Former Murray State point guard Isaiah Canaan led Biloxi High to a state championship four years ago. Now, he's preparing for the NBA Draft. AP Photo/Dave Martin, File
Many have chided the incoming NBA Draft Class for being devoid of any real, clear-cut superstars such as LeBron James in 2003 or Kevin Durant in 2007.
However, what there seems to be among this year's bunch is a rising crop of serviceable point guards, something general managers of teams in a league that's quickly becoming dominated by score-first lead guards might appreciate.
Among the group is Murray State (Ky.) product and Biloxi, Miss. native Isaiah Canaan.
The 6-foot-1, 195-pounder averaged 21.8 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.5 assists as senior on his way to being named Co-Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Year. Now, the former Biloxi High standout is trying to prove he has what it takes to excel at the next level, training in Chicago in preparation for the draft which will take place June 27th in New York City.
"You can never be satisfied with where you are as a player or what you got you to this point," Canaan told Draft Express. "So, I'm always looking for ways to get better, tightening up on my ball handling, getting up a lot of shots every day. Just trying to keep my stamina up so I can go in these workouts and dominate.
Canaan is projected as an early to mid-second round pick by most draft experts.
NBAdraft.net slates, Canaan, who also was named won the Player of the Year award in the OVC as a junior, as going 34th overall to the Houston Rockets where he would presumably compete for playing time with starter Jeremy Linn in a backcourt which includes all-star James Harden. Draft Express has him being taken with the 14th pick in the second round by The Dallas Mavericks.
Canaan, a big-time scorer at the mid-major level, taking more than 16 shots per game on average this past season while shooting close to 40 percent from 3-point range and better than 80 percent from the foul line among the second tier of point guards available. That group includes Miami sophomore Shane Larkin, the ACC Player of the Year, North Carolina State's Lorenzo Brown, Baylor's Pierre Jackson and Texas' Myck Kabongo among others.
"Damian Lillard, he set the standard high for a lot of players," Canaan said. "He motivated a lot of people that come out of a mid-major program just to show that we can compete with some of the guys that a lot of people say are better than what you are."