New Talent Splashes into the BIG3 Draft Pool
By John Krolik April 21, 2022
As the BIG3 grows, it attracts the attention of more and more talented players from around the world. They will be at the BIG3 Draft combine on May 14th and be eligible to be drafted by any BIG3 team during the May 25th Draft. Here are some of the new names in the BIG3 draft pool:
KJ McDaniels will be looking to find a spot with a BIG3 team. McDaniels played three seasons in the NBA after being drafted with the 32nd overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. After that, the Clemson product played 105 games in the G-League between 2015 and 2021. Most recently, McDaniels played with the NLEX Road Warriors of the Philippine Basketball Association. At 29 years old, McDaniels is still in his athletic prime. McDaniels is 6-6, weighs 205 pounds, and uses his 6’11 wingspan to consistently make impact plays on defense. In short, the former ACC Defensive Player of the Year is the type of long, versatile defender nearly every BIG3 coach would like on their roster.
Via KJ McDaniels Twitter
DeJuan Blair will be throwing his hat into the ring for the first time. Blair was the 39th overall pick out of Pitt after being named a first-team All-American in his sophomore year. Blair played seven seasons in the NBA, and spent nearly all of that time in the paint. The 6-6, 270 pound Blair didn’t get moved from his spot often, and was an absolute rebounding machine throughout his time in the NBA. He averaged 11 rebounds per 36 minutes throughout his career with the Spurs, Mavericks, and Wizards, and led the NBA in offensive rebound percentage his second year in the league.
After his time in the NBA, Blair spent a year in China, where he was nearly unstoppable. In his lone season with the Monkey Kings of CBA China, Blair put up 24.1 points and 13.6 rebounds per game. Blair is big, crafty, knows how to clean the glass, and knows what his game is about. He’s worth keeping an eye on.
Damien Wilkins will be looking to bring some veteran know-how to the BIG3. After going undrafted out of Georgia, Wilkins enjoyed a 10-year career in the NBA. Wilkins played 582 NBA games, and also spent time in China, Puerto Rico, and the G-League over the course of his impressive career. At 42 years old, Wilkins is no spring chicken. Don’t let that fool you, though. He led Puerto Rico’s top league in scoring as recently as 2017, and he has a level of experience most of his fellow BIG3 hopefuls won’t be able to match.
Taylor Statham will be looking to begin his BIG3 journey. A CSUSB alum and cancer survivor, Statham is as well-traveled as any player in the draft. This ESPN.com article by Charlie Cuna is a great look at the long journey Statham has taken to get to this point. Statham’s pro career has included stints in The Philippines, Canada, Hong Kong, Indonesia, and Thailand, and he’s made some stateside appearances in the Drew League and the Impact Academy League. Along the way, he was given an award nearly everywhere he went. He was named MVP of the Hong Kong Sheung Cup when he played for the team that won the tournament. He was named the best small forward in the Thailand Basketball league in both 2017 and 2018, and won the league’s scoring title in 2018. He has become a mainstay of 3v3 basketball in the Philippines, which one figures would certainly help him out in the BIG3.
Somehow he’s found time to establish the Statham Academy during all this, which works with thousands of players from all different levels and has seen 40 players sign professionally and 50 get recruited by major college programs. We’ll see if he can impart some knowledge on the rest of the BIG3 league this coming season.
Larry Williams, much better known as “The Bone Collector,” will be looking to find a home in the BIG3 this season. Williams built his reputation at the legendary Rucker Park while attending college in New York City, and it’s only grown over the years. Collector, named for his ability to snatch ankles, was named “the most dangerous streetball player in the world” by SLAM Magazine, and was named one of the 25 greatest streetball players of all time by Complex. He played for the AND1 Mixtape tour from 2007-11, and has worked with both professional and college players as a skills coach.
Today, Bone Collector is best known for his social media presence. He has one million followers on Instagram, where you can see him with Kyrie Irving, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Adam Sandler on the very first page. His YouTube channel has 419,000 subscribers. He has all those followers and hangs around all those big names – they want to see him make defenders look silly, and he always obliges. We’ll see if Bone Collector’s smooth outside touch, legendary handle, and well-earned internet celebrity will be enough for the 41-year old to get himself on a BIG3 roster.
