GW men’s basketball stars Shawnta Rogers and Yegor Mescheriakov both said they expected to be selected in the NBA Draft.
After all, the 5-4 Rogers was the Atlantic 10 Player of the Year and led the nation in assists, while Mescheriakov possesses the size and the range on his jump shot that scouts usually like.
But when the final pick had been made, neither player had been chosen in the draft held at the MCI Center June 30.
Despite not being drafted, both players still have a chance to be signed by an NBA team.
Rogers said both the New Jersey Nets and the New York Knicks are interested in him, and he may work out with both teams later this month. Mescheriakov said he will be attending a workout with the Nets starting at the end of July and said that GW graduate Alexander Koul will be there as well.
But no matter how things turn out with NBA clubs, both players said they hope to be playing professional basketball next season.
“I want to play somewhere,” Rogers said. “I’ve been playing too long not to do something with it, whether it’s overseas or here. It’s still my dream.”
In coasting to all-conference honors in his senior season, Rogers led the A-10 in scoring (20.7 points per game), steals (103) and assists (196) in 29 games. But three other A-10 players were drafted – Lamar Odom of Rhode Island and James Posey of Xavier were picked in the first round, and Eddie Lucas of Virginia Tech was taken by Utah with the last pick. Rogers said he was also surprised by how many point guards were selected instead of him.
“They keep saying that size thing, but I’m only a couple inches shorter than some of them, and I know they can’t defend like I can,” Rogers said. “I should have been picked ahead of every point guard that got picked; that’s how I feel.”
Mescheriakov said he was surprised and disappointed when he was not drafted. He said the Nets were very interested in taking him with their only pick of the draft, 34th overall. But when highly rated players started dropping down in the draft, Mescheriakov said the Nets decided to go another way and took center Evan Eschmeyer from Northwestern University.
“I was thinking I would go in the 30s or 40s (out of 58 picks),” Mescheriakov said. “New Jersey was really liking me, but unfortunately New Jersey only had one pick.”
Along with Rogers, Mescheriakov helped lead GW to its first out-right A-10 West Division title and its third NCAA Tournament appearance in four years. The 6-9 forward averaged 17.6 ppg and 6.8 rebounds per game.
Mescheriakov said he isn’t sure how things will turn out with the Nets, but if he doesn’t make it in the NBA he said he’ll look overseas for an opportunity to play.
“I’ll see if it’s worth it to be there (at the Nets’ workout),” he said. “Europe is Plan `B’ if New Jersey says `Come back in a year or two.'”
Although Mescheriakov was not among the players selected, many foreign players were – six in all, many of them all but unknown to basketball analysts in the U.S.
The last GW player to be drafted into the NBA was Yinka Dare, who was taken by the Nets with the 14th pick overall in the 1994 draft.