What's next for Dar Tucker?

2009 Big East Mens Basketball Championship in New York

The NBA Draft has concluded and not a single player from Chicago's five NCAA Division I schools was selected. In fact, only one player from Chicago was chosen. (That was Patrick Beverley who played at the University of Arkansas and then moved onto the Ukraine.) 

It wasn't until the very end of the draft that any of Chicago's college players even managed to get mentioned during ESPN's coverage of the draft. DePaul's precocious sophomore forward Dar Tucker snuck onto Jay Bilas' Best Available list in the number six position during the final few picks. Now that Tucker, David Holston, Josh Mayo, Scott VanderMeer and the rest didn't get as much as a mention during the draft, what's next?

For Tucker, who left after just two seasons at DePaul and the Big East, that is a good question. Tucker worked out for a number of NBA teams, so there is definitely a possibility that he could find himself on a summer league team - playing for his professional career in Las Vegas during July. It appears to be a gamble that Tucker was prepared to take all along.

Tucker is a product of America and the AAU system - one the Wall Street Journal took to task in a recent article. He learned how to play offense at a young age. He dominated the ball for the Blue Demons. (Tucker used 32.6 percent of DePaul's possessions - the 17th highest rate in the country.) His preference for dominating the ball appears to have scared off a number of NBA teams.
It seems that if Tucker can't prove he'll be a different player with more talent around him - or magically becomes a better shooter - he'll be stuck playing in the NBA's Development League or in Europe for a few seasons. 
Tucker could've spent the 2009-10 season honing his game against one of the top conferences in college basketball, instead it appears he's destined to spend it playing games in Sioux Falls, Bakersfield and Fort Wayne. You've got to wonder if it really is worth it.

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  • He learned how to play offense at a young age.

    I have no knowledge about what he learned prior to being put in the hands of the incompetent Jerry Wainwright, but any claim that Tucker can play offense comes up against stubborn facts that point in the opposite direction.

    Just look at his numbers last season when compared to other DIv I players: 277th in field goal percentage; 50th in scoring; he didn't even rank in assists per game since he averaged a paltry 1.5; he ranked 374th in Free throw percentage.

    Tucker's problem is that he hasn't learned how to play basketball.

    It was pretty clear that he wasn't going to get drafted given his mediocre college career. It was also pretty clear that Jerry Wainwright is a less-than-mediocre coach who doesn't have the ability to bring a player like Dar to the next level.

    Hopefully he will get some decent coaching and teaching in the NBA dev. league. It really is his only long-term chance. Losing another year with Wainwright would only have contributed to a regression in output.

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