Just wait until the interviews. That’s the thought process for coach Tony Bennett when it comes to Virginia standout Malcolm Brogdon.
Brogdon, who steadily improved his NBA prospects throughout his senior season, has two more months to make further impressions on those teams’ decision makers. During that time frame, teams will work out and interview players as they try to compile as much information and details as possible. That part of the process bodes well for the UVA star in coach Bennett’s mind.
“Once he talks to them, I think his stock goes up immediately once you sit down and visit with Malcolm,” Bennett said. “He’s got a lot of things going for him.”
Indeed he does.
Off the court, Brogdon lives on the Range at the University of Virginia, a space earmarked for only the most qualified of applicants when it comes to academics and other contributions to the school. He continues to work on a Master’s Degree in public policy at the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy. His non-hoops dreams include making an impact on world hunger and poverty, something sparked by a family trip to Africa when he was younger.
From a basketball perspective, Brogdon ended up with more than 1,800 points (1,809), 500 rebounds (563), 300 assists (335), and 100 steals (117) in his Cavalier career. He’s the school record holder for career free throw shooting percentage at 87.6%. He led the team in scoring for three straight seasons, culminating in this year’s career high of 18.2 points per game. Plus, Brogdon has been a key figure in 89 wins over the last three years
All of that helped Brogdon earn first-team All-ACC honors three times. He earned consensus All-American status as a senior, joining legend Ralph Sampson as the only players in school history to reach that level. Brogdon was also named the ACC Defensive Player of the Year (media and coaches) and the NABC (National Association of Basketball Coaches) National Defensive Player of the Year as well.
Over the course of his senior season, he defended everything from point guards to power forwards and scored at least 20 points 18 times.
Bennett thinks this year’s draft class presents NBA teams with an opportunity to select some accomplished seniors. When it comes to his own player, the Cavalier coach is confident that Brogdon’s play will catch the eye of someone in the draft.
“How can you not when you see what he did from a defensive standpoint and that versatility and the fact that he just wins?” Bennett said. “He showed so many strengths. It will always come down to what a team needs, the right fit, but this year’s draft is interesting for player personnel guys in the NBA – in years past you’re betting on the upside and the talent and you have to wait for it, but there’s a number of players that really developed in their senior year from [Denzel] Valentine, [Buddy] Hield, Brice Johson, and of course Malcolm, some guys that are seniors or upper classmen that can come in and possibly help. It’s a unique draft in that way. … Teams that are trying to get help earlier [rather] than later … for Malcolm’s sake is a positive.”
As can be expected, mock drafts have Brogdon, who has been doing some workout preparations with Combine Basketball in Charlotte, everywhere from a late first round pick to a late second round pick. His highest projections come from SI.com (23rd), who also tabbed him a sleeper pick from an NCAA Tournament team and Bleacher Report (24th). CBS writer Sam Vecenie placed him 29th, draftexpress.com projects him 38th, and nbadraft.net has him 52nd.
The actual NBA Draft is set for Thursday, June 23.