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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Kyle Fogg has a shot at NBA career

Colin+Darland+%2F+Daily+Wildcat%0A%0AArizona+senior+guard+Kyle+Fogg%2C+21%2C+drives+the+lane+during+the+second+half+of+the+Wildcats+match-up+against+the+Utah+Utes+in+McKale+Center+on+Saturday%2C+February+11%2C+2012%0A%0A
Colin Darland
Colin Darland / Daily Wildcat Arizona senior guard Kyle Fogg, 21, drives the lane during the second half of the Wildcats’ match-up against the Utah Utes in McKale Center on Saturday, February 11, 2012

Kyle Fogg won’t be listed on any 2012 NBA mock drafts. The 6-foot-3, 188-pound senior guard also won’t have his name called by David Stern in New York City at the 2012 NBA draft.

Scouts, general managers and coaches alike drool over one-and-done freshmen with unlimited potential or upperclassmen who’ve remained atop their conference statistically since the moment they stepped foot on campus, but Fogg doesn’t fit either of those descriptions.

As an undersized two-guard and often overshadowed performer, he’s not an explosive leaper, lethal off of the dribble, or a Magic Johnson-like passer.

But Fogg will find his way into the NBA at some point in his basketball career. Whether it’s a stint in the D-League, as a 13th man benchwarmer or as a role player on a playoff team, Fogg can contribute in the league in some capacity.

That wasn’t the case when he arrived in Tucson, or even at the start of the 2011-12 season for that matter. Despite developing into a three-year starter and playing a crucial role on two tournament teams, Fogg’s basketball career will most likely come to a screeching halt after four years in Tucson. The former three-star recruit had exceeded expectations, but most figure he’ll hang up his sneaks after the college ranks. At least, that’s what everyone thought until recently.

During the final months of his last year at Arizona, however, Fogg has proved his strengths can translate to the next level, and no attribute gives him more of a shot at the league than his defense.

“He deserves to be on any all-defensive team that’s voted on,” UA head coach Sean Miller said after Fogg held UCLA’s Lazeric Jones to 1-for-12 shooting against UCLA on Saturday.

That’s not a bias — not Miller speaking about his beloved senior who has meant so much in his limited 2011-12 squad. It’s the honest truth.

Fogg’s done a number on some of the better guards in the country this season. He held Florida’s Kenny Boynton, who averages 17.3 points per game, to nine points on 2-for-11 shooting. He limited Cal’s Allen Crabbe, a 44.1 percent shooter on the season, to 4-for-12 shooting in Berkeley for a season-changing victory.

Fogg helped play a part in limiting likely Pac-12 Player of the Year Tony Wroten to 13-for-40 shooting in two games this season, while holding Colorado’s Carlon Brown to 5-for-12 shooting in their last meeting.

“He’s somebody who I think can guard some of the best guards in the game,” Miller said.

He may be undersized at the two-guard position, but his freakish 6-foot-10 wingspan will allow him to guard point guards, shooting guards and sometimes even small forwards at the next level.

That ability and defensive versatility is invaluable in the NBA. Just look at the Memphis Grizzlies’ Tony Allen. He’s not much bigger than Fogg at 6-foot-4, 213 pounds, and can’t play a lick of offense, but starts for a potential playoff team because of his defensive prowess.

Fogg’s length, lateral quickness, understanding of angles and relentlessness on the defensive end is everything coaches look for in a perimeter defensive stopper.

But defense isn’t all Fogg has to bring to the table. He’s worked himself into one of the conference’s best 3-point shooters, knocking down the deep ball at a 44.2 percent clip.

He has NBA range and can shoot the three off the catch and sometimes off the dribble. His offensive game as a whole has come full circle as of late, as he’s averaging 15.9 points per contest over his last 10 games.

Fogg’s also developed into one of the better rebounding guards in the Pac-12, hauling in 40 boards over his last four games.

But what makes Fogg’s NBA chances a reality is beyond the hardwood. The UA’s senior is respectable with a relentless work ethic, suggesting the basketball world hasn’t seen the best of Kyle Fogg.

He’s represented Arizona basketball in a first-class manner while putting in endless hours in the gym, proven by his continual growth and the 40,000 shots he hoisted this past summer.

“He’s as high of a character kid as I’ve ever been around,” Miller said. “He’s an eager player to learn and improve. That’s what makes him such a special player … he’s invested a lot of himself. When you look at what he did just this summer alone, I haven’t been around many kids that gave as much of themselves as he did.”

Fogg will once again get overlooked come draft day, as that’s what he said “has been the case my whole career.”

But players who defend, can knock down the open shot, play smart basketball and have a willingness to improve and compete have a spot in the NBA.

As was the case at Arizona, his journey may not be easy, but Fogg will sport the NBA logo on his jersey at some point.

And he has no one to thank but himself.

— Mike Schmitz is a marketing senior. He can be reached at sports@wildcat.arizona.edu or on Twitter via @WildcatHoops .

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