Draft Profile: Frank Hassell, Jeremy Tyler, Keith Benson, Lavoy Allen
There were 4 players originally scheduled for Wednesday's workout in Boston, Justin Harper, Jon Leuer, Jamie Skeen, and Matt Howard. Howard didn't show for some undisclosed reason, but there were several players who weren't on the original list who worked out for the Celtics on Wednesday. I've already profiled Harper, Leuer, Skeen and Howard here and in this article we're going to take a look at Frank Hassell, Jeremy Tyler, Keith Benson and Lavoy Allan who also worked out for the Celtics along with Canadian Football player, Chris O'Donnell who we discussed here.
First up today is Frank Hassell, a 6'8" PF/Center from Old Dominion. In spite of being undersized at 6'8", Hassell plays bigger due to his 7' 3.5" wingspan and 9' 0.25" standing reach. Hassell averaged 15.1 points on 56% shooting, 9.4 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in 29 minutes per game as a senior.
Hassell was named SI.COM Honorable Mention All-American. He was also named a Riley Wallace Insider.com All -American. This team consists of eight seniors who had been a major part of their team's success by contributing in all phases of the game throughout their careers. He was also named to the Lou Henson Mid-Major All-American team.
Hassell had a solid 4 year career in college in spite of the fact that he has Scoliosis, which is a curving of the spine. The condition apparently doesn’t impact Hassell’s game. He gets seen by a chiropractor and sometimes it gets sore, but he was still the team’s hardest worker. With a nickname like Frank the Tank, he might be the perfect Big Baby replacement.
Next, we'll take a look at Jeremy Tyler, a 6'11" PF/C who has a rather interesting story. After averaging 28.7 points per game in his junior year, Tyler became the first American player to skip his senior year in high school to play in Europe. He signed with Maccabi Haifa of the Israeli Super League but played in just 10 games, averaging only 2.1 PPG in 7.6 MPG. He then quit the team and headed home.
A couple of months later, he signed with the Tokyo Apache of Japan's professional basketball league. In 33 games with the Tokyo club, he averaged 9.9 points on 51.7% shooting and 6.4 rebounds in 15.4 minutes per game.
Tyler measured 6'10.5" with a 7' 5" wingspan and a 9' 2.5" standing reach. Tyler won't turn 20 until June 21. He is a big, athletic player who has a post game and can shoot the rock from mid-range. He has already played a season of pro ball in Japan. While in Japan he played under ex-NBA coach Bob Hill, who was in his first year coaching the Apache. Tyler left Japan five days after the devastating earthquake and has spent the last two months in San Antonio, working out with coach Hill.
He is a legitimate power forward, going up against mostly tweeners in this draft. He is strong and athletic and his stock is rising after a strong performance at the Chicago pre-draft camp. He has been impressive in interviews, and if he was immature in Israel, he seems to have put that behind him. He has a strong chance at landing in the first round.
Next is Keith Benson, a 6'11" center out of Oakland University. Benson is long with a 7' 3.75" wing span and a 9' 1.5" standing reach. He averaged 17.9 points on 55% shooting along with 10.1 rebounds and 3.6 blocks per game. He also shot 39% from three point range. Keith Benson, who at 6-10 without shoes with a near 7-4 wingspan, 9-1 1/2 standing reach and massive hands is everything the NBA dreams of in a big man prospect. However, he needs to add add at least 20 pounds to his lanky 217 pound frame to be able to bang with the stronger centers in the NBA. But he has a strong frame that should fill out in time.
Benson is an excellent athlete. He is a late bloomer and has shown a lot of improvement in his 4 years at Oakland. He is great in the open floor and runs very well. His offensive skills are a work in progress but he has as a solid jump hook and has an excellent touch on mid range shots. He does a good job fighting for low post position and has good footwork around the basket. He is a very good rebounder and not only relies on his length for a rebound, but his leaping ability, as well.From a defensive standpoint, Benson locks down the paint. He is a phenomenal shot-blocker and plays smart defense, which allows him to stay out of foul trouble.
The biggest knock on him is that he isn't strong enough to compete against the bigger, stronger NBA centers. If he could add 15-20 lbs of muscle, which is very doable considering his frame, he could silence all those criticisms. Also, his level of competition hasn't been the toughest and so there is a question of how he will do against NBA level competition.
Finally, we have Lavoy Allen, a 6'9" power forward out of Temple. Allen didn't attend the Chicago pre-draft camp and was invited to the Portsmouth tournament but withdrew at the last minute for personal reasons. Allen averaged 11.6 points on 46% shooting and 8.6 rebounds per game as a senior. He averaged a double double as a junior.
Temple reached the NCAA Tournament in all four seasons that Allen played there. He was a three-time All-Atlantic 10 Defensive Team honoree and a two-time All-Atlantic 10 First Team recipient. As a senior, Allen became the all-time leading rebounder in Temple history. His coach stated said that Allen might be the smartest player he's ever coached.
Allen's strengths include being a great defender, good rebounder, good passer and a decent face up shooter. His weaknesses include not being assertive enough and needing to develop better footwork around the basket. His defense and rebounding skills are such that, if he gets a chance to stick, he could wind up having a lengthy NBA career. Word out of Wednesday's workout for the Celtics is that he played very well.