There's a reason why the NBA D-League is such a guard-heavy league. If an NBA team catches wind of a relatively talented bug man strutting his stuff in the minor league, it's not long before they snatch him up and call him up to The Association. Thus, skillful big men don't stay in the D-League too long.
With that in mind, how many capable 6'11", 265 pounders will be available come draft time later this month? The answer is, not many at all. Tyrone McNeal, the center out of UNC Wilmington, should be considered a rarity. The time to jump on him is now, as RidiculousUpside.com has learned he is eligible for the 2015 NBA D-League Draft on October 31st.
Some draft eligible players hoping for a selection are merely looking to play in the D-League so that they can bolster their basketball resumes for a better overseas gig the following season. Because of his size, stature, and skill level, McNeal should immediately (also) be considered a potential NBA call-up candidate as the campaign gets underway, especially for teams looking injury-help following mid-January, when ten-contracts are able to be offered. He's certainly someone who can help out in a pinch, if not also be considered a piece to develop and help grow in the long run as well.
McNeal has drawn comparisons to that of a rugged and physical Kendrick Perkins on the defensive end, which should be considered a compliment on one end of the floor, but not so much on the other. The truth is, with so many other scorers and offensive-minded players already gracing the NBA hardwood, perhaps selling himself as a defensive-minded junkyard dog is the way to go, because it adds the most immediate value.
Still, make no mistake: McNeal also knows how to use his body to muscle up against opposing defenders, get inside, and convert on easy scoring opportunities around the basket. Because the D-League is in fact a smaller league, such physicality should easily give him an edge on the offensive end in the minor league as well. He has an advantage going in.
McNeal went on to prove as much during the RBA Sports' Showcase this past summer, when he matched up quite well against D-League and international vets in front of an abundance of NBA scouts. Click here to read more about that.