NORMAN — When Willie Warren, Tiny Gallon and Tommy Mason-Griffin decided to enter this year’s NBA Draft, reactions varied. Some saw potential in the trio of Oklahoma underclassmen. Others were in disbelief that players who led the Sooners to a 13-18 season could think they were ready to be professionals.
The answers will come when the NBA Draft is held tonight in New York.
OU coach Jeff Capel said NBA officials had been telling him both Warren and Gallon were likely late first-round to early second-round picks.
“These two guys will get drafted,” Capel said.
ESPN.com draft analyst Chad Ford lists Gallon and Warren as early second-round picks in his mock draft released Tuesday. He has Gallon going to the New Jersey Nets with the 31st overall pick. Ford believes Warren would be a “steal” for the Los Angeles Lakers at No. 43.
ESPN college basketball analyst Fran Fraschilla has a hard time believing that is the case. He believes both made major mistakes leaving OU after last season.
Warren entered last season as a projected lottery pick, but a lackluster season and an ankle injury lowered his stock. Questions about his attitude also dogged the guard.
“He’s probably the most disappointing guy in this draft because of where I thought his potential was,” Fraschllia said of Warren. “Not only did the attitude issues surface, but he also had some inherent weaknesses in his game. He cannot go left. He proved to be a very streaky shooter, understanding that he took a lot of tough shots for his team. Then he got injured at the end of the year. “
By all accounts Warren had an impressive showing in the NBA’s pre-draft camp in Chicago last month, but he’s been slowed by a back injury as of late.