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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Hollis-Jefferson shimmying to the NBA Draft

    Bill Mason, Cat Tran Driver (Brown hair) Dennis Cady, Cat Tran Driver (black and white striped shirt) AJ Dowgiert, Cat Tran Driver (Plaid/Checkered Shirt)

    As the 2015 NBA Draft nears, there isn’t a specific team that is eyeing Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. He can go anywhere from late in the lottery to late first-round. Even though it is uncertain where he will land, Hollis-Jefferson is an upgrade for any team that selects him.

    Hollis-Jefferson will always be remembered at Arizona, whether it was his freak athleticism or his likeable personality. Some could say the most memorable characteristic about him was his infamous shimmy before every free throw.

    Hollis-Jefferson even had people doing the shimmy before shooting in beer pong. Every little antic he was involved in always had an impact on the Arizona basketball community.

    After Arizona defeated University of California, Irvine 71-54 in November, Hollis-Jefferson would make SportsCenter’s Top 10 plays after dunking over the tallest man in college basketball — Mamadou N’Diaye — who stands at 7 feet 6 inches. That dunk would also be followed up with what is arguably Hollis-Jefferson’s most entertaining press conference. He walked in the room eating a bag of gummy bears, and when asked about the dunk over N’Diaye, he said something that members of the media couldn’t help but smile.

    “I’m pretty sure he’s my cousin, so it was cool to dunk on my family,” Hollis-Jefferson said.

    Another member of the media walked into the press conference shortly after it started, and set his recorder on the table in front of Hollis-Jefferson. After the reporter asked him a question, he picked up his recorder and began talking directly into the recorder.

    Hollis-Jefferson isn’t afraid of being himself, whether it’s in front of a sold-out crowd in McKale Center or just walking around campus. Even though the level of foolishness is high whenever his presence is felt, he still carries himself like a professional when needed. Arizona head coach Sean Miller said when Hollis-Jefferson declared for the draft that he had never seen him that serious in a joking way.

    “I’ve never seen him more serious in my life,” Miller said. “I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed coaching a player more than I’ve enjoyed coaching Rondae.”

    Over the course of when players declare for the draft, NBA front offices are constantly calling people and asking for insight on the players that the teams are scouting. Hollis-Jefferson left many scouts drooling over his athleticism and gritty defense, but scouts are also looking for a player that can come in and gel with the system immediately.

    His offensive game needs to be polished due to his poor range when it comes to his jump shot, but if drafted by the right team, his offense will develop over time.

    A team like the Oklahoma City Thunder stands as the last team in the lottery as the No. 14 pick. Being on a team that has Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, Hollis-Jefferson wouldn’t have to worry about scoring the ball. Westbrook’s flashy clothes and personality along with Durant’s skill set can be a match made in heaven.

    Another team that Hollis-Jefferson can fit with are reigning Eastern Conference champions, the Cleveland Cavaliers. Hollis-Jefferson is classified as a small forward, and in the NBA Finals, LeBron James looked weary and needed a guy to come off the bench to keep the energy alive.

    No matter which team selects Hollis-Jefferson, he provides the needed skills that many basketball players lack, and that includes a likeable personality with an ambitious work ethic. Plus, the shimmy could elevate into an NBA trademark by the end of the day.

    The 2015 NBA Draft will be held Thursday, June 25, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., at 7 p.m. EST.


    Follow Justin Spears on Twitter.

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