VITALS: 6'3", 185 lbs.
YEAR DRAFTED: 2012 by San Antonio (Round 2, Pick 59)
RIGHTS HELD BY: San Antonio
Marcus Denmon, the second Missouri Tiger featured so far, is a Missouri kid through and through. The product of Kansas City's Hogan Prep Academy, Denmon parlayed a 28.5 PPG senior season, in which he won the DiRenna award as KC's top prep player, into a scholarship from his beloved Tigers. The 6'3" guard was a solid player off the bench his first two years in Columbia. It wasn't until his insertion into the starting five his junior season though that people outside of Big-12 circles began to take notice.
Marcus averaged a shade under 17 points a game for Mizzou in the 2010-11 season, starting all but one game, and was named to the All Big-12 First Team. For all his individual accolades however, Denmon's Tigers were bounced in the second round of the conference tournament. They didn't get the chance at a second day of competition in the NCAAs as they lost to Cincinnati. It was a bitter pill for the talented guard to swallow but he chose to come back for his senior year instead of going pro.
He would play limited minutes at the World University Games in China for Team USA in the Summer of 2011. The Americans would finish in 5th place in the competition after getting knocked out at the quarterfinal stage. Denmon played with several future NBA players on that team including Golden State's Draymond Green, Sacramento's Ray McCallum, and Atlanta's John Jenkins. After that disappointment, Denmon returned home to Missouri with high hopes for the Tigers' final year in the Big-12 before departing for the SEC. It would be one hell of a final act.
Mizzou rattled off 14 straight wins to start the year and Denmon was on fire. Their unbeaten run came to a close in Manhattan (Kansas not New York) to Kansas State but it did little to kill the Tigers' momentum. Missouri would rise to as high as #2 in the polls in 2011-12 and would win the conference tournament for the second time in Denmon's tenure. He averaged nearly 18 PPG and grabbed five boards per. He was once again named to the All Big-12 First Team and added Second Team All-American to his resume. He was also a finalist for the prestigious John Wooden Award. There was a lot to be proud of for both Denmon and the Tigers; until the NCAA Tournament. The second seeded Tigers fell unceremoniously to fifteenth seeded Norfolk State in the round of 64 even with Denmon's 20 points. Lucky for Missouri, Duke also lost that same night to Lehigh; taking the stink away from them on a national scale.
The following summer the San Antonio Spurs made Denmon the 59th pick in the 2012 Draft, 15 places below his college teammate Kim English. Being a late first round or second round pick isn't the best fate for some players but with the Spurs it is different. Ever since Tim Duncan came to the home of the Alamo, the Spurs have been picking at the bottom of both rounds. Those picks have produced stars to solid rotation players for themselves or for others. Tony Parker, Beno Udrih (Memphis), Leandro Barbosa (Phoenix), Ian Mahinmi (Indiana), George Hill (Indiana), Tiago Splitter, John Salmons (Toronto), and James Anderson (Philadelphia) were all Spurs picked from the 20th pick on in the first round. Manu Ginobili, Luis Scola (Indiana), Nando de Colo (Toronto), and Goran Dragic (Phoenix) were all picked with the 45th selection or later. Denmon got a five game Summer League cup of coffee in 2012 before he was allowed to explore his overseas options. He signed on with Elan Chalon in France. They had won both the double the year prior with the French Cup and LNB Pro A Championship. Denmon's time in red and white started off a bit rocky as he broke his foot in his first ever game for the club. The injury wouldn't end his season however and when he returned became a vital contributor to the club. He started 18 games for Elan averaging 13 PPG. The club also competed in the Euroleague for the first time, but only went 3-7 and were eliminated in the round robin group stage before Denmon could take his bow.
In 2013 the Spurs took another American college product at the end of the second round, DeShaun Thomas (you'll hear more about him later). Denmon and Thomas both played five times in Spurs colors before heading to Europe. The positive thing about the experience though for Denmon was that his minutes went up and his point production doubled. Don't think the Spurs will forget about that while he plays out his one year contract with Tofas S.K. in Turkey with former Big-12 foe Chinemelu Elonu, another name from the Draft Rights Retained list. I wouldn't be surprised to see Denmon playing in the AT&T Center before long. While you wait though, enjoy Cinco de Mayo. Olé!
their draft rights. Stay locked for a new profile until the list is exhausted. For more of me, check out my Twitter @TREVORutley. For less of me, forget how to read.
Image Credits: Denmon @ Missouri (basketinside.com), El Generico (highspots.com)