The offseason goal of finding new opportunities for South Dakota State upcoming senior Nate Wolters is off to a strong start.
From June 24-26, the Jackrabbits’ star point guard will participate in the Kevin Durant Nike Elite Youth Basketball Skills Academy in Chicago. The third-annual event bills itself as a top gathering of swingmen and has a high school and a college division. (Before you ask: No, Wolters, isn’t moving to the wing and, no, SDSU isn’t going back on its decision to move from Nike to Under Armour. Apparently, he’s good enough to overcome those things.)
In 2010, just 11 college players were chosen, headlined by eventual top-20 NBA draft picks Chris Singleton and Alec Burks plus soon-to-be lottery pick Harrison Barnes. The pool opened to 18 last year, including Kentucky’s Terrence Jones, Duke’s Austin Rivers and Oral Roberts’ Dominique Morrison. Among the confirmed for this year: Rodney McGruber of Kansas State, Adonis Thomas of Memphis and Jordan Clarkson of Mizzou.
SDSU assistant Austin Hansen is largely credited with getting the 6-foot-4 Wolters into the camp, something he made happen by working his (growing) NBA contacts.
The camp will consist of five separate workout sessions over three days, and will be open to NBA scouts. To that end, Wolters will be able to test his skills against elite college players and show what he might be capable of at the next level. ESPN.com insider Chad Ford currently has Wolters, the only NCAA Division I player to average at least 20 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists last season, ranked 85th overall in the 2013 draft poll and 14th at point guard.
Durant, a three-time NBA scoring champion at the tender age of 23, usually attends and participates, but that is up in the air because he and the Thunder could be playing in the NBA Finals as late as June 26. (Here’s a story from his web site about last year’s edition.)
Either way, this camp feels like the defacto beginning of the 2012-13 season for Wolters and the Jacks. It won’t be long before folks start to find out how much they’ve improved and how they’ll handle being the hunted.
Terry Vandrovec also posts regular updates on his Twitter page.