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NBA draft sleepers


June 27, 2006

When down this year's NBA draft, there are a lot of talented players available. I feel there are not that many immediate impact players.

In analyzing the landscape, there are a handful of sleepers in this draft. My idea of a sleeper is a player who won't go in the top 15 but will still make it and eventually contribute.

Here is my All-Sleeper team for this week's draft:

I start with Steve Novak of Marquette. He has a great combination of size and shooting range. Here's a guy who shot almost 47 percent from three-point range for Tom Crean's squad last season. He is also Mr. Automatic on the foul line, hitting 74-of-76 as a senior (97.4 pct.). He will be an asset at the next level, capable of providing a spark with his shooting touch.

Boston College's Craig Smith has been bothered by a damaged ligament in his wrist suffered in the NCAA tournament loss to Villanova. At 6-7, some people say he is a tweener but I will tell you, this kid can flat out play. He is a winner and he makes his teammates around him better. He can be an inside-outside guy who can make a roster and compete as a second rounder.

Dee Brown of Illinois is a leader who can play the point at the next level. He can distribute the rock and fit in as a pro. He led the Illini to the Final Four in 2005 and his speed and energy makes him a positive pick in this draft.

Arizona's Hassan Adams is a high riser who can be an exciting player in the NBA. He can come up with an electrifying dunk and make aggressive plays on defense. His leaping ability makes him a potential second-round choice.

James White of Cincinnati is a versatile player at 6-7, potentially seeing time at guard or forward. His athleticism and quickness are positives. He can defend on the perimeter and has worked on his ballhandling.

There it is, my All-Sleeper team. All five of my sleeper picks went in the second round on draft night.

Dick Vitale coached the Pistons and the University of Detroit before broadcasting ESPN's first college basketball game in 1979. Send a question for Vitale for possible use on ESPNEWS.

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