I also dug up some pretty impressive statistics from Von’s high school days. “Nilla” averaged 32 points, 10 rebounds and 7 assists his junior season while in Lisbon, La playing for Pineview High School. His senior year, he transferred to Heritage Christian Academy in Cleveland, Texas where he averaged 26 points, 8 rebounds, 4 steals, and 4 blocks per game. And for his achievements on the basketball court, Wafer earned All-America third-team honors from USA Today Newspaper following his senior season. Von also was named a McDonalds All-American and scored 29 points on 13 of 20 shooting from the field and had 8 rebounds. He matched up well with King James for much of the contest and finished second to James in the slam dunk contest.
He then played two years of college hoop at Florida State University before becoming an early entry in the 2005 NBA Draft. His freshman year at FSU Wafer averaged 7.9 points in 17.5 minutes a game. He ranked third among all ACC freshmen with 43 three-point field goals made and scored in double figures 12 times. As a sophomore, he led the team in scoring with an average of 12.5 points per game and three-point field goals made (65). He made more than one three-point field goal in 14 games and surpassed the 20-point mark on six occasions. When taking all these things into consideration the thing that you have to keep in mind is that Wafer played on a Seminole team that was one of the weaker programs in the always dominant Atlantic Coast Conference.
Many people at this point in Wafer’s career thought it was a mistake to enter the draft early and some experts didn’t expect him to be drafted at all. In fact, during one of the only pre-draft workouts he could arrange with the Phoenix Suns, Wafer reportedly was frustrated by the physical play from Jan Jagla and responded by swinging an intentional elbow to Jagla’s nose, walked off the court, and ended the workout at that point. Things at this point were not looking good for Wafer’s NBA chances.
However, Von proved all the pessimists wrong by becoming the 39th overall pick of the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2005 NBA Draft. He was later waived, but then did some serious work in the NBDL while playing for the Colorado 14ers. Wafer finished last season as the D-League’s second overall highest scorer at a pitch of 21 points a night while grabbing 2.9 rebounds and dishing 3.3 assists.
Fast forward to this summer’s Las Vegas NBA Summer League.
Von “Nilla” Wafer led the Nuggets in scoring with averages of 24.2 points, three assists, and 1.9 rebounds while coming in third overall in the mid-summer classic's scoring race. Not to mention he capped off his summer showcase with a record-tying 42 points against the New York Knicks in only a mere 26 minutes of playing time.
I really like the potential future this young baller has with the Denver Nuggets. He is exactly what the Nuggets are looking for and would surely be a steal financially. He has proven at nearly every level of basketball that he can flat-out shoot the rock and you have to respect a man who continues to put in the hard work to make his NBA dreams a reality.
So start the campaign.
Von “Nilla” Wafer for a roster spot in 2007!