lakers message boards on Wednesday. It isn't often that a player currently not projected to be selected in most NBA mock drafts lights up the internet, but the rumor that Draft Express heard (and was skeptical about) had plenty of people interested in the 6-foot-7 point guard out of Texas-El Paso.
Stone is certainly a prospect worthy of the intrigue considering the all-around guard averaged 8.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 5.3 assists as a senior while often deferring to his more aggressive Miner teammates, but his agent told Ridiculous Upside Wednesday evening that there's no promise from the Lakers that they will select his client in the upcoming NBA Draft.
"To my recollection there have been no promises made to us," Stone's agent, Giovanni Funicello of GCF Sports Management, wrote in an e-mail to Ridiculous Upside. "There has been however, an enormous amount of interest in Julyan after his performances in his workouts. At this point we will continue to take on all workouts, however, because my philosophy has always been that nothing is done until it's done."
Stone's first "workout" following his four-year college career came at the Portsmouth Invitational, an annual tournament organized for college basketball's senior athletes to showcase themselves, where Stone impressed the scouts in attendance.
"Stone is a player that clearly will be under the radar for most people evaluating his game. He's not a scorer but plays within his skill set and has a very good feel for the game," according to a report from NetScouts. "He sees the court extremely well, rebounds well, and is a very good defender. We believe he's capable of playing point guard and would be a perfect, ideal bench player who can provide a spell for his team's starter and matchup against the opposition's."
Since Portsmouth, Stone has engaged in a whirlwind tour of NBA cities for pre-draft workouts in between training at the IMG Academy in Florida. Funicello has had to deny a couple of teams due to scheduling conflicts, but Stone has run the gamut otherwise over the course of the past month.
Stone has already worked out for the Lakers, Knicks, Heat, Clippers, Warriors, Cavaliers, Bobcats, Wizards, Pistons, Timberwolves and Grizzlies with plans to return to both Detroit and Chicago while also visiting the Kings, Pacers and Bulls before next Thursday's Draft. For those keeping track, that means that Stone will have worked out for half of the NBA in hopes of improving his draft stock.
Not surprisingly, considering that Stone is trying to do as much as he can to improve his draft stock, he and Funicello are doing all they can to prove that the tallest point guard prospect in the Draft can hang with the higher-profile first round prospects.
"Throughout our workout sessions, we've requested to be paired with the players that are projected early in the first round. On some occasions, we've succeeded; and, in others, players have backed out of working out against Julyan," Funicello said. "We want to take on all-comers to show Julyan has nothing to hide. If he is a better player than select him accordingly, but if his competition outperforms him, we're accepting of that as well. Just give him an opportunity to compete against the first round prospects."
It's a bit surprising that Stone would want to work out against first round prospects considering his set of skills doesn't seem to translate well outside of the team game, but that might be exactly the perception he's trying to change.
NBA decision makers should already know, having watched the game-tape available, that Stone's best assets are his ability to be the glue-guy because the NBA-quality traits Stones possesses, at least as it stood while watching his performances at UTEP, are as follows: his ability to find the open man on the drive-and-kick, being a solid defender of multiple positions in the backourt and seemingly relishing the role-playing his potential draft position would necessitate. If he's able to also show more in the group workouts, well, that can only help his cause to be drafted.
Either way, as should be expected, Funicello has high hopes for his client.
"I can't say he isn't moving up on peoples draft boards," Funicello said. "The people that are doing their homework are starting to know who he is and, with my assistance, we have created a tremendous amount of awareness for him."
And, even though it still looks like Stone is fighting just to be selected in the latter half of the second round, he wouldn't have it any other way.
"Julyan will continue to work extremely hard to achieve his childhood dream of playing in the NBA. I have spoken with many NBA personnel and the feeling is he will be on an NBA roster when its all said and done," his agent said. "Being categorized as an undrafted player really has motivated Julyan to prove people wrong and thus far we believe he has done that. We like the underdog role."
And now here's some Youtube viewing for those that have Attention Deficit Disorder or don't like my brilliant prose: