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Is Omar Samhan an NBA player?

On Thursday morning, March 18, you had no idea who Omar Samhan was. Admit it. I didn’t, and I live in California and watch a whole lot of basketball. This guy, and St. Mary’s, were not on the NBA radar.

By the next Monday, he was your favorite new player. He had dropped 29 points on Richmond and 32 on Villanova. Didn’t really look like an NBA body, was not leaping out of the building, but the guy was getting it done. And those guys -- big men who can just find a way around the rim -- can find their way in the NBA.

Then he went up against an actual future NBA frontcourt in Baylor and needed 17 shots to get his 15 points. He impressed nobody that night.

So, can Samhan play in the NBA? ESPN’s player development guru (and all around good guy David Thorpe) said, basically, nobody knows (the link is Insider, but Thorpe would be the reason to get Insider, he’s that good). Samhan hasn’t played much against the kind of competition you can judge him against. Samhan is going to get a chance in camps and workouts to prove he belongs.

“The upcoming NBA draft workouts will be the first time he’ll see NBA size and talent almost every day, from his pre-draft training to the three or four workouts per week he’ll likely be attending throughout the spring. Some of the smarter teams will schedule an early workout with him, then plan on seeing him again just before the draft. It’s an excellent way to mark progress.”

Basically, does he get better as workouts go on, does his conditioning dramatically improve and does he figure out how to use his body on better players? If so, there is “upside” and somebody may take a second round shot with him. If he doesn’t improve, well, there are other places to make a living playing besides the NBA. It’s on him.