I am not in any way a fan of the NBA. I much prefer college hoops. Teams play defense in college. Teams run offensive sets in college. Teams actually exist in college; some pro teams sometimes seems like there’s only one player on the court.
As such, I do not enjoy talking about the NBA, but Iowa State is sending a very promising player to the NBA, and that is Melvin Ejim. Ejim, in my opinion, has the skillset and work ethic to make an impact on the team smart enough to take a chance on him in the NBA Draft.
Allow me to preface that by saying DeAndre Kane has the ball control and shooting ability to have some success in the pros, I don’t think NBA teams are going to have the courage or intelligence to pick him up. His age is of concern to them and his history at Marshall, but I don’t think that’s fair to Kane. He was a tremendous leader at Iowa State, making clutch shots late in the Cyclones’ NCAA Tournament run. It’ll be a shame if Kane doesn’t get a chance, but it’s more of a shame if Ejim gets snubbed.
Ejim is listed at 6-foot-6 and 220 pounds, so right off the bat scouts talk about how he is undersized for a power forward, which was what he served as at Iowa State. He has the shooting ability of a small forward, though, and creates good shooting opportunities, especially down low. Ejim can hit from anywhere on the court, and he sports great athleticism for a forward. Scouts like his post moves and how he can finish through contact, and I was always impressed by his instincts down low. He had a nose for the rebound, and I think NBA teams could learn to love his ability to create second chance points off the offensive glass. But perhaps how he fits in the NBA best is his transition game and high-flying ability. Ejim is a solid end-to-end sprinter and seemingly has coils in his legs that propel him in the air for exciting and thunderous alley-oop dunks.
I will concede that Ejim’s size and limited ball handling ability make him a man without a true NBA position, but the skills and potential he does have make him a viable draft candidate for an NBA team. He may end up being one of the last picks in the draft, and I believe whoever takes a chance on him will be rewarded.