Jamie Skeen aided by VCU’s run

Final Four provided stage

Jamie Skeen describes his demeanor as “not cocky, but confident.”

It was just over three months ago that the Virginia Commonwealth University power forward led his squad on one of the most unforgettable runs in NCAA tournament history.

Now he aims to carry it over to the next level.

On Thursday, Skeen hopes to follow in the footsteps of pros Eric Maynor and Larry Sanders and become the third VCU player to be drafted into the NBA in three years.

But getting there has required more than just a hope and a dream. In the last month and a half, Skeen has been like a businessman, traveling the U.S. and showcasing his talents in front of 15 NBA squads. His latest destinations were Miami, Memphis, Atlanta and Charlotte.

“I’m getting good reactions from [NBA coaches],” Skeen said. “I gradually got better at each workout on that road trip.”

Skeen admits the journey has been exhausting, but he finds a word of motivation the morning of every workout from his former coach at VCU, Shaka Smart.

Smart, who found Wake Forest transfer Skeen waiting when he took over at VCU, sends the player a text message before every workout that begins with the name “King” after his favorite player, LeBron James.

“He’s just been telling me to go out there and give it my all like it was in the season when I was playing out of my mind,” Skeen said.

That may be an understatement for how well the 23-year-old played toward the end of the season. He averaged just over 17 points and six rebounds in the NCAA tournament while earning Most Outstanding Player honors in the Southwest Regional and making the all-tournament team.

Skeen will be the first to acknowledge that without the help of the Rams’ run to the Final Four, he would not even be in the draft conversation.

“It helped me out a lot,” Skeen said. “Without it I wouldn’t be here, I wouldn’t even be here talking about it.”

ESPN NBA draft insider Chad Ford has Skeen ranked 57th on his big board — landing late in the second round.

“Before VCU’s Final Four run, I can’t recall one NBA scout or general manager who is mentioning Jamie Skeen as a potential NBA player,” Ford said. “When you saw what he was able to do against some pretty fantastic basketball teams, and his skill level and his size and his reach and you put everything together, he is a pretty intriguing guy.”

The 6-foot-8, 242-pound Charlotte, N.C., native has been deemed undersized for his position by many, but Skeen has a long-range jumper that many power forwards do not.

Story Continues →

View Entire Story

© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

blog comments powered by Disqus
Get Adobe Flash player
You Might Also Like
  • **FILE** In this April 23, 2013 photo, Cuba's former pitcher Conrado Marrero, the world's oldest living former major league baseball player, holds up a baseball with his signature at his home, two days before is 102nd birthday, as he holds an unlit cigar in his mouth in Havana, Cuba. (AP Photo/Franklin Reyes)

    Oldest ex-MLB player dies in Cuba, 2 days shy of 103rd birthday

  • Washington Wizards guard John Wall, left, and Bradley Beal celebrate the Wizards' 101-99 win as Chicago Bulls guard Kirk Hinrich walks off the court after missing two free throws during the overtime period of Game 2 in an opening-round NBA basketball playoff series Tuesday, April 22, 2014, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

    HARRIS: D.C. not yet spellbound by Wizards, but they’re no illusion

  • Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III watches Baylor and Central Florida play during the first half of the Fiesta Bowl NCAA college football game, Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

    Robert Griffin III to drive pace car before Richmond NASCAR race

  • Washington Wizards forward Nene, left, guards Chicago Bulls forward Carlos Boozer during the first half in Game 1 of an opening-round NBA basketball playoff series in Chicago, Sunday, April 20, 2014. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

    Early returns show projections of physical Wizards-Bulls series were correct

  • Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson (10) celebrates after catching a 25 yard touchdown in the first quarter as the Washington Redskins play the Philadelphia Eagles in Monday Night NFL football at FedExField, Landover, Md., Monday, September 9, 2013. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)

    Dan Snyder: DeSean Jackson ‘really a good guy’

  • Celebrities In The News
  • ** FILE ** In this March 19, 2013, file photo, Justin Bieber performs during a concert at Bercy Arena in Paris. (AP Photo/Francois Mori, File)

    Justin Bieber apologizes for Japan war shrine trip

  • FILE - This Jan. 8, 2014 file photo shows singer Chris Brown, right, arriving at the District of Columbia Superior Court in Washington. After a brief postponement, singer Chris Brown's trial on an assault charge is scheduled to begin in Washington. Brown's trial had been set for Monday but was delayed while lawyers tried to work out whether his bodyguard will testify. It's unclear whether the trial will start Wednesday, as Brown's lawyers seem to want, or if further legal maneuvering will delay it.  (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

    Chris Brown assault trial delayed again

  • Justin Bieber seeks delay in Fla. DUI trial