Locally, a starting 5 of hope Hopkins, Bright lead list of NBA wanna-bes

June 26, 1996|By Jerry Bembry | Jerry Bembry,SUN STAFF

From the time his basketball season at Massachusetts ended, Donta Bright has been in the weight room increasing his strength. Bernard Hopkins, after ending his year at Virginia Commonwealth, has been in the gym continuously shooting 15-foot shots. And Michael Lloyd, a season removed from Syracuse, has been trying to regain the aggressiveness that made him one of the top Big East prospects.

The goal was to get ready for tonight, draft night for the NBA. And when the two-round selection process begins, there will be 11 players with area ties hopeful of having their name called.

Five of those players represent Baltimore and Baltimore County: Kwame Evans (Southern), a two-time All-Atlantic 10 pick, averaged 14.6 points in his four-year career at George Washington.

Lloyd (Dunbar), who left Syracuse following the 1994-95 season after an NCAA investigation into correspondence credits obtained by junior college players.

Bright (Dunbar), who averaged 14.5 points in helping Massachusetts advance to the Final Four for the first time in school history.

Hopkins (Overlea), who was the Colonial Athletic Association Player of the Year at Virginia Commonwealth.

Kevin Simpson (Southern), who was a surprise entry in the draft after two years at Dixie Community College in Utah.

All but Evans participated in the pre-draft camp in Chicago. Lloyd, playing on a team with Simpson, showed some rust from sitting out a year.

Hopkins, a 6-foot-7, 240-pound forward, began opening eyes when he was named the Most Valuable Player of the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament. He averaged 19.0 points and 9.7 rebounds in the tournament, where he was inspired after learning on the day of the championship game that his father had died of cancer.

"I had to try to stay focused," Hopkins said of playing in that final game at Portsmouth. "I have a dream and the dream is to go to the NBA. My goal was to be one of the top players at the camp, and I just wanted to go out and do that."

Bright, according to the 1996 Don Leventhal NBA Draft report, came out of the Chicago camp ranked 43rd of the players eligible for the draft. A forward in college, Bright's size (6-6) could hinder his chances of being drafted.

Simpson, a relative unknown after two years in junior college, managed an invitation to the Chicago camp and improved his stock while demonstrating an ability to score off the dribble.

Leventhal's report has Simpson ranked 44th, and the 6-4 guard already has had workouts with the New York Knicks and Cleveland Cavaliers.

"I just wanted the chance to show what I could do," said Simpson, after a 24-point outing in Chicago. "This was good to play in front of all the [league scouts and general managers]."

Four players from the University of Maryland are eligible for the draft -- Johnny Rhodes, Exree Hipp, Mario Lucas and Duane Simpkins.

Rhodes, who averaged 16.7 points for the Terrapins last season, probably has the only real chance of being selected, although his case wasn't helped much when he wasn't invited to the pre-draft camp in Chicago.

Two other players with state ties also are in the draft. Jerome Williams (Magruder High School, Germantown) completed two solid seasons at Georgetown and is expected to be selected in the first round.

And Randy Edney, a 7-foot, 310-pound center who played two years at Mount St. Mary's, is an early-entry candidate. He averaged 7.9 points and 7.4 rebounds last season, but is unlikely to be drafted.

Jerry Bembry's mock draft

No. .. ..Team .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..Pick

1. .. .Philadelphia.. .. .. .. ..Allen Iverson, G,

.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .Georgetown

2. .. .Toronto .. .. .. .. ... Shareef Abdur Rahim,

.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ...C/F/ Cal

3. .. .Vancouver .. .. .. .. ..Stephon Marbury, G,

.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..Georgia Tech

4. .. .Milwaukee .. .. .. .. .. ..Marcus Camby, F,

.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .Massachusetts

5. .. .Minnesota .. .. .. .. ...Antoine Walker, F,

.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ...Kentucky

6. .. .Boston .. .. .. .. .. .. .Erick Dampier, C,

.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ...Mississippi State

7. .. .Los Angeles .. .. .. .. .. ...Ray Allen, G,

.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ...Connecticut

8. .. .New Jersey .. .. .. .. .. .John Wallace, F,

.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ...Syracuse

9. .. .Dallas .. .. .. .. .. ..Lorenzen Wright, F,

.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ....Memphis

10. ...Indiana .. .. .. .. .. ...Kerry Kittles, G,

.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..Villanova

11. .. Golden State .. .. .. .. .. .Steve Nash, G,

.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ...Santa Clara

12. .. Cleveland .. .. .. .. .. .. Todd Fuller, C,

.... .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .North Carolina State

13. ...Charlotte .. .. .. .. .Efthimis Retzias, c,

.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..Greece

14. ...Sacramento .. .. .. .. Vitaly Potepenko, F, .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..Wright State

15. ...Phoenix .. .. .. .. .Zydrunas Ilgauskas, C,

.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..Lithuania

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