BUCKS BEAT: UW's Leuer, MU's Butler will audition for team

2011-05-27T00:21:00Z BUCKS BEAT: UW's Leuer, MU's Butler will audition for teamGERY WOELFEL gwoelfel@journaltimes.com Journal Times

The Milwaukee Bucks have traditionally worked out the top college players from the state before the NBA draft.

This year isn't any different.

The Bucks will commence with private workouts at the Cousins Center in St. Francis next week. Among the prospects the Bucks will take an up close and personal look at are University of Wisconsin forward Jon Leuer and Marquette University swingman Jimmy Butler.

The Bucks currently have two picks in the June draft: the 10th overall selection in the first round and the 30th overall selection in the second round.

According to several scouts and player personnel directors, Butler and Leuer are projected to be selected between late in the first round to the middle of the second round, meaning they could be on the board when the Bucks make their second choice.

Leuer, who was measured at 6-11 1/2 in shoes at the recent pre-draft camp in Chicago, has a planned visit with the Bucks on June 21 -- just two days before the draft.

Leuer also has scheduled visits to several other teams, including Charlotte, Portland, Chicago, Boston, Washington and New Jersey.

NBA officials are impressed with Leuer's shooting abilities and his court awareness. Leuer shot 47 percent from the field, 37 percent from 3-point range and 84 percent from the free throw line last season for the Badgers.

He averaged 18.3 points and 7.2 rebounds.

As for his court awareness, Leuer said he developed that facet of the game while experiencing a significant growth spurt in high school in Orono, Minn.

"I had played guard before I went from 6-foot as a freshman to 6-8 as a junior,'' Leuer said. "I grew up seeing the game through a guard's eyes.''

Leuer also pleasantly surprised some scouts at the pre-draft camp with his leaping ability. Leuer had a vertical leap of 36.5, which is outstanding for a big man. In comparison, Enes Kanter, who is expected to be a top-five pick, had a vertical jump of 32.5 and Jeremy Tyler, a projected late first-round pick, had a vertical of 33.5.

As for Butler, he had seen his stock steadily soar since his final game at Marquette. Butler opened some eyes at the Portsmouth Invitational Camp in Portsmouth, Va., where he was chosen the Most Valuable Player after leading his team to the championship.

Butler,who averaged 15.7 points and 6.1 rebounds last season, then won over more NBA officials by acquitting himself well at the pre-draft camp. He performed well in drills and tested well.

Butler's vertical of 39 inches was the fifth best jump and he was timed at 5.22 seconds in the modified lane agility drills, the fourth fastest.

If Butler, who was measured at 6-7 3/4 with shoes, continues to impress during upcoming workouts with Miami, New Jersey, Boston and San Antonio, among others, he could conceivably sneak into the first round, just like his former Marquette teammate Lazar Hayward did last year.

-- A couple of tidbits on Trey Thompkins. the former Georgia standout forward who'll be auditioning for the Bucks next week:

-- He was a teammate of Bucks point guard Brandon Jennings and former Duke standout guard Nolan Smith at Oak Hill Academy. The trio helped Oakhill to a 40-1 record.

-- He was an academic All-American as a sophomore with a sterling 3.6 grade point average. Thompkins' major is housing with an emphasis on residential management.

 

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