It didnít take long for Warren Ward to earn the respect of fellow NBA hopefuls once he started training at Impact Basketball in Las Vegas. After a few sessions of drills and a handful of pick-up games, Wardís peers realized that he is incredibly talented and capable of taking over games. On a number of occasions, he looked like the best player on the court during pick-up games, which is impressive considering heís playing with prospects who are expected to be picked in the 2013 NBA Draft.
Ward, who was born in Ontario and starred at the University of Ottawa, has been working out with members of this yearís draft class, but the 23-year-old shooting guard wonít hear his name called by NBA Commissioner David Stern on June 27. Itís not because he isnít talented enough to be selected; itís because heís not draft eligible, something he discovered after arriving in Las Vegas to train. He played five years at Ottawa, which is common in Canada, but players are automatically eligible after their fourth season of college basketball. That means he couldíve been selected during the 2012 NBA Draft, but he had no idea that he was even in the pool of potential draftees.
ďAs soon as youíre done with four years of school, you automatically get put in the draft and I didnít know that,Ē Ward said. ďIn Canada, you can do five years and thatís what I did. So while this was my last year of school and technically I just graduated, your name is automatically put in there after four years.Ē
That means Ward is an undrafted free agent so he can sign with any NBA team this offseason. The former Canadian star has already received interest from a number of teams including the Toronto Raptors
, Indiana Pacers, Orlando Magic and Atlanta Hawks among others. Heíll likely work out for these teams in the coming weeks. He also has several teams ready to offer him a spot on their summer league team. He has a large chip on his shoulder and heís determined to prove he belongs in the NBA. However, he is also extremely down to earth and knows his role.