By Jon Gold
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.”