A minimun of eight players from the ACC are expected to be selected in the 2005 NBA Draft Tuesday night. Clemson forward Sharrod Ford is not currently projected to be one of the eight players drafted, but that could all change Tuesday night.
Here is what personnel directors will see with Ford in the war rooms:
Ford is a player, who was extremely raw when he arrived on campus at Clemson. His first two years, he did not play in a system that was very helpful to post players. Ford averaged just over 5 points a game his sophomore season, but the signs of ability were there.
Ford has always been a natural shot blocker with above average athleticism at 6 foot 9. Ford began to shine in his junior season, his first year under head coach Oliver Purnell.
In his junior, Ford proved that he was not a recruiting mistake that in fact he did belong in the ACC.
It was Ford's senior campaign that should really catch the eye of scouts. When scouts look at a player, they want to see continued improvement each year. Ford showed improvement in his game from his freshman year all the way to his senior year, and many believed Ford has not reached his ceiling. He has really benefited from having Coach Purnell and his staff the last two seasons. Ford averaged 14.9 points per game and 8.2 rebounds in his senior season.
Did Ford struggle with consistency? The obvious answer is yes. Ask any basketball coach and they will tell you, when you take a player who just two seasons ago averaged 5.0 points a game, and now he is counted upon to be your leading scorer, he will struggle with consistency. The inconsistency was a sign that Ford was still developing his game. There were nights where he completely dominated a game, but then there was performances like in the ACC tournament against Maryland.
Gary Williams was determined to not let Sharrod Ford defeat him for a third time. Maryland was going to double team Ford and force him to pass out of double teams, a situation in which he struggled much of the year. Ford was frustrated by the Maryland's defense early, as he had torched the Terrapins for 25 in the first two meetings. Then Ford played in my opinion one of his best games as a Clemson Tiger. Ford gave himself up for the team, as he adjusted to the Maryland defense and dished out five assists.
Ford will not be selected in the first round Tuesday night, however he has the potential to be a steal in the second round. Ford runs the floor extremely well, and he is a very good shot blocker. What may be holding Ford back from being drafted is the 15 foot jump shot. If Ford was more consistent with the 15 foot jumper, he would be a lock for an early second round pick. Scouts will once again look at his improvement through four years of college, and then they will decide whether or not to select Ford.
Ford helped lay the foundation for Clemson basketball under Purnell. Fans can look at his development over two years with great optimism for the futue of Clemson basketball.