Former Dayton forward Camara continues NBA workouts as draft nears

Camara projected to be a second-round pick by some experts

Two weeks before the NBA Draft, Toumani Camara is continuing to work out for teams in hopes of becoming the third Dayton Flyers player drafted in the last six years.

Camara worked out for the Indiana Pacers on Friday. The Pacers shared an interview with Camara on Twitter.

“It went great,” Camara said. “Being able to compete with great talent and play in front of the front office, it’s a big experience, and I take as much as I can from it and enjoy the process.”

Camara had a workout with the Charlotte Hornets on Monday. He worked out for the Portland Trail Blazers on May 22 with a group that included his former Dayton teammate, DaRon Holmes II.

Camara announced April 24 he had declared for the NBA Draft, which takes place June 22 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., and made it clear he would not return to Dayton for a third season with the Flyers and a fifth season in college basketball. The 6-foot-8 forward from Belgium was the only player honored on Senior Day last season.

Camara averaged 13.9 points and 8.6 rebounds in his second season at Dayton. He made the All-Atlantic 10 Conference first team and the all-defensive team.

Camara boosted his draft prospects with his play in the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament in April. He averaged 20 points and 11 rebounds in three games and made the all-tournament team. In May, Camara averaged 12.0 points in two games at the NBA Draft Combine.

After the decision by Holmes II to withdraw from the draft and the return to college of other top stars, such as Purdue’s Zach Edey, Camara rose in some pre-draft rankings.

• ESPN’s Jonathan Givony predicts Camara will be drafted 53rd overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves.

• Bleacher Report’s Jonathan Wasserman predicted the Cleveland Cavaliers will draft Camara with the 49th pick.

“From the Portsmouth Invitational to Elite Camp and the NBA combine,” Wasserman wrote, “Camara was productive throughout while off (ering) an appealing mix of offensive versatility, capable shooting and high activity levels.

Dayton has seen two players drafted in coach Anthony Grant’s first six seasons. When Kostas Antetokounmpo was drafted with the 60th and last pick in 2018, it ended a 30-year drought for UD in the draft. Prior to that, Dayton had not had a player drafted since the Phoenix Suns drafted Negele Knight in the second round in 1990.

The New York Knicks drafted Obi Toppin with the No. 8 selection in the first round in 2020. Toppin was the 41st UD player drafted since 1952.

Camara also hopes to make history for his home country. The only NBA player from Belgium is Didier (DJ) Llunga Mbenga, who played in the NBA from 2004-11, though two other players who were born in Belgium and raised elsewhere made it to the NBA: Tony Parker and Frank Ntilikina.

“It would mean the world to me,” Camara said in the Pacers interview. “It’s something I’ve been dreaming about since the age of 7. Back home, it’s like a dream that almost nobody has been able to achieve. Being able to do that for my country and being able to open so many doors for a lot of different players from back home, I think it’s huge. It’s a goal that I want to accomplish for sure.”

Camara played his first two seasons in college basketball at Georgia and the last two seasons at Dayton. He scored 1,345 points in his career and 845 at Dayton. He ranks 72nd in school history in scoring.

“Dayton helped a lot,” Camara said. “I learned so much about the game of basketball. I feel like the culture and everything at Dayton helped me to become the man I am today. Whether it was on or off the court, I stayed true to myself and learned so much about new systems and becoming a leader of a team. I just grew and became so much more mature.”

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