Chad Ford: Sam Dekker is an ‘Elite’ Athlete


ESPN Senior Writer Chad Ford has nothing but high praise for former Wisconsin Badgers star Sam Dekker as the NBA-bound player goes through his 2015 NBA Draft Combine workouts.

Earlier this week, Ford took in one of Dekker’s workouts, and wrote (subscription required) that Dekker isn’t just a good athlete, he’s an elite athlete. Working out with a group of players he also considers good athletes, Dekker stood out to the analyst.

"“Seeing him on the court with three other good athletes — [Arkansas’ Bobby Portis, Kansas’ Cliff Alexander, Wyoming’s Larry Nance Jr.] — Dekker really popped in his explosive leaping ability. It will be fascinating to see how he tests at the combine. I could see him doing very, very well.”"

It’s no surprise to Wisconsin Badgers fans that Dekker’s athleticism would be questioned. It’s pretty much a given that those not watching day after day have some preconceived notions about the Badgers and the type of players they recruit.

Some of those preconceived notions aren’t too far off base, but when it comes to Dekker, he breaks the mold.

Wisconsin Badgers
Wisconsin Badgers /

Wisconsin Badgers

Dekker is much more explosive than most give him credit for, and his length and quickness will make him a desirable asset on defense as he continues to refine his offensive game.

Clearly, Dekker knows he has things to work on on the offensive end, as when asked by Ford what he’s been focusing on the past few weeks, Dekker said his ball handling.

"“I’ve always been a good ball handler, but when you take it to the next level, you have to be even better. I’m also trying to get more consistent in my jump shot. I think I’ve taken long strides in my confidence and consistency. It’s feeling good. But it can always get better.”"

Ford, while he likes the athleticism he sees from Dekker, has some questions about the Wisconsin product’s game, namely his jump shooting and three point shooting and if he can get to the consistency needed to survive in the NBA.

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  • "“The biggest question on every NBA scouts mind is his jump shot. Dekker with an elite jump shot is a top-10 pick. Without it, he’s more of a mid-first round guy. The good news is that Dekker seems to be adjusting to the longer NBA 3-point line just fine. In one of the last drills of the morning, Dekker shot 16-of-25 from the NBA 3-point line.”"

    While Ford calls him an elite athlete, he’s not ready to label Dekker an elite shooter.

    "“At this point Dekker isn’t an elite 3-point shooter — just a solid one. He can make that shot, but it’s still inconsistent. Figuring that out (as many players like him have done before) will be a major key to his success in the NBA. His draft stock looks to be solidly in the No. 10 to No. 15 range.”"

    Dekker should continue to impress NBA teams on and off the course as the draft process continues.

    Next: Dekker, Kaminsky Measure Up

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