The NBA Case for Wyoming’s Drake Jeffries

Take a glance around the NBA and notice all of the unique talent. One of the best passers in league history is a 6’11”, 284 pound man in Denver. There’s a 37 year old averaging 30 points in Los Angeles. There’s a man they call “The Greek Freak” up in Milwaukee because of his length, power and speed in transition. The diversity of player archetype and skillset is at an all-time high in the modern NBA.

One constant that you will find on rosters is shooting. The emphasis on shooting, especially from the three-point line, has hit new heights in the last decade.

You’re seeing more and more guys enter the league as a three-point specialist. Those players may add to their game in order to remove that one-trick-pony label, but the point remains. If you can shoot at a high level, NBA teams want you. 

There are countless examples of this headlined by Miami dishing out $90 million to their sniper in Duncan Robinson.

The field of prospects in the 2022 NBA Draft is a fascinating one. There are bigs at the top with more bigs in the middle. Sprinkled in are some long and athletic wings. Guard play is less than desirable. The shooting in this class is there, though perhaps not properly divided in terms of spotlight.

I’m not saying that prospects like AJ Griffin, Caleb Houstan and Jabari Smith Jr. don’t deserve the spotlight. They are great three-point shooting prospects and great shooting prospects in general. If we want to go deeper, prospects like Hyunjung Lee, Alfonso Plummer and Sasha Stefanovic are also great three-point shooting prospects. They deserve the spotlight too.

Hidden in the Mountain West Conference, along with the beautiful scenery of Wyoming, is 23 year old Drake Jeffries. He’s truly been one of the best three-point marksman in the country during his two years with the Cowboys. The spotlight is going on him for a moment because I believe there’s a pathway for him to receive NBA paychecks.

Jeffries recently announced his intentions to turn professional and signed with One Motive Sports. His collegiate career started at Minot State before transferring to Indian Hills Community College for a season. He then ended up in Wyoming where he averaged 10.3 points as a senior.

Jeffries’ three-point specialization has been a constant throughout his entire collegiate career, including:

  • 146-371 (40%) on three-point shots in his two years at Wyoming.
  • .935 Three-Point Attempt Rate in his two years at Wyoming.
  • 11-17 on three-point shots in a game vs Hastings College.
  • 12 games of at least four three-point makes in 2021-22.

That Three-Point Attempt Rate tells you all you need to know about Jeffries’ game. Just for a direct comparison, since we mentioned his name earlier, Duncan Robinson’s Three-Point Attempt Rate is .853 this season. He does what he does and the accuracy of what he does is league level.

The numbers are impressive and pop out at you. But I wanted to know more beyond the numbers. I’ve watched him before, but not with my full focus individually. Is he operating within the flow of the offense? How is he moving without the ball? I watched five Wyoming games from this season and focused on Jeffries. Below will be some clips from my deep dive.

Jeffries does indeed do plenty of damage without the ball. That’s always a huge key when it comes to shooters. You see some simple pindowns here. I think showing that he can be a movement shooter in those situations is really promising.

For example, look at the difference in shot variety from a Royce O’Neale to a Doug McDermott. Or Justin Holiday.

Here are a few more instances where Jeffries works without the ball to get open. All three of them are off an inbounds play. 

He’s a threat in transition and can knock down shots under duress. His mechanics are gorgeous and his release is quick. Really can’t complain much about it aesthetically. 

Wyoming was tough to guard this year, but one thing you shouldn’t do is double off of Jeffries. He’s going to make you pay for that more times than not. Just too good of a shooter to leave open for even a split second.

Specialists can be scary when it comes to scouting. Can Jeffries impact the game when defenses are neutralizing him? Or when his shot is simply just off? What else does he bring? We know what he does offensively, but I came away impressed with his defense.

By no means is he a lockdown defender, but he’s able to hold his own and plays that end super hard. I admire that.

Physically, he’s going to have to get stronger for the next level. There’s no doubt about that. He does have decent size at 6’5” and to the eye it looks like he has a + wingspan. 

I’m not saying that Drake Jeffries should be drafted. He won’t be inside the top 60 on my draft board and I’d say the odds that he is for others is slim. I do, however, believe that he’s an intriguing UDFA option for teams looking for a shooter to develop. He’s also probably the best NBA prospect on his team.

It would not shock me in the slightest bit if Drake Jeffries plays in the NBA. More and more three-point specialists are getting looks in the league, and I like this specialist more than most in his class. He’s worth a look.

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Zachary Padmore is a self proclaimed “basketball junkie” from New York. He’s also an amateur NBA Draft scout and avid Utah Jazz fan. You can follow him on Twitter at @ZP12Hoops.