Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Southerland Helping NBA Draft Stock With 3-Point Barrage
NEW YORK — As we’ve seen many times before, a successful run during March Madness can help a player’s NBA Draft stock rise markedly.
One guy who is helping his stock big-time right now is Syracuse forward James Southerland.
The 6-foot-8 senior from Queens went a perfect 6-of-6 from the arc Thursday as Syracuse beat Pittsburgh 62-59 in the Big East Tournament quarterfinals.
In two days in New York, Southerland is 12-of-15 from deep and has scored a combined 40 points.
“It helps his stock a lot because he is on the big stage,” one veteran NBA scout told SNY.tv.
“He’s athletic and long. He shoots it from all over. He would be a nice pick for someone wanting instant offense off the bench.”
Southerland is not currently listed among the Top 100 prospects on DraftExpress.com, but Jonathan Givony, the site’s owner, said that could change.
“I don’t have him getting drafted right now but if he keeps making 80 percent of his 3’s, then we might have to rethink that,” Givony told SNY.tv.
“Anytime you score 40 points and shoot 12-of-15 on 3’s in front of a ton of NBA scouts, it’s going to help you.”
Southerland said he’s not thinking about his stock right now — only about Syracuse’s run in their last-ever Big East Tournament and the NCAA Tournament to follow.
“The only thing that’s going to help me in the future is basically now,” Southerland said. “If you keep winning now, everything will be fine for all of us.”
Southerland said there are a couple of current and former NBA players he models himself after.
“I like to watch guys like Allan Houston and Richard Hamilton, a guy who moves a lot without the ball,” he said. “When he catches it, it’s like an automatic bucket.”
Right now, Southerland is in a shooter’s zone and he will need to keep that up in Friday’s semifinals against No. 1 Georgetown, which smacked the Orange by 22 points in their last meeting.
“When I’m locked in, I’m locked in,” Southerland said.
How locked in is he?
“I didn’t realize I went 6-for-6 [from deep] until I looked down at the sheet right now,” he said.
“I feel very confident in myself. At the same time I’m not trying to force anything. I’m just going in let the game come to me.”
Southerland is just four 3-pointers away from tying Gerry McNamara’s tournament-record of 16 3-pointers made in 2006.
McNamara took 35 3-point shots, and Southerland has taken 15.
“The biggest thing is he’s taking quality shots,” McNamara told SNY.tv. “That makes a big difference in percentage. And when James is taking good looks, he’s making them. There’s not ifs, ands or butts about it, if he gets good shots, he’s going to make them.
Asked to compare Southerland’s performance thusfar with McNamara’s, Orange coach Jim Boeheim said: “He’s ranking up there. He’s getting up there, he’s getting up there.”
And would Gerry Mac mind he mind if Southerland eclipsed his record on Friday night against Georgetown?
“I’ve got no problem with that,” McNamara said. “As long as it’s my guy doing it, I got no problem with that.’
Photo: Daily News
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.