In their final day of preparation before Thursday night’s NBA draft, the Sixers worked out six college seniors Wednesday morning at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.
The final group to workout included Temple's Quenton DeCosey, North Carolina's Brice Johnson, Syracuse's Trevor Cooney, Gonzaga's Kyle Wiltjer, Alabama's Devonta Pollard and Louisiana Tech's Alex Hamilton
DeCosey, Temple's floor general and leading scorer last season, is the second Owl to workout with the with the Sixers. Forward Jaylen Bond, a Philadelphia native, worked out in May.
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Sixers vice president of player personnel Marc Eversley was impressed with what he saw out of DeCosey.
“He’s a really hard worker, and he makes shots," Eversley said. "He definitely has a shot [in the NBA].”
While the Sixers thought highly enough of DeCosey to invite him for the workout, it’s unlikely the 6-5, 205 pound guard will be drafted, a reality DeCosey acknowledges.
“I don’t have any expectations for tomorrow night,” he said. “I’m just hoping for the best.”
Following a disappointing junior year, DeCosey stepped up and led the Owls to the NCAA Tournament last season, posting 15.9 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game. He scored 26 points in his final college game during the first round of the tournament against Iowa and nailed three clutch free throws with two seconds to left to send the game into overtime, where Temple ultimately lost on a buzzer-beater putback.
Like Tyler Ulis, who worked out with the Sixers on Tuesday (see story), DeCosey admired Allen Iverson: “I was a Nets fan growing up,” said the Union, New Jersey native, “but I always liked Philly, especially when they had A.I.”
DeCosey, however, knows he’ll probably never rise to Iverson’s level of stardom; the best-case scenario for him is a spot on an NBA roster.
Johnson, a power forward who scored 14 points and grabbed eight rebounds in Carolina's National Championship Game loss to Villanova, was the only projected possible first-round pick among the group the worked out Wednesday. His best quality is incredible athleticism, which every talent evaluator admires.
Eversley had high praise for Johnson.
“Talk about an elite athlete," Eversley said. "He obviously comes from an elite program. He has extreme quickness, and he can stretch the floor a little bit too.”
During 3-on-3 games in Wednesday's workout, Johnson was usually matched up against Wiltjer, who was impressed by Johnson’s game.
“He’s a talented player, very athletic, a high-energy guy,” Wiltjer said.
A four-year college player, Johnson improved each year at UNC, earning first-team All-American honors while averaging 17.0 points, 10.4 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in only 28 minutes per game his senior season. He shot 61.4 percent from the field, efficiently converting from mid-range and off rebound putbacks, and 78.3 percent from the foul line. Johnson excelled in UNC’s fast-paced offense, which he believes could help him if he’s selected by the Sixers.
“I think I’d fit well with the Sixers,” Johnson said. “I know they like to run up and down, and we did that a bunch in college.”
Though he wasn’t among the 19 players invited to the green room, Johnson will be in Brooklyn at the draft, surrounded by family, close friends and his agent, Christian Dawkins. After a long couple months jetting around the country for workouts, Johnson is ready to hear his name called.
“It’s been a grind,” he said. “I’m kind of excited that it’s over.”
• Wiltjer said he has gotten advice on NBA preparation from the Celtics’ Kelly Olynyk, his former teammate at Gonzaga, as well as from Sixers big man Nerlens Noel. Wiltjer played his sophomore season with Noel at Kentucky, then transferred to Gonzaga the next season. According to Wiltjer, Noel said, “He loves Philly, and he’s living the dream.”
• Cooney still has a strong relationship with the Sixers’ Jerami Grant, who shared the court with Cooney during his two years at the school. Cooney said of Grant, “That’s my guy. He’s one of my good friends. Obviously a talented player, and he’s a great dude.”
• Hamilton and Pollard both noted the “good connection” they felt with the Sixers staff. Pollard overcame difficult personal circumstances the last several years and spent time at Alabama and East Mississippi Community College before finishing his college career at Houston. Hamilton, who averaged 19.8 points and 6.2 assists per game, is determined to prove to NBA teams that he can compete against players from more renowned programs.