It’s hard to believe that college basketball’s most prolific three point shooter was only offered one Division I scholarship.
Travis Bader was the Lansing State Journal’s player of the Year and an all-state honoree his senior season at Okemos High School.
The 6’5″ guard received a late offer from longtime Oakland head coach Greg Kampe after he considered walking on at Michigan State under Tom Izzo and his father Richard Bader, the former Spartan director of basketball operations.
Even after sinking an NCAA record 506 career three pointers, Travis Bader is still used to proving himself.
Despite his accomplishments, many questions have surrounded his all-around game. Various scouting services have said that he will struggle defensively or with the ball in his hand at the next level.
Bader is working hard everyday to dispel those myths.
Meanwhile the Pistons are trying to answer a major question this off-season on how to improve their horrendous shooting from a year ago.
When Travis Bader makes his way to Detroit on Tuesday for his pre-draft workout, Pistons officials could realize that part of the resolution to this teams shooting woes played less than 3 miles from the Palace last season.
He told Detroit Sports 105.1′s Matt Dery recently that he believes the draft workouts he’s already participated are proving to teams that he belongs in draft talks.
“I think it’s a great opportunity to show different teams what you’re capable of doing,” said Bader directly after a workout with the Chicago Bulls. “I’m really trying to show teams different things right now. My defense has been in question a lot — so I’m just trying to show that I can defend and that I have a handle with the ball and be a knockdown shooter. These workouts are great. It’s a great way to meet different people and show them the type of person you are but also a great way to compete against some first round picks and players that are talked about as getting drafted pretty early. As long as your going into them competing, I think it helps.
“I’ve been hearing good feedback. I’ve been hearing that I’ve been shooting it well –which I have been in these workouts. I’m shooting the best I’ve ever shot it right now. I think I’m competing at a high level, playing good defense, and doing some good things that teams aren’t used to seeing me do.”
Despite proving it on the court, Bader is still trying to show teams across the league that he can compete with some of the best prospects in this draft.
Against ranked teams last season, Bader averaged 19 points per game while shooting 39% from three and draining all 15 of his attempts at the charity stripe. Despite shooting 35% from the floor in those games, Bader has proven through his play that he is more than just a long range threat. His 94% free throw percentage last year was the second best in the nation.
Oakland head coach Greg Kampe was also on with Matt Dery on Detroit Sports 105.1 and said that the majority of the teams he’s heard from have draft selections from pick number 45 and onward. He believes NBA teams are starting to notice Bader’s efficiency on the court.
“One of the things that I’ve told the NBA people when they’ve called me is that Travis shot 175 free throws last year,” said Kampe. “You don’t shoot 175 free throws unless your going somewhere with the ball. If you’re just a standstill shooter you’re not going to get to the line that much. On top of that he made 164 of them. That’s something that has caught the eyes of the NBA talent evaluators.”
When it compares to top shooters in the draft like Nik Stauskas, Doug McDermott and Joe Harris — Bader turns the ball over less, while getting nearly the same percentage of plays offensively. As ESPN Draft analyst Chad Ford has pointed out, he is proving he can compete against first round talent in his workouts.
His lack of elite size or athleticism for his position means he’s not a lock to get drafted, but watching him in the 3-on-3 action, I felt he held his own on the floor with five other first-round picks. I think if more scouts see him in this setting, he’s got a good chance of getting picked up by someone in the second round.
The Spurs, who have the 58th and 60th selection could be targeting the former Golden Grizzly. San Antonio has a history of taking shooters with “defensive questions” late in the second round. Last year, they selected Ohio State’s Deshaun Thomas with the 58th pick. In 2009, it was Missouri shooting guard Marcus Denmon with the 59th overall pick.
Neither NBADraft.net or Draft Express have Bader being selected Thursday in their latest mock drafts.
If the Pistons are able to keep Greg Monroe through restricted free agency, Bader could serve as the three point specialist Detroit is looking to get back in any sort of sign and trade.
Detroit isn’t going to find a player with the 38th pick that works harder on his game than Oakland’s Travis Bader.
The tape will tell you that no matter what the scouts and experts are saying, the Pistons need to consider selecting Bader on Thursday.