Jaron Blossomgame is a few months from calling himself an NBA rookie, but he already considers himself a veteran of the predraft process.
A year after testing the waters at the NBA Draft Combine and then returning to school, the Clemson forward was back at the Quest Multisport complex in Chicago for another chance to improve his standing in the eyes of pro teams.
A second chance at NBA preparations was a case of déjà vu and a little weird at the same time, he said.
“Being here twice is special, rewarding,” he said. “Honestly, a lot of this was the same. I had interviews. They were some of my strengths. I did really well on those. I feel my numbers were a little bit better in testing. The on-court testing was a lot better.”
Blossomgame worked out at the combine after his junior season, didn’t sign with an agent and then opted to return to Clemson. That experience in 2016 prepared him for his senior year on the court and his latest-go round in Chicago.
“I took the feedback I got last year and put it to work,” he said. “Teams wanted to see me create off the dribble, help others. They wanted to see me to defend ones, twos and threes. I used my versatility this year.”
Blossomgame, a two-time all-ACC selection, scored 1,733 points over his career, fifth-most in Clemson history. He averaged 17.7 points a game as a senior, but the Tigers weren’t as successful as he had hoped.
Clemson was 10-2 in nonconference play, then went 6-12 in the ACC. Eight of those conference losses were by five points or less. The Tigers played in the NIT and finished 17-16.
Blossomgame, from Alpharetta, Ga., praised coach Brad Brownell and said getting over the hump in conference play remains a goal for Clemson.
“I’ve learned a lot about myself on and off the court, coming back to school,” he said. “I got my degree. I had a good year. Unfortunately, we just didn’t make the NCAA Tournament, which was a goal of mine. I don’t regret anything.”
A year older, he found himself helping some of the younger guys at the NBA Draft Combine, including South Carolina’s P.J. Dozier.
Dozier improved from 2-of-11 shooting his first game to 7-of-12 in the second contest. Blossomgame scored 18 and 16 points in the two games.
“Being a senior, I felt like I should reach out to some of the younger guys on my team,” he said. “P.J. was one of those guys. (He was) a little jittery in the first game, I just wanted to help him to calm down and go out there and play his game.”
Blossomgame signed with ASM Sports, the same agency that represents former Clemson standouts Trevor Booker and K.J. McDaniels.
The NBA Draft is June 22. Mock drafts project Blossomgame as a second-round selection.
He met with Denver, Dallas, Houston, Memphis and the Los Angeles Clippers at the combine, with private workouts set for the coming weeks.
“I feel like I’m a better player now, and I’m more prepared than I was last year for the NBA,” he said.
Blossomgame testing results
Hometown: Alpharetta, Ga.
Height no shoes: 6 feet, 5.75 inches
Weight: 218.6 pounds
3 quarter sprint
Max vertical leap
NBA comparison: KJ McDaniels/Joey Graham
Strengths: Has NBA athleticism with a strong, muscular frame and explosive leaping ability ... Defense is the greatest strength to his game ... A mature, focused player who competes hard ... Hits the boards hard and scores a lot of garbage buckets through desire ... Very good in the open floor as he utilizes his above-average athleticism and body control well on the break.
Weaknesses: Lacks a great offensive repertoire ... Not much of a playmaker for others as he lacks vision and passing skills ... Jump shooting remains a real weakness to his game ... Shot 45 percent from 3 as a junior, but really struggled to get on track in senior year shooting just over 25 percent ... After a redshirt year, lack of upside at 22 years of age decreases his appeal.