After 8 Months in NBA Limbo, Stewart, McDaniels Ready to Be Drafted

The former University of Washington big men are projected as late first-rounders in Wednesday's virtual draft.
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Isaiah Stewart and Jaden McDaniels took early entry to the NBA draft or so they thought.

Leaving the University of Washington following their freshmen seasons, they fell into eight months of basketball limbo, which is a hoops lifetime.

On Wednesday night, they finally take the next step, waiting for their names to be called in a virtual draft that will originate from ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut, beginning at 4 p.m. PT. 

The big mystery is who will go first: Stewart or McDaniels?

Commissioner Adam Silver and deputy commissioner Mark Tatum will reveal the 60 selections during the ESPN broadcast. 

Stewart and McDaniels likely are late first-round picks. The upstate New Yorker and the Seattle suburbanite. The self-motivator and the one who needs a fire lit under him.

Sports Illustrated's final mock draft projects the 6-foot-9, 245-pound Stewart, still just 19 years old, going to the Miami Heat with the 20th pick.

McDaniels, a year older, 45 pounds lighter and the same height, is pegged by SI for the No. 25 slot and the Oklahoma City Thunder. 

Call up any number of mock drafts, and these two continually flipflop depending on the whim of the expert. 

Stewart, who led the Huskies in scoring (17.8 ppg) and several other stat categories, is considered a safer bet because he prefers to play physical at all times and is willing to rebound and play defense. He does the dirty week.

The Rochester, New York, prorduct could be a draft steal and settle in for a 10-year or more NBA career as a very solid performer. 

McDaniels, on the other hand, comes off a maddening UW season where he proved ineffective at times. He is widely labeled a gamble. While an intriguing pick as a big man with guard-like skills, he doesn't play with a sustained effort.

From Federal Way, Washington, McDaniels lacks aggression and could be an NBA flameout just as easily as figuring it out. 

The Huskies have had 13 players drafted in the NBA's first round, not counting Dan Dickau, who transferred to Gonzaga, and Martell Webster, who went directly to the pros from high school, but curiously are counted by the school.

Stewart and McDaniels soon will be NBA players, five months after the first draft date was canceled and a week before the Huskies resume another season without them.

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