NBA draft: Arizona Wildcats look elsewhere

2012-06-28T00:00:00Z 2014-07-25T12:06:38Z NBA draft: Arizona Wildcats look elsewhereBruce Pascoe Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
June 28, 2012 12:00 am  • 

For only the second time in the past decade, Arizona is not expected to have a player taken in tonight's NBA draft.

But the upperclassmen who left the Wildcats this spring are already moving toward professional careers somewhere, whether in the NBA, overseas or the D-League.

Already, center Kyryl Natyazhko has signed a contract with Ukrainian club Azovmash Mariupol, and guards Kyle Fogg and Brendon Lavender have been working out for NBA clubs this spring. Forward Jesse Perry is preparing for an overseas career, though he also faces felony domestic violence charges that could affect his future.

Meanwhile, 7-foot center Alex Jacobson is aiming to clear up his perennial back issues in a bid for a foreign contract, and walk-on guard Dondre Wise is aiming to head directly into a coaching career.

Here's how their futures appear as of now:

• Fogg: Having turned from an unheralded high school senior into an all-Pac-12 player last season, Fogg has attracted the most NBA attention among the Wildcats so far. He has auditioned for the Rockets, Raptors, Kings, Clippers and Suns, among others, and is hoping to be invited to a summer-league team if he does not get drafted tonight.

Jonathon Givony, president of Draft Express website, said he didn't think Fogg was a draft prospect but that "he can play in France, Germany, Israel, no problem." Fogg is aware of that path but said he and his agent, Leon Rose of Creative Arts Agency, have higher goals in mind, too. (Rose did not return messages left by the Star.)

"I definitely think I can make a summer-league team; I know I'm good enough," Fogg said. "That's the cool thing with Leon and the CAA - they have a Plan A, a Plan B and a Plan C. One of the things is to play overseas, but the main goal is to be in the NBA. If you go overseas, they want it to be a one-year thing."

• Lavender: After a relatively quiet beginning to his UA career, Lavender hit two key three-pointers against Texas in the 2011 NCAA tournament and kept rolling as a senior last season. He hit 48.7 percent from three-point territory in 2011-12, catching the eye of NBA scouts.

"A lot of teams are watching me," Lavender said. "It's pretty uncommon for guys to have a pure jump shot, so my jump shot is really helping me out right now."

Lavender said he's also been working on fundamentals and other aspects of his game and has worked out in Southern California with former Wildcat Derrick Williams of Minnesota.

Having signed with agent Brian Dyke, Lavender has auditioned for the Clippers, Timberwolves and Hawks and is hoping to be invited to an NBA Summer League team. He may also play in a mid-July showcase for overseas prospects.

• Perry: After spending last season as an undersized but productive center, Perry has overseas potential.

However, his pending case in Pima County Superior Court could complicate his plans. Perry faces three felony domestic violence charges, for which attorney Michael Harwin has filed a motion to review or dismiss, based in part on his argument that Perry and the alleged victim did not have a domestic relationship.

Harwin said he could not comment on the merits of the case but said Perry is at home in the Midwest preparing for the Mike Hart camp, a July showcase of overseas prospects in Las Vegas.

"He's looking forward to his professional career," Harwin said.

• Natyazhko: The Wildcats' Ukrainian big man left early for his home country, signing a two-year deal that includes an option for the club and player in the third year. Natyazhko said via email that Azovmash Mariupol is located 3 1/2 hours from his home in an industrial city.

"It's one of the best clubs in the Eastern Europe," Natyazhko said. "My main goal right now is to show everyone and Europe what I can do on professional level, and we will see what happens after that."

• Jacobson: The 7-footer never made coach Sean Miller's rotation, appearing in just 24 games over the past three seasons in part because of back issues, but his size may still open some eyes this summer.

Jacobson's agent, Steve Moeller, said Jacobson will play next month in the Mike Hart camp, and Jacobson said his back has greatly improved since he began working with local therapist Chip Coleman.

"We're doing a huge overhaul on my whole body," Jacobson said. "It's relearning how to do things."

• Wise: The brother of former UA standout Nic Wise and son of successful high school coach Greg Wise, Dondre is planning to jump straight into college coaching next fall. Dondre Wise said he is mulling offers to join the staffs at either SMU or Marquette as a graduate assistant.


• What: NBA draft

• When: 4:30 p.m.


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Pac-12 basketball standings

  Conference Overall
Utah 6 1 0 0.857 16 3 0 0.842
Arizona 6 1 0 0.857 18 2 0 0.900
Stanford 5 2 0 0.714 14 5 0 0.737
Oregon State 5 2 0 0.714 13 5 0 0.722
Oregon 4 3 0 0.571 14 6 0 0.700
UCLA 3 4 0 0.429 11 9 0 0.550
Colorado 3 4 0 0.429 10 8 0 0.556
Washington 3 4 0 0.429 14 5 0 0.737
Washington State 3 4 0 0.429 9 10 0 0.474
Arizona State 2 5 0 0.286 11 10 0 0.524
California 1 6 0 0.143 11 9 0 0.550
USC 1 6 0 0.143 9 10 0 0.474

AP Top 25

Pac-12 basketball schedule

Teams Date Time
Oregon State at
Arizona State
1/28 6:00 pm
Oregon at
1/28 8:00 pm
Stanford at
1/28 9:00 pm
Colorado at
1/29 7:30 pm
Utah at
1/29 8:00 pm
California at
Washington State
1/29 9:00 pm
Oregon at
Arizona State
1/30 6:00 pm
Oregon State at
1/30 8:00 pm
Stanford at
Washington State
1/31 6:00 pm
Colorado at
1/31 8:30 pm
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