Boise State Basketball

Well-traveled Webb eagerly awaiting NBA’s call

Former Boise State forward James Webb III back in Boise

Ex-Boise State basketball forward James Webb III was back in Boise this week, and discussed his pro aspirations Saturday, May 7, 2016.
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Ex-Boise State basketball forward James Webb III was back in Boise this week, and discussed his pro aspirations Saturday, May 7, 2016.

Seven cities in a little more than a week; seven chances to catch the right eyes.

Rest is something that can wait.

That was the sort of grind former Boise State forward James Webb III faced May 30-June 8, visiting Philadelphia, Brooklyn, Minnesota, Golden State, San Antonio, Houston and Toronto. It’s what he signed up for. A prospect who could wind up just about anywhere and willing to travel accordingly.

“It was tough but well worth the experience,” Webb said.

All told, Webb visited 20 of the NBA’s 30 teams in just more than a month heading into Thursday’s NBA Draft. Often a steady, calm presence, this is the one time Webb can relax, but he’s not ready to take it easy. The 6-foot-9, 205-pound Webb is looking to become Boise State’s second-ever draft pick in the two-round draft era (since 1989).

“Definitely, it’s a pretty weird situation, having no idea what to expect (Thursday),” Webb said. “I don’t know if I’ve ever been this nervous. It’s crazy, kind of feel like pulling my hair out sometimes just waiting.”

That wait may very well come to an end while he watches the draft from his family’s home in Augusta, Ga. There is no doubt the NBA has some interest, but Webb isn’t a lock to be among the 60 picks. He is not listed on mock drafts on NBA.com or CBSSports.com, but ESPN’s Chad Ford’s lists him as the No. 60 prospect.

Webb said he is willing to work however he can to make it in the NBA. Though his confidence is “growing” after the last few weeks, being picked isn’t the end of anything.

“In a way, that’s the easy part,” he said. “No matter what happens, you’re right back to work. It’s a job now.”

Through his workouts, Webb said he received positive feedback and felt one of his question marks — his shooting — was answered well. He hit 40.9 percent of his 3-pointers as a sophomore but just 24.8 last season as a junior. He said a trainer helped “tweak a few things,” noticing a flaw in his shot. Facing other prospects many times over, Webb said “I feel I can play with anyone in this draft.”

“Webb is a long, athletic forward who runs the floor and rebounds,” Ford said. “He just needs to add a lot of strength. Plus, his production has been very inconsistent.”

Following a redshirt season in 2013-14, Webb averaged 15.6 points and 10.0 rebounds per game in 52 starts during the next two seasons. His athleticism put him on the pro radar, and he opted to leave school early and sign with an agent in early April. Though he has heard the criticism of his decision, Webb hopes to prove to all it was the right one Thursday night.

“It would mean a lot to be picked,” Webb said. “I hope there aren’t any bad feelings at Boise. I think they understand. I want to make them proud, make my family proud and make myself proud. I’m excited to get that chance.”

Dave Southorn: 208-377-6420, @IDS_southorn

2016 NBA DRAFT

6 p.m. Thursday, Brooklyn

TV: ESPN

Two rounds, 60 total picks

BOISE STATE NBA DRAFT HISTORY

1999: Roberto Bergersen, Atlanta (second round; 52nd overall)

1984: Vince Hinchen, Cleveland (fifth round; 96th overall)

1981: Larry McKinney, Indiana (seventh round; 152nd overall)

1978: Steve Connor, Washington (10th round; 197th overall)

1974: Clyde Dickey, Phoenix (seventh round; 112th overall)

1970: Bill Otey, Chicago (15th round; 220th overall)

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