H: 6' 9"|
W: 215 lbs
(40 Years Old)
Current: PF |
High School: H. Grady Spruce
Hometown: Corsicana, TX
Drafted: Pick 58 in 1998 by Bulls
Even though Parker and Vujcic were both incredible in the semi-finals against Tau, it might have actually been Maceo Baston who left the strongest impression on NBA scouts that were in attendance in Prague. Besides the fact that he shattered the records for blocked shots and rebounds in a single Final Four game, the way he put up his numbers screamed NBA with every action he made.
Most impressive was the way he put an absolute lid on the rim in the first half, coming up with 5 super athletic blocks (already tying the record) in the first half alone. He got them both from the weak-side as well as on his own man, using his superb length, timing and incredible leaping ability to either swat away or alter anything that was even remotely in his area. There probably isnít another player in all of Europe who is as quick off his feet as Baston is.
What was most surprising though were the skills he showed on the offensive end. Coming out of college at Michigan and during his short tenure in the NBA, Baston was always known as a player who couldnít score outside of 5 feet if his life depended on it. Three years with Maccabi has made him into a player who can now step outside and knock down 3-pointers and mid-range jumpers as he showed on a number of occasions here. Even his ball-handling has improved to the point that he is no longer a liability as he once was. He finished the first game with a game high 20 points on 8/10 shooting (2/2 3P) to go along with 7 rebounds and 6 blocks in 28 minutes.
His performance didnít fall off as sharply as some of his teammates in the finals against CSKA either. Even though he wasnít nearly as much of a factor on the offensive end (shooting just 1/6 from the field), he again showed off his incredible tenacity and leaping ability to pull down a Final Four record 15 rebounds. His man to man and team defense were again excellent even though he only came up with 2 blocks this time around.
As far as the NBA goes, from what Baston told us himself a few months back, he is certainly not opposed to the idea. It would take at least a multi-year guaranteed contract, but considering the lack of depth amongst this yearís free agent class big men, that does not seem unreasonable at all. Baston told us he has a limited window this summer where he has an option to leave the team for the NBA only if the right offer comes along.