On Tuesday, the Erie BayHawks announced that they had waived Chris Smith, brother of Knicks' swingman J.R. Smith.
As it just so happens, Smith's roster spot won't go unoccupied for all too long. According to a source, RidiculousUpside.com has learned that Erie has claimed former DePaul star Cleveland Melvin from the D-League Player Pool.
Despite leaving DePaul earlier this year, Melvin had only continued to build on what was an impressive collegiate career through 20 games this season as well. En route to averaging 16.7 points per contest, the forward had emerged as a long-range shooting threat, able to help his team spread the floor. He was shooting a career-high 47% from downtown, and was swatting away 1.6 blocks per game --- also a career high.
With good range on offense for a player his size, and long arms to help him pester opponents defensively, Melvin is an intriguing prospect to keep an eye on in the months to come. He's versatile enough and has the tools necessary to not only play the three in The Association, but perhaps also emerge as a stretch forward, too.
The 22 year old will be eligible for the NBA Draft this coming June, but will first hit the minor league hardwood as a way of strutting his stuff and proving what he can do against professional players, all the while also aiming to up his draft stock in the weeks and months to come. Melvin joins the likes of Delaware's Thanasis Antetokounmpo and the Legends' P.J. Hairston, as young guns in the D-League poised to enter the NBA Draft later this year.
Last summer, Glen Rice Jr. was a second round draft choice of the Washington Wizards following an NBADL championship win with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.
Melvin is among DePaul's all-time leaders in scoring, scoring average, rebounding, field goals, blocked shots and free throws. He was also the 2011 Big East Rookie of the Year. Needless to say, his arrival to the D-League only further cements the minor league as a respectable destination for those youngsters who wish to get a head start on getting their names out there (even more) prior to the NBA Draft.