Monday, June 27, 2011

Honeycutt taken 2nd Round #35 overall by Sacramento, vows revenge to the haters

Tyler Honeycutt slips out of first round

By Blair Angulo
June, 23, 2011
7:54 PM PT

Well, that didn't unfold how Tyler Honeycutt had originally planned.

There was no hesitation in Honeycutt's voice when he declared for the NBA draft in March, 10 days after UCLA was bounced from the NCAA tournament. He confidently backed his decision, saying simply: "I think it's in my best interest to enter the draft."

Honeycutt, by all accounts, believed he had a shot to crack the lottery portion of the draft (the first 14 picks). He left school despite the looming threat of an NBA lockout, despite some glaring holes in his game, perhaps driven by the thought that his stock was higher than it ever would be.

The Sylmar native couldn't have imagined he'd slip out of the first round, but that's exactly what happened Thursday as Honeycutt fell to the Sacramento Kings at 35th overall, the fifth pick in the second round.

He was in attendance at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., and appeared to breathe a sigh of relief when his name was called. As recently as this week, Honeycutt was ranked No. 26 overall by's Chad Ford.

Honeycutt turned out to be the fourth Pac-10 player taken, after Arizona's Derrick Williams (second overall, Minnesota Timberwolves), Washington State's Klay Thompson (11th overall, Golden State Warriors) and USC's Nikola Vucevic (16th overall, Philadelphia 76ers).

Heading into Thursday, UCLA was tied with Kentucky and Ohio State for the most first-round selections in the last five years with six each. Of those three programs, only Kentucky had a player taken in the first -- guard Brandon Knight went eighth overall to the Detroit Pistons.


VIDEO: Honeycutt discusses his NBA draft experience
June, 23, 2011
11:57 PM PT's Arash Markazi catches up with Tyler Honeycutt after the former Bruin was taken by the Sacramento Kings in the second round of the NBA draft with the No. 35 overall pick.


Honeycutt remains confident after slipping

By Peter Yoon
June, 24, 2011
12:11 AM PT

Tyler Honeycutt had pretty high hopes for the NBA draft, so high, in fact, that he was in attendance at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., expecting to hear his name called during the first round.

But as the picks went on and the first round turned to the second, Honeycutt sat in the audience without a hat to put on until the Sacramento Kings took him with the fifth pick in the second round (35th overall).

"A little frustrating, a little nervousness when the first went into the second," Honeycutt said in a conference call with reporters after the draft. "I expected to go a little earlier, but it is what it is and I’m going to try and make the best of my situation."

Honeycutt left UCLA after his sophomore season and most mock drafts had him going late in the first round. Some had him as high as the top 15, so it was somewhat of a surprise that he slipped to the early part of the second round. Honeycutt said his body type -- he's 6 feet 8 but only 188 pounds --might have scared off some teams.

"A lot of it I think is just my body and people wondering if I can play at the next level because of my weight," he said. "You can teach certain things and weight is one of those things you can teach. That is something I want to improve on, need to improve on and will improve on."

He said he plans to hit the weight room hard, something he acknowledged he didn't do much of during his two seasons at UCLA, and said he was confident in his ability to succeed at the NBA level.

"I'm going to go out there to try to show a lot of teams they made a mistake today," he said.

He cited Wesley Matthews as an example of someone who had done exactly that. Matthews was undrafted in 2009, but became a starter on the Utah Jazz that season and last season signed a five-year, $34-million free agent deal with the Portland Trail Blazers.

"He did what he had to do to make sure his second contract was big and he’s making more money than Blake Griffin now," Honeycutt said.

Honeycutt, an athletic small forward, is a top-flight set shooter with good court vision, but lacks on-ball defensive prowess and has extended periods when he checks out mentally. He said getting picked in the second round will serve as motivation to correct his weaknesses.

"It’s not going to slow me down or discourage me at all," he said. "It’s going to make me work harder. I’ve been doubted a lot in my career about what I can and can’t do."

As a second-round selection, Honeycutt will have to work harder to earn his way onto the team and with a potential lockout looming, he might not have too much time in front of the decision makers to prove himself. Still, Honeycutt is confident he already has made a good impression.

"They’ve seen me work out and I can only show them more of my athleticism," he said. "I think I’m the most athletic player in this draft."

Even after he fell to the 35th pick?

"Certain teams are looking for certain things and a lot of it plays into politics," he said. "But I left that to guys who were going to make that decision tonight and it played out very well for me."


NBA draft: Kings select Honeycutt in 2nd round

posted by Adam Maya, staff writer
Orange County Register, UCLA Blog
June 23rd, 2011, 7:40 pm

Maybe NBA Commissioner David Stern could have brought a smile to Tyler Honeycutt‘s face. The UCLA swingman attended the NBA Draft on Thursday in New Jersey, where he sat and listened with a straight face upon Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver announcement that he had been selected in the second round.

Honeycutt, who left UCLA after his sophomore year, was taken by the Sacramento Kings with the 35th pick overall.

Upon declaring for the the draft in March, Honeycutt talked about this being a weak draft and expecting to go in the first round.

ESPN analyst Jay Bilas praised 6-8, 187-pound Honeycutt’s athleticism, noting he is a good passer and sees the floor well but needs to get stronger and improve his ball-handling.

Honeycutt is the 11th NBA draft pick for UCLA during the Ben Howland era.

“I’m elated for Tyler Honeycutt,” Howland said. “He’ll be a long-time pro in the NBA. He is going to continue to improve each and every year he plays the game.”

As a sophomore, Honeycutt started in 33 of 34 games at small forward while helping the Bruins compile a record of 23-11 and a runner-up finish in the Pac-10 Conference (13-5) in 2010-11. As a first team All-Pac-10 performer in 2010-11, Honeycutt was third on the team in scoring (12.8 ppg, ranked 15th in the Pac-10) and was second in rebounding (7.2 rpg, ranked 7th in the league). He led the team and the Pac-10 in blocked shots at 2.1 bpg (68 blocks), which ranks third on the UCLA single season charts.

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