Two prospects of local interest saw mixed results during Thursday’s NBA draft as Maryland forward Dez Wells went unselected while Orioles pitching prospected Pat Connaughton was taken in the second round.
Despite going undrafted after a strong senior season in which he averaged 15.1 points per game, Wells is expected to join an NBA summer league team and will be given an opportunity to make a roster. The 6-foot-5, 215-pound Wells lacks the ideal size to play forward and will need to continue developing his perimeter ability to make it as a guard at the NBA level, but his athleticism and competitive drive still figure to attract a potential suitor for summer workouts.
(Update: Wells has agreed to join the Wizards’ summer league roster, according to Comcast SportsNet.)
Connaughton’s story is more intriguing as he was selected by the Brooklyn Nets before his draft rights were sent to the Portland Trailblazers in a deal that also involved former Maryland point guard Steve Blake. After being taken by the Orioles in the fourth round of last year’s MLB amateur draft and reportedly receiving a $428,000 signing bonus, Connaughton appeared set to pursue a career as a top 10 pitching prospect in the organization after completing his senior year playing for the Notre Dame basketball team.
However, Connaughton had a strong season for the Fighting Irish, which left the door open to professional basketball. The 6-foot-5 forward’s draft stock climbed during the scouting combine when he showed off his perimeter shooting and a 44-inch vertical leap, the best of any prospect who participated.
In six appearances for short-season Single-A Aberdeen last season, Connaughton pitched to a 2.51 ERA in 14 1/3 innings.
It remains uncertain if — or when — the Orioles will attempt to recover Connaughton’s bonus money as they continue to hold his baseball rights and could allow him time to see how his potential NBA career plays out in the coming months before taking any action.
In other local news, former Maryland great and Toronto Raptors guard Greivis Vasquez was reportedly traded to the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday.