KARLL: Terry, Stewart impressed at the Corn Palace, and now head to the NBA

DeLaSalle, Minnesota's Tyrell Terry (10) puts up a shot against Mountain Brook's Colby Jones on Friday during the Hoop City Classic at the Corn Palace. (Ryan Deal / Republic)
DeLaSalle, Minnesota's Tyrell Terry (10) puts up a shot against Mountain Brook's Colby Jones on Friday during the Hoop City Classic at the Corn Palace. (Ryan Deal / Republic)

A couple of players who previously graced the Corn Palace floor will pop up on TVs across the country tonight.

The first wave of players from the star-studded 2018 Hoop City Classic will hit the professional ranks during the 6:30 p.m. NBA Draft on ESPN.

DeLaSalle (Minn.) and Stanford guard Tyrell Terry and La Lumiere (Ind.) and Washington big man Isaiah Stewart both have a chance to be first-round selections less than two years from when they awed Corn Palace crowds.

It’s a fitting start to what should be numerous players from that year’s Classic hearing their name called by NBA commissioner Adam Silver. The 6-foot-9, 250-pound Stewart looked like an NBA player before he committed to Washington and the 6-foot-3, 170-pound Terry resembled more of a redshirt candidate than potential lottery pick. But as one stayed around the basket and the other showed limitless range, one thing was clear: They could ball.

In a year filled with Division-I commits, I left the Corn Palace most impressed with those two players.


Terry was small, but no one that weekend was a more efficient or creative scorer. When Stanford opted to not redshirt him, Terry averaged 14.6 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.4 steals per game, while shooting 40.8 percent from 3-point range on 4.9 attempts per game. He started all 31 games for the Cardinal.

The shot-making he displayed in Mitchell is what made him an asset at Stanford, and possibly a top-20 pick. The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor has him No. 9 on his big board, Sports Illustrated and The Athletic have him going No. 19 (Nets) and No. 21 (76ers) in their mock drafts, respectively.

Even as he left a lasting impression at the Corn Palace, imagining a one-and-done year -- let alone a top-20 selection -- seemed far-fetched. He could shoot as well as any player in college, but he didn’t have ideal size after one season at Stanford.

Terry bulked up during quarantine, going on a 4,000-calorie-a-day diet, according to The Ringer, to reach 170 pounds and hopes to be 175 pounds by the NBA’s Dec. 22 opening night.

“If the draft was in June, I wouldn’t have been as strong as I am now, or had this explosiveness,” Terry told O’Connor. “Or been as mature on and off the floor, or been able to master some of the arts of the game that I have been studying.”

Stewart never needed to gain weight. That was evident when La Lumiere first walked into the gym, as Stewart resembled an NBA center throwing down dunks in warmups to get ready for a high school game. He towered over everyone, grabbing rebounds, blocking shots and dominating in the post against the equally-talented Findlay Prep.

At Washington, he averaged 17 points, 8.8 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game. He’s an old-school big man who will make his living in the post, which in 2020, drops him down draft boards. The Ringer has him at No. 30, Sports Illustrated believes the Heat will draft him at No. 20 and The Athletic pegs him to the Knicks at No. 27.


La Lumiere (Ind.) forward Isaiah Stewart, who is now playing at the University of Washington, puts up a shot between a pair of Aberdeen Central defenders on Dec. 30, 2017 at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls. (Marcus Traxler / Republic)

If Stewart and Terry go in the first round of the draft, they would join six other Hoop City Classic alums to go that high. That list includes former No. 1 pick Anthony Bennett and No. 3 pick Joel Embiid (who both played here in 2012), 2014 alums Kelly Oubre Jr. and Rashad Vaughn and 2017 event alums Jaren Jackson Jr. and P.J. Washington, who each were lottery picks, with Jackson going fourth overall.

While never playing in the Hoop City Classic, R.J. Hampton’s likely first-round selection should see former Mitchell High School standout Mike Miller draw praise on draft night. The 19-year-old guard has been working out with Miller, who has helped improve his shot during the pre-draft process.

Whether it’s Terry, Stewart or Hampton, there’s connections to Mitchell. And it won’t stop this year.

LSU’s Trendon Watford, who played for Mountain Brook (Ala.), was named to the Karl Malone power forward watch list, which is given to the top power forward in the nation. Watford was in this year’s draft class but backed out in August to return to LSU. TCU guard P.J. Fuller (Findlay Prep) had his up-and-downs as a freshman, but also scored 21 points in a win over No. 2 Baylor, earning Big 12 newcomer of the week honors. And 2021 top-five recruit Jaden Hardy (Coronado) holds offers from Kentucky, Georgetown and Arizona, among others.

Terry and Stewart will be familiar faces tonight, but they won’t be the last.

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