The Miami Heat struck gold once with a Santa Fe High School graduate in Josh Richardson.
Perhaps lighting could strike twice when Edmond, Oklahoma native DaQuan Jeffries displays his talents as a late invite to the NBA Combine.
Jeffries built his reputation at Richardson’s alma mater for his outstanding performances on the defensive side of the floor.
“Jeffries played inside for the Wolves because of his size and strength, but showed the athletic ability and skills to transition into a shooting guard at the next level. He averaged 16 points and eight rebounds per game and was named the Defensive Player of the Year in the Central Oklahoma Athletic Conference.”
TheStephien compares Jeffries to Draymond Green and PJ Tucker as small-ball centers who excel in post-season action.
“Many great regular season players — the most obvious being by-in-large traditional or semi-traditional centers — see their value atrophy in the playoffs. Think of Rudy Gobert versus spread offenses.”
“While other players, though this is a lesser phenomenon, may see their value spike to levels they will never consistently see during the regular season. Here we can point to a player like PJ Tucker, whose ability to play small ball center and excel truly in ways he simply did not as a mere wing...”
“Built like a linebacker, Jeffries can seem a little stiff in his movement, but if you watch Tulsa you will often notice that one player is quarterbacking the defense and consistently getting everyone into proper position. That player is Jeffries. (Draymond Green performed a similar function on his Michigan State teams, as have many great defenders.)”
In this highlight mixtape Jeffries displays a lot of Russell Westbrook mannerisms as he doesn’t simply attack the rim, but obliterates it with ferocious dunks.
Jeffries imitating Russell’s finger-pointing, flexing, strutting, and intense physicality as he flies around the court hints at a professional attitude of total commitment to his craft.
The same report mentions his solid stats at Tulsa,
“Super high 2-point %, high and consistent 3-point %, low Turnovers, assist-to-turnover better than one, steals and blocks per 40 both over one, much better rim protection numbers as a junior when he played closer to the basket, and a free throw percentage near 80%, 3PAr and FTAr both .4 or higher.”
His slash line last season for 2Pt%/3Pt%/FT% was .612/.366/.755, while he upped the number of 3-point attempts per game to almost as many as his 2-point ones, 5.6 versus 7.0.
Although lacking buzz outside the ACC, The UConn Blog identified him as the conference’s “most underrated player.”
“Further down the bracket, Tulsa is led by the AAC’s most underrated player in DaQuan Jeffries, a true two-way player whose modest stats mask his huge impact.”
For what it’s worth without Zion Williamson, Jeffries won the 2019 Great Clips Slam Dunk Championship.
Seen as a fringe draft selection for Miami’s purposes he might fit on a two-way contract deal as the Heat stash players for the summer of 2020 when more cap space materializes.
“Though he’s also one that is more likely, as of now, to end up in Europe. Over and over again evaluators take for granted those players who do the little things to win, believing they can change the temperament and mindset of “more talented” players, not realizing, despite so many examples to the contrary, that the temperament and mindset to be attentive to details, to, for lack of a better word, care for the game itself, is itself a talent.”
Elon Musk, the founder of Telsa and SpaceX, said pretty much the same thing at Draper University when asked for his single-best piece of advice for young entrepreneurs.
“I think it’s very difficult to start companies, it’s quite painful. A friend of mine has a good phrase for doing a startup: it’s like eating glass and staring into the abyss. If you are wired to do it, then only do it, not otherwise. So think of it this way - if you need inspiring words, DON’T DO IT!”
In other words, some people just aren’t hard-wired to endure the pain and pay the price to reach the top.