Syracuse, NY — Buddy Boeheim will be in New York City on Thursday, but he won’t be at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn for the NBA draft.
Boeheim and his family — Jim, Juli and older brother Jimmy — will settle into a restaurant in Manhattan and spend draft night there. They’ll have a private room. A few other clients of the Roc Nation agency will be there, too.
“We’ll see how it goes,” Buddy Boeheim said in a phone interview last Saturday.
If the mock drafts and prognosticators are right, Buddy Boeheim will not be drafted on Thursday.
There’s a chance he could hear his name called. He has worked out for 13 different NBA teams in the weeks preceding the draft.
But whether he goes in the second round or becomes an undrafted free agent when the draft ends, Buddy Boeheim knows his immediate future will be a chance to play in the NBA’s summer league. And that’s all he wants: a chance.
“Even if I was a sure-thing, I wouldn’t change the approach,” Buddy Boeheim said. “I just want to have a chance and I’ll have that whether I’m drafted or not. I’ll have a chance to play in summer league.
“The draft isn’t the most important thing. It would be a tremendous honor if some team did decide to take me, but I’m focused on controlling what I can control.”
Boeheim will eventually get that chance, and it’ll be more than a Lloyd Christmas pipe dream.
That’s because Boeheim possesses the hottest commodity in the NBA right now, a shooting stroke that made him one of the top 3-point shooting threats in the country last season.
Boeheim led the ACC in scoring at 19.2 points per game last year. More importantly, he made 88 3-pointers, a rate of 2.75 per game that ranked second in the ACC. He finished his career with 309 made 3-pointers, second only to Gerry McNamara’s school record of 400. For his career, Boeheim made 36.2% of his 3-point attempts, all while being the focal point of opposing defenses as a junior and senior .
Thus, his travel itinerary filled up with NBA teams wanting to see him work out at their facility. The list includes the Clippers, the Knicks, Portland, Golden State, Orlando, Miami and more.
Ironically, the workouts have given Boeheim a chance to show NBA teams parts of his game beyond his ability to shoot the ball.
“I think most of it is not really around shooting,” he said. “I have four years of footage of taking and making tough shots. Obviously, you want to go in and shoot the crap out of the ball, but I’ve had a few where you miss a few shots.
“I’ve tried to show I’ve gotten quicker and gotten stronger. I’ve added some muscle since the end of the season. I’m more than a shooter. I can make the right play. I can guard and do other things.”
In many cities, Boeheim has found a friendly face.
In Orlando, he saw former Syracuse guard Michael Carter-Williams and chatted for about 10 minutes. In Portland, former SU strength coach Todd Forcier ran the conditioning tests.
Former Syracuse forward Wes Johnson, who is now in player development for the Clippers, ran the workout there.
During Boeheim’s stay in Los Angeles, he got a break from living in hotels and spent the weekend at the home of SU walk-ons Ky and Shane Feldman.
“It’s been pretty awesome,” Boeheim said.
Two people he hasn’t seen on the road are former teammates Jimmy Boeheim and Cole Swider. The NBA teams try to avoid bringing in players who might be familiar with each other to the same workout as it could give them an edge over the other prospects.
“Two times I went to a city right before or right after Jimmy was there,” Buddy said. “We’ll text each other after a workout and ask what it was like.”
Buddy and Jimmy are still sharing an apartment in New York City, where they’ve been since the season ended. But over the past three weeks, they’ve rarely been there at the same time.
“I think we’ve both been here maybe one or two nights together,” Buddy said. “This is my first day back in a week or so. I’ll get a night or two here and a chance to reset. He’s been traveling this past week.”
The brothers will definitely be together Thursday night in Manhattan while the top draft picks dress up in fancy suits to attend the draft proceedings in Brooklyn.
Eventually, Buddy will join those draft picks at the NBA summer league in Las Vegas.
“I’ll get my chance and then it’s just a matter of taking advantage of that chance,” he said. “So far, the feedback’s been good. I think I can help a team with what I bring.”
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