Growth areas for McDermott, Smart

How two college stars fared at USA Basketball's minicamp, and what it means

Updated: July 30, 2013, 1:10 PM ET
By Jordan Brenner | ESPN Insider

McDermott-SmartGetty ImagesDoug McDermott impressed NBA executives this week while Marcus Smart raised questions.

It's only fitting that when Marcus Smart and Doug McDermott took a big chance last week, the setting was America's ultimate risk/reward city. As the only two college players invited to USA Basketball's elite minicamp in Las Vegas, Smart and McDermott opted to fully expose their games in a variety of ways.

NBA All-Stars like Kyrie Irving and Paul George were ready to exploit any weaknesses they could find in the college guys. NBA executives, coaches and scouts looked on from foldout bleachers, rating the players' performances against elite competition. And college coaches in attendance got a different read on ways to stop the pair of front-runners for national player of the year.

With all laid bare, one player made it through the gauntlet with surprising success, gaining a confidence boost that should carry him through the season. The other encountered deep skepticism about his skills. In each case, it provided a good glimpse of what might lie ahead for the players in this coming college basketball season and at the next level.

Jordan Brenner | email

ESPN The Magazine contributing writer
Brenner writes for ESPN The Magazine and ESPN Insider. He covers the NBA and college basketball.