The 2011 NBA Draft is less than 12 hours away and the rumors today are getting more interesting by the minute, but instead of looking at that, it seems pertinent that this gets off my chest while there is still time: I'm not sure Jeremy Tyler is more ready for the NBA than Michael Dunigan.
Both players should be selected somewhere in the first half of the second round in tonight's festivities -- as Draft Express indicates in their most recent mock draft -- so it isn't that important in the long run. However, there seems to be a significant lack of discussion around Dunigan despite the two big men's connection as highly thought of prospects out of high school who've become draft-eligible Americans that played overseas this past season.
In case not everyone followed lower-level overseas basketball this past season, let's catch everyone up.
Dunigan left Oregon last summer to take his talents to Europe (as the cool kids say) and after originally signing to play Hapoel Jerusalem, the former Duck ended up with BC Kalev/Cramo in Estonia to get more playing time according to Jonathan Givony. Tyler, of course, left high school following his junior season before flopping in Israel and ending up playing this past year in Japan's second-best basketball league. Watching the tape, it seems that Dunigan's competition was more impressive, if even just a bit.
Dunigan played a total of 50 games and posted averages of 11.5 points and 7.8 rebounds while making 55 percent of his shot attempts in around 22 minutes per game while Tyler averaged 9.9 points and 6.4 rebounds in just over 15 minutes per contest over the course of 33 games while dealing with foul trouble and free-throw deficiencies (49-of-108 on the season).
Since their respective seasons abroad, both players measured out well at the NBA Combine and have undergone the gauntlet that is NBA pre-draft workouts. I don't have Tyler's schedule available, but Dunigan attended the Minnesota group workout with nearly every NBA team in attendance and then visited the Lakers, Blazers, Warriors, and Grizzlies following a solid performance in Minneapolis. There have also been no reports that Dunigan forgot any coach's names like Tyler's embarrassing incident with Nate McMillan.
As far as I've heard, Tyler has been able to really impress some teams in draft workouts while coming off as a "clown" for other teams whereas Dunigan's being described as a "professional" and has reportedly been quite a bit more mature than front offices had expected.
None of this is to say that either player is a better prospect down the road -- Dunigan is two year's older and not quite as big as Tyler -- but if I were picking a player that I'd feel comfortable with at the end of my bench to contribute this season and stay out of the media, I think I'd have to go with the former Farragut standout.