MINNEAPOLIS – On Tuesday, the Timberwolves will hold a group workout session for six potential draft picks: forwards Drew Gordon (New Mexico), Draymond Green (Michigan State), Herb Pope (Seton Hall) and Royce White (Iowa State) and guards Reggie Hamilton (Oakland University) and Jordan Taylor (Wisconsin).
The session will be the third six-person group the team has worked out. It hosted two groups (and representatives from nearly all of the NBA’s teams) on May 31 and June 1. Most of the players who attended the first two sessions are projected as second-round picks, some of whom might even go undrafted. Gordon was present at the May 31 session.
Only one of Tuesday’s participants is widely regarded as a first-round pick: White. The Iowa State forward could be picked toward the later end of the first round and will likely be available when the Timberwolves pick 18th.
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White, a Minneapolis native, attended DeLaSalle High School for three years before transferring to Hopkins High School for his senior year. As a freshman, White’s team won the Minnesota 3A state basketball championship, and as a senior he won again, this time in 4A at Hopkins. He went on to sign to play at the University of Minnesota, where he never played due to discipline issues and suspensions.
In 2010, White transferred to Iowa State, where he had to sit out a season due to NCAA rules. This past season, 2011-12, was his first opportunity to play – though he did practice with the Gophers under the terms of his suspension – and he helped lead coach Fred Hoiberg’s Cyclones to their first NCAA tournament berth since 2005.
In his one season at Iowa State, White was a unanimous selection to the Big 12 All-Rookie Team. He was also named to the All-Big 12 First Team after averaging 13.4 points and 9.3 rebounds, leading the Cyclones in both categories.
At the NBA draft combine last Thursday and Friday, White expressed a desire to play for the Timberwolves, his hometown team. In Chicago, he also posted a height of 6′ 8” in shoes and weighed in at 261 lbs., with 10.6 percent body fat and a 7′ 0” wingspan.
Along with White, Gordon, Green and Taylor were also present at last week’s combine. Taylor, also a Minneapolis native, was a last-minute invite, but attending may not have helped his stock much. He was the second-shortest player present, a fringe second-round pick despite being a second-team All American his junior year at Wisconsin. This season, Taylor’s numbers faltered; after averaging 18.1 points and 4.7 assists in 2010-11, he averaged 14.8 and 4.1, respectively, in his senior year.
Both Gordon and Green are projected to be early second-round picks. Gordon averaged 13.7 points and 11.1 rebounds his senior year at New Mexico, while Green this season averaged 16.2 points and 10.6 rebounds at Michigan State.
Pope and Hamilton were not present at the Chicago combine, and neither is a lock to be drafted. Pope, who averaged 15.6 points and 10.4 rebounds his senior year at Seton Hall, was a highly-ranked prospect in the 2007 high school recruiting class that contained Derrick Rose, Kevin Love, Michael Beasley and O.J. Mayo. However, Pope’s college career was altered by gunshot wounds from a roadside attack his senior year of high school and cardiac event he suffered in 2010 due to an anomalous right coronary artery. After all that, he continued playing, and he’s just now making his bid for a chance at the NBA.
Hamilton, who played two seasons at Oakland University after transferring from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, averaged 26.2 points in 2011-12 and led all of the NCAA Division I in scoring. He also received the Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award in March, which is awarded to the most outstanding senior who is 6′ 0″ or shorter.
With more than two weeks between these workouts and the June 28 draft, players still have ample time to alter their draft stock, and this will be one of several sessions the Timberwolves hold. The team has the 18th and 58th picks in this year’s draft.