University of Miami

UM guard Sheldon McClellan gets last-minute invite to NBA Draft combine

Sheldon McClellan averaged 16.3 points in his senior season at the University of Miami last season and led the Hurricanes to the NCAA Tournament.
Sheldon McClellan averaged 16.3 points in his senior season at the University of Miami last season and led the Hurricanes to the NCAA Tournament. El Nuevo Herald

Sheldon McClellan got the phone call he was hoping for while napping in Houston on Tuesday afternoon.

The former University of Miami guard received a last-minute invitation to the NBA Draft combine in Chicago, which began Wednesday and runs through Sunday. He is one of 70 players auditioning for the June 23 draft. McClellan had been listed as an alternate and replaced injured Wayne Selden of Kansas.

“My agent called me at 1:30, and I was on a 6 o’clock flight to Chicago,” McClellan said by phone Wednesday. “I’m excited and thankful for the opportunity to showcase my talent in front of all the scouts. I’m not nervous at all because I’ve been playing basketball all my life, and this is what I’ve been playing for.”

McClellan already had workouts with the Boston Celtics and New Orleans, and said “my life’s about to get crazy” with nine more team tryouts scheduled — Indiana on May 17, Brooklyn on May 19, Milwaukee on May 20, Los Angeles on Lakers May 23, Chicago on June 2, San Antonio on June 6, Dallas on June 14, Houston on June 15 and L.A. Clippers on June 20.

He is projected as a second-round pick (No. 53 overall) by Draft Express. As a senior, the 6-5 shooting guard averaged 16.3 points on 50.4 percent shooting from the field, 40 percent shooting from three-point range and 83 percent shooting from the free-throw line.

“Sheldon is an NBA-caliber player, and I think he will show that in these tryouts,” UM coach Jim Larrañaga said. “He has the size and ability of all the two guards out there. He’s strong, fast, can jump, and what will separate him is his shot-making ability. He can hit threes, layups and free throws. He’s good off the catch and the dribble.”

Nineteen players have been drafted in UM history. The highest pick was NBA Hall of Famer Rick Barry, who was chosen No. 2 overall in 1966. Shane Larkin was next at No. 18 in 2014. Tim James went No. 25 in 2000 and John Salmons was No. 26 in 2003.

The other three 2016 seniors — Angel Rodriguez, Tonye Jekiri, and Ivan Cruz Uceda — are not included in most mock drafts. But Rodriguez and Jekiri were among 64 players invited to the Portsmouth Invitational senior showcase in Virginia last month; and Rodriguez stood out. He was named to the All-Tournament team after averaging 12.7 points and a tournament-high 7.7 assists over three games. Jekiri averaged 5.7 points and eight rebounds.

Rodriguez hired agent Pedro Power, a former soccer player with Miami FC and Bolivian team Bolivar, and was invited by Minnesota for a workout. Jekiri has four workouts scheduled.

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