No Tide At 2012 NBA Draft

JaMychal Green and Tony Mitchell were not among the sixty players selected at the 2012 NBA Draft held at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey Thursday evening. The pair was hoping to end the program's four-year drought at the 66th annual event.

Opportunities for the Alabama duo to create professional basketball memories will begin with securing free agent contracts or at the minimum a summer league roster spot.

Coveted NBA power forwards are robust rebounders, flick shots frequently and produce points in the paint with the consistency of a rapper's beat. Superlative small forwards on the professional level launch three-pointers expecting string music, tenaciously defend the opponent's best athlete and hover in the air before grabbing alley-oops for rim-rattling dunks. Images of JaMychal Green and Tony Mitchell performing those aforementioned skills at their respective positions exist in the minds of Tide fans.

Players tabbed for the first round received absolution for their minor defects from the talent evaluators. Superior physical attributes, advanced basketball skills, pristine character and no off-the-court issues are among the myriad of reasons for their elevated stature. Second round selections and free agents seek redemption for a chance to hone their skills, develop physically, prove their moral fiber and gain the trust of organizations reluctant to gamble with choosing them higher in the draft due to past personal transgressions.

Prior to Thursday evening, scouts praised Green for his mid-range jumper, lateral movement and feisty competitive attitude. A 7'2" wingspan to guard against penetration from the perimeter and contest shots was also attractive to league personnel. He is suited to defend mobile power forwards situated at the high post area. Low post defense could be an issue for the Montgomery native who in four years gained only five pounds. Green lacks the body mass of a prototypical power forward weighing 217 at the Chicago combine yet benched pressed 185 pounds a respectable 19 times. Although a capable scorer in the paint, he lacks instinct, tending to deliberate instead of vertically exploding to the goal with power and authority. Disciplinary action was taken against Green multiple times in a four-year career at the Capstone.

Mitchell, indefinitely suspended from the squad in February and finally dismissed, was one of the top athletes in the entire draft but deficient ball-handling skills and a reputation as an inconsistent long-range shooter prevented a higher rating. Officially measured at 6'5 _" and 216 pounds, the Swainsboro, GA native leaped 40.5" at the Chicago combine. He has the potential to energize a team with spectacular plays around the bucket on put backs and fast break chances. Physically suited to transform into a reliable defender, past offensive woes have negatively affected the defensive effort. Reinvention is a viable option to eradicate the perception of being a lackluster performer.

After completing his collegiate career, former Alabama standout Alonzo Gee was mired in a similar circumstance as Green and Mitchell. Disappointment did not dampen the enthusiasm to purse a professional basketball career after not hearing his name announced on draft day in 2009. Gee accepted an offer to be a summer league roster player for the San Antonio Spurs which led to a free agent contract with Minnesota. After being released by the Timberwolves, he was signed by the Austin Toros of the NBA Development League, a Spurs affiliate coincidentally. Gee took full advantage, earning the 2009-10 Rookie of the Year Award. After short stints with the Washington Wizards and San Antonio Spurs, he was signed by the Cleveland Cavaliers in December 2010.

Steadily he progressed from sixth-man to a starter in 60 of 103 games the last two seasons, averaging 10.6 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.8 assists for the 2011-12 campaign. According to a report from "The Plain Dealer", the coaching staff was impressed with Gee's improvement after returning from the NBA lockout. Cleveland offered the athletic Riviera Beach, Florida native a $2.7 million qualifying offer on Friday so they can match any amount tendered by other teams to keep the restricted free agent.

Cavalier General Manager Chris Grant has claimed retaining Gee to be a "top priority". The free agent negotiating period begins Sunday, July 1st, with contracts eligible to be signed beginning Wednesday, July 11th. A report from "The Morning Journal" serving Northern Ohio" said the Phoenix Suns are prepared to extend a 4-year, $16 million dollar contract to the 25-year old, 6'6", 220 pound Gee. Other interested suitors include the Boston Celtics, Washington Wizards and Houston Rockets.

Gee represents the quintessential role model for any Tide player searching for a way to realize a deferred dream. Diligent at his craft, he persevered through a circuitous journey, earning respect from discerning league executives. Seeking counsel from the highly sought after swingman would be a wise decision for two non-drafted players, JaMychal Green and Tony Mitchell, aiming to create NBA value.

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