After seemingly acquiring their ideal prospect in Mario Hezonja with the No. 5 pick, the Orlando Magic followed up by selecting Tyler Harvey out of Eastern Washington University 51st overall.
After redshirting his freshman year of college and playing 14 minutes off the bench the following year, Harvey blew away the expectations of coaches and fans when he posted averages of 21.8 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.1 steals in nearly 38 minutes each contest in his junior season. The following 2014-2015 season, Harvey further honed his skills, which were shown in increased statistics of 23.1 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.1 steals. His outstanding shooting ability helped him to lead the NCAA in scoring for the season at a mark that surpassed 23 points a game. Harvey shot an impressive 43% from 3-point land, smashing both his own EWU and Big-Sky conference record for most made 3-pointers in a single season with 128.
Graphic via fan-i
In his final of three years under the tenure of Jim Hayford, the two-time First-Team All-Big Sky selection led Eastern Washington University to their first NCAA tournament appearance in ten years. Although the Eagles went on to lose to the Georgetown Hoyas in the first round, Harvey’s 27 points in the elimination game were enough to show scouts he can perform when it matters and has a chance to survive at the next level.
Harvey is as prolific of a pure scorer as the NCAA has to offer as the nation’s leading scorer can create his own shots off the dribble and well as threaten defenses with his shooting stroke from all areas of the court. His great 3-point shot opens the entire court up for him, making his midrange shot and free throw shooting ability all the more important to his game. Former teammates and coaches have raved about Harvey’s work ethic as he’s not only a diligent worker in practice and in the locker room, but he’s also known to be an avid student of the game who calls the film room his second home.
At -4 and weighing , Harvey is adequately undersized for the off-guard position in the NBA. Add to this the fact that his athleticism is lackluster at best, and you can see why there are tons of defensive concerns around him. His game and ball skills certainly do not translate to point guard at the pro level and he has already struggled mightily against college level shooting guards, so his transition to the NBA looks to be a rough one.
All in all, taking into consideration Harvey’s defensive ability and physical prowess and it’s no surprise why he was projected and taken late in the second round even after an outstanding 2014-2015 season that saw him finish as the second leading scorer in EWU history. When the Orlando Magic selected him they knew they were getting the good with the bad in Harvey, and that is certainly an OK risk to take this late in the draft as the potential for him to carve out a role off the bench in the near future is not out of the question.
Graphic via magicbasketballonline