The Commercial Appeal

Former Tigers Stephens, Thomas go undrafted

- By Jason Smith

When former University of Memphis forward Adonis Thomas announced in March 2012 that he planned to return to school for his sophomore season, he did so with the hope of becoming an NBA lottery pick in 2013.

That didn’t happen, as Thomas shot a less-thanstella­r 40.5 percent from the field at Memphis last season and didn’t develop into the dominant college player many believed he would be coming out of Melrose High in 2011.

Thomas, who worked out for 13 NBA teams after announcing in April he planned to forgo his final two seasons of eligibilit­y at Memphis, and his former Tigers teammate, D.J. Stephens, weren’t among the 60 players selected in Thursday’s draft.

Some mock drafts had Thomas and Stephens projected as second-round picks.

Thomas (6- 6, 230), who dropped around 10-1 5 pounds in preparatio­n for Thursday’s draft, ranked second for Memphis in scoring (11.7 points per game) and fourth in rebounding (4.5 per game) last season. He was a third-team all- C-USA selection.

Stephens (6- 6, 194), last year’s Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year and a third-team allC-USA selection, averaged 7.6 points and a teamleadin­g 6.6 rebounds per game as a senior last year. He had a C-USA-best 95 blocked shots, the fourthmost in a season by a Tigers player.

Coach Josh Pastner had said before Thursday’s draft that he believed both players would be selected.

Though they weren’t, Thomas and Stephens will still likely be invited to NBA free-agent camps to try out for a team.

“It’s not about (Thursday),” Pastner said. “It’s about working to get yourself on a team by producing on the floor when you get into summer leagues and from there making the most of that opportunit­y. Both guys are gonna do it. I truly believe it.”

 ??  ?? D. J. Stephens
D. J. Stephens
 ??  ?? Adonis Thomas
Adonis Thomas

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