After Stone signed a two-year deal with the Nuggets last night, I reached out to MinerRush.com’s Adrian Macias, to get his thoughts on the all-conference standout. Here is what he had to say:
Julyan Stone first entered the radar of most NBA GM’s and fans when he turned some heads at the Portsmouth Invitational. But Miner fans have known Julyan was a special player since he earned the starting point guard spot at UTEP as a freshman. Even then, we could recognize that Julyan was a very gifted ball handler and distributor. Julyan is undoubtedly a “pass-first” point guard who doesn’t care if he gets a shot in a game as long as the offense is being run in a functional manner. On the floor he is perhaps the most unselfish player UTEP has ever seen.
When Tony Barbee was the head coach at UTEP, Julyan ran the dribble-drive offense perfectly. He knew the strength of that offense was to find ways to allow UTEP’s slashing guards, like Randy Culpepper, to attack the rim. When Tim Floyd came to El Paso, Stone recognized that UTEP needed his 6-6 frame inside. So, defensively, Julyan moved down to the block and was usually matched up against an opposing team’s best low post scorer. Julyan adjusted his game, worked on his interior defense, and ended up leading UTEP with 7.5 rebounds per game as a senior.
Julyan was never known as a great outside shooter. He would have hot streaks — and cold ones — but understand that while his offensive stats might not jump off the page, he was never asked or expected to be a scorer. While the system he played in may have limited his offensive growth, he will definitely have to become a more consistent shooter in order to succeed at the next level.
Athletically however, he has all the tools to succeed in the NBA. He can use his length to compensate defensively against quicker guards and runs the floor with the best of them. If a team wants an unselfish point guard who thrives on running an offense and finding the open man, they would be fortunate to land Julyan Stone.
Additionally, Dan Barton of the IMG Basketball Academy — where Stone has been training the last six months for the draft and free agency — also reached out to us and offered up this video that features Stone and an in-depth examination of what the Academy is all about. From the looks of it, Stone was in great hands and Nuggets fans should be all the more excited to see him in action after witnessing the type of dedication and hard work put in by those under Barton’s watch.