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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Carney Looks Like Top 15 Hit

Carney looks like top 15 hit

By Jim Masilak
June 27, 2006

Rodney Carney missed his last predraft workout Monday with the Philadelphia 76ers after spraining his right ankle, but not to worry.

The former University of Memphis star, who later said his sore peg was "all right," will be able to convalesce in the comfort of the green room at Wednesday night's NBA draft at Madison Square Garden.

Carney's status as one of 15 players invited to attend the draft in New York City is perhaps the best indication yet that the small forward from Indianapolis will be a lottery (top 14) selection.
Carney, who's aiming to succeed former Tigers like Penny Hardaway, Lorenzen Wright and Dajuan Wagner as top-10 selections, certainly hopes that's the case.

"It feels good to have all (the workouts) over. Now everything's in their hands," said Carney of the league's 30 general managers, one of whom is certain to select the 6-7, 205-pound small forward shortly after the draft begins at 6 p.m. CDT. "It's kind of a combination of emotions. You're excited about the potential of being drafted high, but then you're nervous because you don't know what's gonna happen.

"I'm in the dark a little bit, but because I got invited to the green room, that's a good situation to be in."

Where will Carney land on draft night?

Most experts project him going somewhere between No. 9 and No. 15 overall, the consensus being that the New Orleans Hornets, who own the 12th and 15th selections, will not allow him to slide into the second half of the first round.

"Staying in college four years has only helped him. He'll be gobbled up," said Ryan Blake, the NBA's assistant scouting director. "He could go anywhere in the lottery."

Carney's agent, Chris Emens, certainly doesn't expect his client's wait to be a long one.

"It's a pretty wide margin, but I think there's a chance he could go as high as No. 6 (to Minnesota)," Emens said. "The bottom range is probably 14 (to Utah). Or, more likely, 12 (to New Orleans)."

Carney, who would prefer to play for a team with an up-tempo approach, said he has gotten positive vibes from a number of teams.

Golden State, which has the No. 9 overall choice, Seattle (No. 10), Orlando (No. 11), Phoenix (No. 27 and reportedly looking to move up) and Portland (Nos. 4 and 30) have all indicated a keen interest in the player.

"Those teams really gave me good feedback and have talked about drafting me at some point in time," Carney said. "I just want to stay in the top 10 and have an up-tempo team draft me. A team like that is gonna get the best out of me -- my speed, athleticism and shooting ability. A halfcourt team is not gonna be able to use me to my full potential."

Because Carney's greatest attributes are his athleticism, ever-improving long-range shooting and explosiveness in the open court, he and his advisers are intrigued by the possibility of a fast-paced team like Phoenix, which owns the Nos. 21 and 27 selections, trading up.

"Teams interested in drafting Rodney (think) if he's on a team that has an up-tempo philosophy, he could be a player who could be a potential All-Star," Emens said. "If he's on a team with a halfcourt set, then maybe there's some limits to what he might become in that sort of situation.
"Of course, it's in the teams' best interests to pick a player who fits their style of play. The teams that are most interested in Rodney are teams wanting to take advantage of his ... athleticism."

While Blake said questions remain regarding Carney's ball-handling skills and mid-range offensive game, he believes the player will thrive wherever he lands.

"He still has stuff to work on, but you can't ignore the fact he's an effort player," Blake said. "Obviously he's going to excel in (an up-tempo game) because he's fast. But he's the type of player who can adapt to any type of offense."

-- Jim Masilak: 901-529-2311
How High?
The following shows where various Web sites are predicting University of Memphis senior Rodney Carney might go in Wednesday's NBA draft:

Web site / Pick / Team / 9th / Golden State / 11th / Orlando / 12th / New Orleans (1) / 14th / Utah / 15th / New Orleans (2) / 15th / New Orleans / 15th / New Orleans

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