Mac Engel

TCU star misses on draft while UTA forward is picked

TCU guard Kenrich Williams missed on becoming the the first Horned Frogs basketball player to be selected in the NBA Draft since Lee Nailon in 1999.
TCU guard Kenrich Williams missed on becoming the the first Horned Frogs basketball player to be selected in the NBA Draft since Lee Nailon in 1999. Associated Press

Kenrich Williams' journey from Juco nobody, to a college player few wanted, to a guy recovering from a blown out ACL, now includes not being drafted by an NBA team.

The TCU guard/forward just missed on being selected in the second round of the 2018 NBA Draft.

The last time a TCU player was selected was 1999; power forward Lee Nailon, a two-year player at TCU, was the 43rd overall selection by the Charlotte Hornets that year. He played for seven teams in six NBA seasons.

Meanwhile, another local kid who went virtually unnoticed out of high school wound up being drafted. Texas-Arlington senior forward Kevin Hervey was the 57th pick by the Oklahoma City Thunder.

He is the fourth UTA player to be selected.

Both Hervey and Williams were considered borderline selections.

In the end, the taller guy was picked. Hervey is 6-foot-9 and Williams 6-foot-7.

Hervey was recruited by former UTA coach Scott Cross, and developed into one of the top scorers in UTA history. Cross is now a TCU assistant.

As much credit as current TCU coach Jamie Dixon deserves for getting so much out of Williams in each of the last two seasons, don't forget Dixon's predecessor in this process.

Former TCU coach Trent Johnson was the one who recruited and signed Williams out of New Mexico Junior College.

Since Williams arrived to TCU in the fall of 2014, all the young man did was improve and help to lead one of college basketball's better stories.

He became one of the best rebounding guards in the Big 12, an active player opponents never could keep off the glass. As a senior, he added a perimeter shot to his game.

This past season, he averaged 13.2 points, 9.3 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 1.8 steals and shot just under 40 percent from 3-point range. He was named a second team All Big 12 player, and TCU made the NCAA Tournament for the first time since Nailon's days in 1998.

In the weeks leading up to the draft, TCU coaches and staffers were cautiously optimistic Williams would go in the second round rather than left to sign as an undrafted rookie free agent.

At 23, he is ancient for an NBA rookie, and there is considerable concern whether he can guard NBA players on the perimeter.

Having NBA caliber players is the next step in the evolution of the brand of TCU basketball.

The next TCU player considered to have draft potential draft potential is sophomore forward Kouat Noi. The 6-foot-7 scorer from Australia is well regarded because of his length on the perimeter, and ability to shoot from the outside.

As a freshman, he averaged 10 points and 43 percent from 3-point range.

The Dallas Mavericks have to prepare Luka Doncic 'for the long haul,' according to head coach Rick Carlisle.

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