Jordan Crawford will be in the draft pool this year. After a college career that included putting LeBron James on a poster in a pro-am game, Crawford spent six years in the NBA with the Wizards, Celtics, Warriors, Pelicans, and Hawks. He averaged 10 or more points in each of his first five NBA seasons. Crawford has also spent time in China, Turkey, Europe, and the G-League.
His time in China was particularly notable. In 26 games with the CBA China League’s Gold Lions, Crawford averaged an astonishing 43.1 points per game. During that season, he averaged 31.3 field goal attempts in 37.5 minutes per game and averaged 2.0 assists per game. Jordan Crawford does not lack confidence. It should be noted that he has shown more of a well-rounded game recently. During the 2021-22 season in the Turkish Super League, he averaged 6.6 assists per game, which is a career-high. Since BIG3 games only go to 50 points, I very much doubt he’ll average 43 points again, but he could definitely make an impact in the league.
Social media phenomenon Hezi God (aka Ryan Carter) will also look to catch on with a BIG3 team. Hezi God’s ability to fill up the basket and make defenders look foolish while doing it has netted him 192,000 Instagram followers. Hezi God’s accomplishments include going for 103 points and 26 threes in a single ABA game and holding his own with BIG3 veteran Frank Nitty in a one-on-one battle. We’ll see if Hezi God can turn BIG3 fans into believers.
Via Overtime Twitter
West Virginia product and former Laker Devin Ebanks will look to make some noise in the BIG3. The 6-9 forward was drafted with the 43rd overall pick in the 2010 draft. Ebanks’ three years with the Lakers were somewhat uneventful, but he did average 22 points and 7.3 rebounds over the course of 102 G-League games. After that, Ebanks traveled the world. He played in Israel, Mexico, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Europe, Japan, and currently plays in Bahrain. As recently as 2019, Ebanks won the scoring title in the top league in France. Time will tell if his experience from around the world will lead the 32-year old Ebanks to BIG3 success.
Via Devin Ebanks Twitter
Georgetown alum DaJuan Summers will be throwing his hat into the ring. After being drafted with the 35th overall pick in the 2009 draft, Summers played 83 NBA games for the Pistons, Hornets, and Clippers before his international journey begun. He’s been a Turkish League All-Star, won the Ukrainian Basketball Cup, and was named to the FIBA Asia Champions Cup First Team. Summers stands at 6’8 and has the ability to hit the three. The BIG3 prizes versatility, so don’t be surprised if he catches on with a team.
Orlando Johnson will be looking for a home in the BIG3. The UCSB alum was taken with the 36th pick in the 2012 NBA draft. After three years bouncing between the NBA and the G-League, Johnson played in Europe, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Australia. We’ll see if the 2016 G-League All-Star can make some noise in the BIG3.
Daniel Gibson – let me set the stage on this one. The year is 2007. The Cleveland Cavaliers have just stunned the Detroit Pistons in a double-overtime thriller in the Palace at Auburn Hills in which a 22-year old LeBron James scored 48 points, including 29 of the team’s final 30 points. The Cavaliers now lead the series 3-2, and are a home win away from the NBA Finals. If they lose, it’s back to Detroit for Game 7. Since the Cavaliers’ season ended in a game 7 in Detroit the year before, it’s safe to say they’re not looking to go back. The Pistons are determined not to let James beat them again, and manage to hold him to 20 points on 3-11 shooting from the field.
There’s only one thing they didn’t count on – James’ new favorite target, rookie sharpshooter Daniel Gibson. Gibson punished the Pistons for leaving him open. He went for a game-high 31 points, made all five of his shots from beyond the arc, and sent LeBron and the Cavaliers to the NBA Finals. Gibson ended up playing seven NBA seasons, all with Cleveland, and shot 40.7% from deep over the course of his career. Gibson hasn’t played much organized basketball since he retired from the NBA after the 2013 season. Still, a true shooter never really loses his shot, and there isn’t a team in any league on earth that doesn’t have room for a deadeye shooter.