Earlier this season, Cleveland Melvin found himself ousted from DePaul. With his sights set on the future, the forward searched for a place to strut his stuff leading up to this summer's NBA Draft.
As fate would have it, he found a home in the D-League as a member of the Erie BayHawks.
After averaging 16.7 points on 47% from the field in twenty games as a senior, Melvin picked up right where he left off as soon as his feet hit the minor league hardwood. In ten games as a BayHawk, the young gun averaged 11.2 points on 54% from the field to go along with 4.1 rebounds.
On basketball talent alone, Melvin is undoubtedly worth an extra look. He can assert himself physically like a true power forward should be able to, but can also take a step back and display a touch on finesse on offense with a decent-enough mid-range jumper. As such, he keeps defenses honest by switching things up both inside and out.
Whereas the Delaware 87ers' Thanasis Antetokounmpo and the Texas Legends' P.J. Hairston were the lone two minor leaguers to take part in last week's NBA Draft Combine in Chicago, Melvin himself is eligible to be selected as well.
In this day and age where young guns and prospective draftees have the chance to explore professional career opportunities prior to declaring for the NBA Draft, Melvin's most recent experience should be valued highly.
After playing well at DePaul, the young gun displayed an ability to hold his own early on against already present professional and/or current NBA players while in the D-League. In addition to simply holding his own in the minor league (which should be considered an accomplishment in itself at this point in his career), Melvin actually looked somewhat polished for a player his age.
He might not be getting as much exposure as some of his fellow minor league counterparts, but there's no denying that Melvin's progress on the basketball court as of late proves he'd be an intriguing player to take a chance on in next month's rookie draft.
His professional experience should go a long way, as it gives Melvin a leg up on some of the more raw prospects available.