For two players who were selected in the second round of the NBA draft Thursday, UCLA's Tyler Honeycutt and Malcolm Lee seemed almost defiant about their decisions to leave college early.
"I think I'm the most athletic player in this draft," Honeycutt, a small forward who was selected 35th overall by the Sacramento Kings, said during a teleconference with reporters, pointing out his 41-inch vertical leap during predraft workouts.
Said Lee, a shooting guard who was picked No. 43 by the Chicago Bulls only to be immediately traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves: "I look at it as a perfect situation."
It's certainly not as ideal as it would have been had they been taken in the first round.
By falling into the second round, neither player is guaranteed a contract, meaning their ability to make a season-opening roster is somewhat tenuous. Their situations are made all the more precarious by the looming lockout that is expected to wipe out the NBA's summer leagues, a proving ground for young players.
Honeycutt, who left the Bruins after a sophomore season in which he scored more than 20 points in only one game, dropped precipitously from some projections that had him as a borderline lottery pick a few months ago.
"I'm going to go there and try and show a lot of teams they made a mistake," he said.