Men’s Basketball: Barea prepares for NBA Draft

Men’s Basketball: Barea prepares for NBA Draft

Former Northeastern basketball star Jose Juan Barea is beginning to rack up points outside of Matthew’s Arena.

That is, airline mileage points.

Along with his fellow departing seniors, Barea has been busy finding employment. Recently, he has worked out for the Minnesota Timberwolves, Los Angeles Lakers, Toronto Raptors, Sacramento Kings, Golden State Warriors and Boston Celtics.

The Colonial Athletic Association Player of the Year is currently in Puerto Rico, not the NBA Pre-Draft Camp, held June 6 through June 10 in Orlando. Barea is preparing for the NBA Draft on June 28.

“He did a real nice job,” said Celtics Director of Player Personnel Leo Papile. “He’s real competitive and has a real powerful physique, which is especially good for a point guard and for a guy his size.”

“He was right up there with Marcus Williams [a potential lottery pick out of the University of Connecticut],” Papile said. “[Barea] is very draftable. From spots 31-60 there are 75 guys who warrant being drafted, and in many instances organizations draft a player only to retain his rights while he plays elsewhere. That could happen to Barea, and it could work to his advantage and disadvantage for his future.”

Barea’s stock appears to be rising in the professional league after his impressive performance at the Portsmouth Invitational earlier in April. He averaged 15 points per game, 13.6 assists and 5.6 rebounds while only turning over the ball five times during the weekend. Barea’s quickness, ball handling and ability to penetrate have had the scouts talking.

“[Professional teams] see some things they didn’t know that Barea could do,” said Richard Katz, Barea’s agent. “His ability to rebound the ball is a surprise, he mixed it up with the big guys.”

Of course, this is all old news for Huntington Avenue fans have watched Barea become Northeastern’s second all-time leader in scoring (2290) and assists (721) during his time as a Husky. He has also been the recipient of many honors, including three all-conference first team selections, an All-American honorable mention, and www.Colleginsider.com Mid-Major Player of the Year in 2005-06.

“I think going into the end of the year, he was considered a free agent and maybe a second-round pick,” Katz said. “Now he’s moved into a solid position in the second round and I think he has solid potential after these workouts.”

Barea is hoping to become the 15th Husky selected in the NBA Draft, joining an exclusive club that includes Husky great Reggie Lewis, who was a first-round selection by the Celtics in 1987. However, he is not saying what team he thinks will draft him.

“He and I have some idea as to what team may need him,” Katz said. “And he wants to play no matter where it might be.”

The question Huntington Avenue wants answered: are the Celtics willing to draft another Husky 19 years after taking Lewis?

“Our first pick is number seven in the draft, so we probably won’t there at seven,” said Papile. “We do have an interest in point guards, and I’ve known him since high school. His physical gifts are what he grades out for.”

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