Former Libbey star William Buford, who was named Mr. Ohio as the state’s top basketball player in 2008 and started four years at Ohio State, was not selected in the NBA Draft on Thursday.
He will now either sign with an NBA team as a free agent or pursue a professional career elsewhere, possibly overseas, after his name went uncalled over the two rounds at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.
Buford endured intense scrutiny — and mixed reviews — as he crossed the nation working out for a dozen or so NBA teams over the past two months.
One of the nation’s top recruits in high school, the 6-foot-5 guard was billed as an athletic and deft long-range shooter. He finished his four-year college career tied with tied with Hall of Famer Jerry Lucas on Ohio State's all-time scoring list and averaged a career-high 14.5 points last season.
“I do hope that William goes down — because he will in my mind – as one of the best Ohio State’s had,” OSU coach Thad Matta said earlier this year. “The stats are there to prove that.”
But Buford’s stock slipped amid questions on his inconsistent shot — his 3-point shooting percentage dropped from 44.2 as a junior to 35.8 percent last year — and conditioning, a concern underscored by his recent performance at the NBA Combine in Chicago. His 11.3 percent body fat was third-highest among the 60 prospects.
Buford told reporters he had added weight because of a stomach virus. “But that’s no excuse for my body fat,” he said. “It’s never been that high.”
Buford was vying to become the first Toledo native drafted since Jim Jackson was selected fourth overall by the Dallas Mavericks in 1992.