Jordan McRae on Robert Hubbs, the PRTL
On Friday morning, the day after the NBA Draft, Jordan McRae will fly north to Washington D.C. The Tennessee senior will head directly to the registration table at the Kevin Durant Skills Academy.
There he will find an array of NBA scouts. They’ll be on-hand defining and refining the stocks of potential picks in next year’s draft.
McRae is looking to improve his fluctuating value.
After rising to rank among the SEC’s top scorers last season, McRae’s stock hit a bear market to close the year. Having averaged 22.3 points over a nine-game, regular-season ending stretch (eight wins), McRae scored 16 points on 6-of-27 shooting in UT’s final two games — losses in the SEC tournament and National Invitational Tournament.
“That’s all just motivation now,” he said Monday night after a ho-hum 42-point outing in the Rocky Top League at Christian Academy of Knoxville.
McRae was an All-SEC first-team selection by both the SEC coaches and media last year. He can expect the same preseason accolades in 2013-14 after spurning the draft to return to UT for his final season.
Those honors mean little to that stock.
“I have a lot to work on,” said McRae, who added that he’ll watch Thursday’s draft with a clear mind.
“It’s over with,” he said. “I made my choice and that was it. I never thought about it again. As soon as I made my choice, it was what it was. I’m very happy with the choice I made.”
The three-day Durant Camp is an invitation-only skills camp for the nation’s top high school and college wing players. McRae will look for balance in D.C. — working on his game while also trying to stand out.
“You want to be vocal out there and try to do more than just scoring,” McRae said. “They know I can score the ball. It’s me showing I have more to my game than just scoring.”
McRae, to the surprise of no one, was the No. 1 pick in this summer’s Rocky Top League. That draft was held at a bar in West Knoxville, instead of the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, home of the NBA’s affair.
The disparity hasn’t bothered McRae. He’s lived up to his No. 1 billing, averaging 46.7 points in three Rocky Top League games.
After notching a 61-point performance last week, McRae dominated again on Monday night. Thirty-three seconds into the 93-91 win against Knoxville News Sentinel, he flipped in a step-back, pull-up 3-pointer with an accompanying smirk. In the second half, he reached far, far back and punished the rim with an ohh-ahh dunk. He winked at teammate Jeronne Maymon sitting courtside while jogging back down the floor.
The Durant Camp won’t come as easy. Given last year’s scoring splurge, McRae is traveling with a newfound spotlight.
That attention, he claims, hasn’t altered the offseason work.
“I’m working on everything as if I just started playing — not trying to add too much, but trying to fix what I couldn’t do well and improve what I did do well,” he said.
DeRoyal 118, Next Level 97: UT’s A.J. Davis (29 points) and D’Montre Edwards (27) starred in the win, while Vols freshman Robert Hubbs canned six 3-pointers and scored 28 in a losing effort.
Campus Lights 93, News Sentinel 91: McRae led all scorers with 42. UT alum Wayne Chism scored 25 for the News Sentinel.
Choice Spine 96, Rice Buick GMC 91: Boo Jackson scored 24 points for Choice Spine, which overcame 28 points apiece from UT’s Josh Richardson and Armani Moore.
Brendan F. Quinn covers Tennessee men’s basketball. Follow him at Twitter.com/BFQuinn.