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.
NBA Draft 2021: UConn’s James Bouknight impresses at Pro Day, makes a push for Top 6 pick
By ADAM ZAGORIA
UConn guard James Bouknight wowed NBA personnel at his Pro Day on Saturday in Chicago and is making a push for a Top-6 pick in the July 29 NBA Draft.
“A guy that maybe helped himself more than anybody else in the [NBA Combine] was Bouknight,” one NBA Director of Scouting said. “He had one of the most impressive shooting performances I’ve ever seen. He was bombing threes, I mean it was insane.”
Said another NBA executive who attended the Combine: “Bouknight shot the heck out of the ball. He has good size and athleticism. He could go in the Top 6.”
The 6-foot-5 Bouknight is a Brooklyn native who averaged 18.7 points and 5.7 boards in his second season at UConn, dropping 40 on Creighton. He missed eight games mid-season after undergoing surgery for a left elbow injury.
He said last week via Zoom he thinks he would fit well with the Knicks, who pick at 19 and 21 and are reportedly looking to trade up.
“I feel like me on the Knicks, I feel like that fit would be great,” Bouknight said Thursday on a Zoom. “Just get another guard that you could give him the ball and ask him to get a basket.
“I feel like my play-making ability is under-rated and just getting to a team where I can showcase that part of my game, I feel like that is essential and I feel like I can do that with the Knicks.”
UConn coach Dan Hurley thinks Bouknight could go anywhere after the Top 5.
“Once you get to 6, in today’s NBA and how important dynamic guards are, it’s hard to pass on him,” Hurley said.
“He’s a dynamic shot-maker which goes a long way in the NBA,” Hurley added. “He can score at all three levels. He’s a better 3-point shooter with range than he showed this year, partially because of the injury. He can play on the ball.”
He added: “For me, I don’t know how you pass on a guy that can be that dynamic.”
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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.