Thompson and Calathes keeping their fingers crossed Both are hoping to have new jobs tonight - as players in the NBA.

Posted: June 26, 2008

If things go the way they want them to go, two local players will be celebrating after tonight's NBA draft.

Lenape High graduate Jason Thompson and St. Joseph's University alum Pat Calathes hope to be chosen when the league holds its annual gathering in New York.

A few weeks ago, Thompson was a novelty. He played for four years at Rider, averaging 20 points and 10 rebounds in his final two seasons. But the forward and center never dominated against competition from the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.

As a senior, he had decent showings against Kansas State and North Carolina State. And, until recently, he was seen as an early second-rounder.

Now, he's a possible lottery pick, his agent, Andre Buck, said. Buck also said the 76ers had invited Thompson for a last-minute interview today.

"There are definitely a number of teams in the first round that are interested," Buck said.

One is believed to be Golden State, which holds the 14th overall selection. Buck said he wouldn't elaborate on potential scenarios because "too much is still going on." Nor would he make Thompson available for comment.

The 6-foot-11, 250-pound Thompson appears to have solidified first-round status after a series of successful workouts. He moves well up and down the floor but needs to extend his offensive range and defensive capabilities.

"His better days are down the road," 76ers general manager Ed Stefanski said.

Thompson, the possible surprise story of the draft, is the first local player expected to be selected tonight.

"The interest in him has definitely increased," Buck said.

At this point, nearly half the NBA has seen Calathes in up-close workouts.

"I can do as much as I can," Calathes said by telephone from Denver. "I don't have any control over the draft. All you can do is go to every workout and play the best you can. I think I've shown the scouts, GMs and coaches what I can do."

The former St. Joseph's guard and forward, projected by most for the middle of the second round, wrapped up his 11th workout Tuesday, for the Los Angeles Lakers. That meant he had visited 11 cities in 22 days.

"Going to school at St. Joe's, a midmajor, we only had one or two ESPN games, so a lot of the GMs and coaches didn't really see us play a lot," Calathes said.

Before the Portsmouth (Va.) Invitational in April and the NBA's recent predraft camp in Orlando, Fla., the 6-10, 210-pound Calathes wasn't on any draft board.

He will be watching the draft from home in Orlando, the final stop on his hectic travel agenda.

"It's definitely been worth it," Calathes said.

Tyndale surprises. Even after four years at Temple, forward Mark Tyndale has surprised some onlookers.

"I had a team tell me the other day, 'Andre, I don't know if you're aware, but [Tyndale's] wingspan is 6-feet-11,' " said Buck, who also represents the Simon Gratz High graduate.

"I knew that," Buck said. "I tell teams all the time, 'You need to look at this guy.' "

Tyndale, who scored 15.9 points per game on 49 percent shooting from the field, is likely to latch onto an NBA team as a free agent.

Other possibilities. A handful of other local players are possible late picks or free agents.

Former Penn Charter star Sean Singletary could be a late second-round pick. Utah reportedly has expressed interest in taking the Virginia guard with the 53d selection.

North Carolina-Greensboro forward Kyle Hines, a Timber Creek High graduate, and Butler guard Mike Green, a graduate of the Franklin Learning Center, are also possible free-agent pickups.

Joining them is Drexel center Frank Elegar, who worked out for the Sixers on Tuesday.

Elegar described himself as "antsy, real antsy" about the draft. "I'm waiting to see whether I'll get picked in the second round or [get] a free-agent contract or something."

Staff writer Joe Juliano contributed to this article.

Contact staff writer Matt Gelb

at 215-854-4550 or mgelb@phillynews.com.

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