Barry Jackson

Heat to audition athletic guard shrouded in some mystery

Terrance Ferguson speaks to reporters during Day Two of the NBA Draft Combine at Quest MultiSport Complex on May 12, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois.
Terrance Ferguson speaks to reporters during Day Two of the NBA Draft Combine at Quest MultiSport Complex on May 12, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. Getty Images

Terrance Ferguson, an intriguing 6-7 wing player who opted for a year of pro basketball in Australia instead of one year playing major college basketball, will do a private workout for the Heat on Wednesday in Miami, according to league sources.

Many draft analysts have Ferguson going anywhere between the mid-teens and the late-20s. Miami picks 14th.

Ferguson initially committed to Alabama, and then to Arizona but instead opted to play one season for the Adelaide 36ers of the Australian Basketball League.

That allowed him to circumvent the NBA rule that players must be one year removed from high school before entering the draft.

“The year was tough,” Ferguson told The Denver Post. “I’m not going to lie. It was tough.”

Playing mostly against older players – many significantly older – Ferguson, who turned 19 last month, averaged just 4.6 points and 15.2 minutes per game and shot 31 percent on three-pointers.

He’s projected at shooting guard but might be able to play some small forward eventually if he strengthens his body and bulks up. He’s listed at 184 pounds.

ESPN’s Chad Ford, who has Miami picking Gonzaga center Zach Collins at 14, has Ferguson falling to Brooklyn at 27th.

“Ferguson has watched his draft stock drop in recent weeks after struggling a bit in workouts against players like Luke Kennard,” Ford said, with Kennard also among those working out for Miami on Wednesday. “[Ferguson] a good shooter and a great athlete, but the rest of his game needs a lot of development.”

One Eastern Conference scout praised Ferguson’s quickness and athleticism but said his jump shot remains a question and that 14 would be too high for him.

Nevertheless, the Heat wants a closer look.

“He’s a very mature kid who's an athletic, jump-out-of-the-gym player,” a Southwest Division personnel man told NBA.com’s David Aldridge in his series of draft previews. “He’s a lane-runner who wants to play in transition. Nice release jumper as he's streaky with shot – [he] has learned to play a slower pace with a purpose being in Australia. He learned to bang and get hit with mature pros as league and is solid.”

Another scout told Aldridge: “He’s thin. His body’s going to take some time. He’s never going to be big and bulky; he’s got to be wiry strong. It’s going to take him some time to physically mature. But he’s really athletic. He can play way above the rim. But he can’t put the ball on the floor real well. It’s mostly lobs and things like that where you see the athleticism, not him creating his own shot.

“He’s mostly a spot-up shooter. You can play him off of screens a little bit. And surprisingly, he posted a little bit in Australia, which is surprising for a guy who’s light in the (rear) like that. But he wasn’t bad. He’s a project because he’s young -- not a project like you’d think of a big. It’s just going to take some time.”

Ferguson attended high school at Advanced Prepatory International in Dallas and Rivals.com rated him a five-star player and 14th among all class of 2016 prospects.

Kennard, Vanderbilt center Luke Kornet and Wake Forest power forward/center John Collins are among other players working out for the Heat on Wednesday.

  Comments