Decision time for Illini juniors
Weber says NBA feedback is McCamey, Davis wouldn't go in first round
On Thursday, NBA teams will be allowed their first contact with early draft entrants and can begin to set up workouts. Davis and McCamey will have until May 8 to withdraw their names in order to keep their college eligibility.
There is much uncertainty for everyone involved heading into the next two weeks, as it's the first year that the eligibility deadline was moved up from mid-June. Illinois coach Bruce Weber wasn't sure what to expect in the next 10 days.
"I haven't heard anything," Weber said Wednesday. "I've talked to a lot of people. From the conversations I've had with people, a lot of teams aren't going to work out players.
"Some are still in the playoffs, and others are watching the European championships. Some want to wait to see who stays in the draft. It has become a financial issue for some more than it was years ago. That's the feedback I've gotten. It doesn't mean that a few teams won't work out players."
Realistically, Davis and McCamey will have only a few days to entertain workout offers because Illinois will give its final exams next week.
"If they work out, it has to be this weekend," Weber said. "They might be able to work out next Friday, too, if they don't have finals."
Since declaring for the draft two weeks ago, Davis and McCamey haven't been able to do much to prepare themselves for the coming weeks. Both have continued to attend class and participate in team workouts. The only difference has been that they've put more time in the gym.
"It's still pretty much the same," said McCamey, a 6-foot-3 point guard. "It's still pretty normal.
"The opportunity to get workouts with teams is coming up. We'll see how those go. I've been in the gym three times a day, six days a week. You look at the NBA playoffs, and everybody is strong and quick and explosive. You have to be at the top of your game. You have to train harder and do more if you want to be in their spot and take their positions from them."
McCamey, who grew up in Bellwood, Ill., is up for any team working him out, but he would particularly enjoy a chance to do so with the Chicago Bulls.
"I'm definitely a Bulls fan," McCamey said. "Most definitely, especially when they were winning with Mike [Jordan], Scottie [Pippen], Horace Grant and Steve Kerr. It would be good. Knowing that Mike and everyone who has played for them, it would be special."
Davis' favorite team is the Cleveland Cavaliers, but like McCamey, he's just hoping to get an opportunity to show a few NBA teams what he's capable of doing.
"I honestly feel like I could play at the next level," said Davis, a 6-9 forward. "If I can get a workout, I can show what I can do, and they'll be surprised how good I am. I'm not a household name in the country or worldwide. People who follow the Big Ten know my name. It makes me work harder. I want to prove people wrong.
"I think I can do a lot of things. I can do a lot of things people can't do. I can run the floor. I can rebound. I can spread the floor. I can score."
Both players have said they'll stay in the draft only if they're guaranteed to be selected near the first round.
"If they say, 'You're a borderline first- or second-rounder,' I might go ahead with the process and keep my name in," Davis said. "I wouldn't be putting my name in if I couldn't get drafted. If it doesn't work out, it doesn't work out. I'll always be there next year if I don't make it this year. I'll return to school and try to make a Final Four run."
ESPN's NBA draft analysts have predicted Davis and McCamey to go anywhere from the second round to undrafted.
Weber has been in constant contact with the NBA's draft advisory committee and has been told the same. He has explained to his players to listen closely to the committee's recommendations.
"The NBA sees the kids," Weber said. "We had every NBA team at 10 to 15 games of ours. They were at practices of ours. They evaluate these kids. From that, they see what their feelings are of these guys, and they let the advisory members know where they stand. [The NBA] want[s] the kids to go by that. They don't want to work out the kids. They don't want to watch them. I'm telling you what they tell me.
"Right now, they're saying second round or not draftable this year. That's the feedback we've gotten. Those guys will have to make a decision."
Weber would understand both leaving if they were first-round selections. His intention is to do what's best for his players.
"Demetri has a great future ahead of him," Weber said. "I think Mike Davis has a little bit of growing up to do. Him not having a great year has got his attention. They've both had good springs. They have not lost focus for us. We'll see how it unfolds in the next couple days."
Scott Powers covers high school and college sports for ESPNChicago.com and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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