ORLANDO - When the scouts, coaches and personnel specialists are watching Mustafa Shakur in the NBA's predraft camp, they're looking for . . .
"Sometimes you get an opportunity to show something that, previously, you couldn't show," one Eastern Conference scout suggested.
"His [Arizona] team had a disappointing season, but he played more like a point guard than in the past," another scout offered. "He's very athletic, but he's also inconsistent."
Shakur, the 6-3 point guard from William Penn High and Friends Central, simply says he's on the court at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex "to show teams everything I can do."
He arrived in college as a heralded guard, but despite averaging 11.9 points and 6.9 assists as a senior, his career tended to ebb and flow. His best shooting percentage (51.9) came as a freshman. His turnovers reached a career high (114) as a senior. The Wildcats, after a meteoric 12-1 start and a No. 7 national ranking, lost 10 of their last 18, including a first-round NCAA Tournament game to Purdue, in which he delivered a box score line of nine points, eight assists and eight turnovers.
"A lot of times, you're in a system where you're not able to show everything," said Shakur, who grew up in Olney and went west to pursue his career because some local schools "came in late" in the recruiting process.
"Hopefully, I can do some different things, run the show, get everybody in their spots, make things happen. That's what they want to see out of a point guard. [As a senior] my assists were up most of the year because they gave me an opportunity to open it up and do more with the ball."
Which, of course, is what the pro evaluators want to see now.
"The biggest thing is, they don't want me to try and do anything too crazy," he said. "They want to see me knock down that open jump shot, to set the table, to not have a high amount of turnovers."
When someone suggested the scouts were waiting to see whether he could consistently penetrate and kick, Shakur said: "My assists weren't just from guys coming off screens and shooting. If anybody's watching, they know my assists come from penetrating.
When he was told another scout mentioned his game as being "a little bit unorthodox," he wondered what that meant.
"Guys have different opinions," he said. "But a lot of people haven't seen me that much."
At the same time, he believes teams have seen him enough.
Does he expect to be drafted?
"Yes," he replied. "I think I'll be on a team regardless, but I know I'm going to get drafted."
Sixers center Samuel Dalembert, in a phone conversation yesterday, said he was serious about his hope of becoming eligible to play for Canada's National Team in the pre-Olympic tournament in Las Vegas in August. He said he has been greatly influenced by his mother, who is Canadian.
"I was resisting the idea last summer, but my mother was very excited about it," he said. "My sister was born in Canada, I have family there."
He said he has also been impressed by his discussions with Canadian coach Leo Rautins, a one-time Sixer.
"I think he would let me play, just like Chris Ford did [with the Sixers], just let me be Sam," Dalembert said.
Dalembert is working with an immigration lawyer in Canada to try and facilitate the process. He moved to Canada from his native Haiti at the age of 13 and spent 2 years of high school there before completing high school in North Jersey and then attending Seton Hall.
Villanova senior Curtis Sumpter, here to show that his twice-repaired left knee is fully healed and sufficiently strong, said: "I feel fine. I've been playing every day. It's all mental. I'm very confident" . . . At least 19 players are here just to be weighed and measured, advised by their agents not play. That list includes several who could be on the 76ers' radar at No. 12, including Florida State senior forward Al Thornton, Washington freshman center Spencer Hawes and Georgetown junior forward Jeff Green. Asked whether he might have difficulty enticing a projected top-seven pick to come to Philadelphia for a private workout, Sixers president/general manager Billy King smiled and said, "Right now, they all think they're top seven." . . . King is preaching patience in building the Sixers. "I'm comparing what we're trying to do now to when we added Eric Snow, Aaron McKie, Theo Ratliff, George Lynch. As we let it grow, the better we got." . . . King said he has a tentative schedule of private workouts scheduled beginning Tuesday, but doesn't want to make the list public because commitments tend to change. "Right now, it's a game of cat and mouse," he said. "Some guys think they're projected higher." . . . Asked why even some projected second-rounders decided against participating in the camp, King said, "They don't think of themselves as second-rounders" . . . Other players in the camp with local ties include Virginia guard Sean Singletary from Penn Charter, and Notre Dame guard Russell Carter from Paulsboro, N.J. Singletary could still return to school for his senior season . . . Marist coach Matt Brady, a former Saint Joseph's assistant, was a camp visitor in support of Marist senior point guard Jared Jordan. *