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Quote:Wafer's workout impressed Lakers

By Steve Ellis

DEMOCRAT STAFF WRITER


At least one Seminole wasn't surprised when Von Wafer was selected in the second round of the NBA Draft on Tuesday.

Irving Thomas, a Lakers scout who played two seasons at FSU, knew how well Wafer's workout in Los Angeles went last week. Wafer's decision to enter the NBA Draft was questioned following a roller-coaster sophomore year in which he averaged 12.5 points but found himself benched down the stretch of the 2004-05 season.

Irving said Wafer made believers of the Lakers, including general manager Mitch Kupchak, during a Friday morning workout. Wafer made 20-straight jump shots in one drill according to Irving, who played one season with the Lakers.

"He had an excellent workout," Irving said. "That put him over the top. He is an excellent shooter and has a lot of upside. He can really shoot the ball, which led him to that workout.

"I think there is a lot to like about him. He still has some things to work on."

Irving, who resides in South Florida, saw FSU play three games last season. Wafer missed one of those games because of a suspension.

"He had some trouble during the season," Irving said. "We knew Von had some issues. But the background checks and interview were outstanding. All the feedback was extremely favorable.

"He wants to be good. You can tell he has a passion for the game."

Yet while Thomas embraced the decision, it was panned by the L.A. Times.

"The Lakers have never been known to be masters of the draft, and this proves that again," went its online draft analysis. "It's hard to know what current boss Mitch Kupchak was thinking here. Wafer is a marginal prospect at best who, while very good in high school, did little to show he could improve in college.

"There is some potential there, but the same can be said for many players who didn't get drafted who have more focus and higher basketball IQ's than Wafer."

FSU to play Purdue

FSU will host Purdue as part of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge. It will be just the second meeting between the two schools in men's basketball. The game will be played Nov.29 on ESPN2.

Freshman All-American signs with FSU

Leonard Hamilton has signed Toney Douglas, a freshman All-American at Auburn this past season. Douglas, who averaged 16.9 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.4 steals as a freshman, must sit out the 2005-06 season. Douglas will have three seasons of eligibility remaining. The 6-foot-1 guard was named to the All-Southeastern Conference third team and ranked fourth in the SEC with a .424 shooting percentage.

"He is a player with proven scoring abilities and an unselfish spirit who enjoys getting his teammates involved in running the offense," Hamilton said. "On top of that, he quickly showed our staff and players that he has great character and will fit into our program nicely."
07-04-2005 12:04 AM
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