Honeycutt goes to Sacramento at No. 35, Lee goes to Minnesota at 43

By Jon Gold
Staff Writer

Tyler Honeycutt traveled all the way to New Jersey for the NBA Draft, choosing to watch his future unfold in the spotlight.

Malcolm Lee didn’t even bother to flip on ESPN, soothing his already-frayed nerves with more tension, instead deciding to take in the suspenseful thriller Super 8.

Different options, but nearly the same result, as Honeycutt was selected by the Sacramento Kings with the 35th pick – the fifth pick in the second round – while Lee went eight slots later, to Minnesota (via Chicago) at pick No. 43.

Honeycutt was projected as a first-round pick for much of the draft process, even rated in the top-20 by some prognosticators, but he his pre-camp workout results were mixed, and he failed to bench press 185 pounds at the combine.

“It was really frustrating, a little nervous; I expected to go earlier,” Honeycutt said. “I think a lot of it had to do with my body and wondering if I could play at the next level because of my weight.”

Honeycutt, who is listed at 6-foot-8, 188 pounds, averaged 12.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and 2.1 blocks in 35 minutes per game as a sophomore in helping lead the Bruins to the third round of the NCAA Tournament. The Sylmar High product considered the team’s potential for next season before ultimately deciding to declare early and hire an agent, but had no regrets.

“Nope, I don’t have any regrets,” Honeycutt said. “Once the season ended, I knew it what I wanted to do. I don’t regret it at all.”

Lee, meanwhile, joins former UCLA star Kevin Love with the Timberwolves, where he should have a chance to stick because of his defensive capabilities, which should complement new point guard Ricky Rubio.

Lee, who was selected in the same spot as former UCLA forward Trevor Ariza in 2004-05, was second on the team in scoring at 13.1 points per game (14th in the Pac-10) and finished fourth in rebounding at 3.1 rpg. He also averaged 2.0 assists and 0.7 steals per game in 2010-11 and was named First Team All-Pac-10 this season as well as to the Pac-10 All-Defensive Team.

“I just have to work from here,” Lee said. “I have one foot in the door; I just have to keep it going.”

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  • Anonymous

    Both of these guys should have stayed another year, contending for a national title, and raising their draft status. Shower advised them cheated these players out of a better college legacy and millions of dollars over the span of their careers.

  • anon

    yikes, in a draft down on talent and with the possibility of a lockout, they land solidly in the second round.

    and isn’t Minnesota loaded with guards? what a terrible situation for Lee.

    oh well, life is what you make of it and these guys will now have to buckle down to survive…

  • Blitzed

    Really a shame. Makes you wonder who advises these guys(Not just them either. Selby, Jordan Williams, etc all should have stayed in school). Two legitimate first round talents if they return for another year. Honeycutt I think will be fine in the long run. But I feel for Malcolm. Going to a (very) bad organization at a position they draft for every year. I really hope he gets the chance to stick around and develop.

  • Bruin4Life

    They should have stayed 4 years – only incredibly advanced talent should leave early (Love, Westbrook) and even then staying has never really hurt many people from what I can tell. It’s likely that in some cases the rigors of the academics catch up with them and they have no other option but to leave (and failing out doesn’t help the image much). I don’t know if academics figured in their situations, but whatever it was (lure of fame, etc.) they clearly weren’t and aren’t ready for even the D League. They have a slim chance to make it, and now it is up to them. So much for any potential “legacy” at UCLA.

  • Luuuuuuuuc

    Wasn’t academics, at least for Lee. He had one of the higher GPAs on the team. Just bad advice.

  • Aaron

    I disagree that it was bad advice. There is little evidence to support the idea that either of them would have raised their draft status by staying another year – only that they would have become better basketball players.

  • Blitzed

    Better basketball players get drafted higher. If they were to have stayed and won next year, they would have been bigger names, better players and ultimately higher picks. They are now two guys who aren’t guaranteed a dime or even a roster spot for that matter.