Iwundu may be without a position — and that’s a good thing

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Iwundu may be without a position — and that’s a good thing

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Wesley Iwundu of the Kansas State Wildcats dunks the ball in the first half against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons during the First Four game in the 2017 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at UD Arena on March 14, 2017 in Dayton, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Wesley Iwundu is position-less.

And that’s a good thing.

The Kansas State senior is listed as a shooting guard, but his versatility — on offense and defense — will be a plus in today’s evolving NBA. Iwundu worked out for the Hawks last week ahead of the NBA Draft on Thursday and could be a possibility for a team with three selections at Nos. 19, 31 and 60.

“Right now is the perfect time for a guy like me to come into the NBA because of the way the game is changing,” Iwundu said. “I was watching the finals and there were like 10 guards with (Kevin Durant) being the tallest guy. The game is changing. It just goes to show you that guys in my position, a position-less player, can do a lot of things on the floor in today’s game.

“I’m a very position-less guy. I can do so many things on the offensive and defensive end without scoring. I think I can impact the game in so many ways without scoring the ball. That is the beautiful thing about it. Whatever a coach may ask of me, there is a good chance that I’ve done it before because of my versatility. It’s a big plus for me.”

Iwundu, 6-foot-7, 205 pounds, measured a 7-1 wingspan at the draft combine in May. He can defend the 1, 2 and 3 positions and, perhaps eventually, the 4. He averaged 13.0 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.5 assists last season. Iwundu is ranked as the No. 26 prospect by NBADraft.net.

Iwundu pointed to his versatility as positive feedback he received from the Hawks after his workout. He also said the team cited his competitiveness and shooting ability.

Iwundu dramatically improved his 3-point shooting as a senior. After going 17-of-66 (.258) in his first three seasons, he was 32-of-85 (.376) in his final season. He said he is continuing to adapt to the distance change from the college to the NBA 3-point line.

“I feel like you can never be good enough at it,” Iwundu said of the 3-pointer. “With me, it’s making sure my shot is consistent, all my technique is consistent and just getting stronger will help with the NBA 3-point shot. It’s definitely a major change, but I feel pretty good about it.”

Iwundu, who will work out for 17 teams before the draft, has taken notice of the Hawks and how he might fit in. He said he believes his ability to be a defensive stopper and an occasional playmaker will be a plus.

Iwundu knows the Hawks’ reputation for player development. He quickly pointed to Taurean Prince. The first-round pick of the Hawks last season went from playing sparingly and time in the NBA Development League to a place in the starting lineup during the playoffs.

“That just goes to show you how much a team like the Hawks can help you develop as a player,” said Iwundu, who the Hawks interviewed at the combine. “It also shows the trust they have in young guys.”

Iwundu said it wasn’t until well into his senior season that he started to realize playing in the NBA could be more than a dream.

“Honestly speaking it was probably four games into conference play this season when I just finally hit me,” Iwundu said. “I’d been getting good feedback and it finally hit me that this is real opportunity, one I always dreamed of, and it’s finally appearing in front of my eyes.”

So, Iwundu and his family will spend Thursday night in Brooklyn at the draft. He was not one of the league invitees, but considering the expected range of his selection, the 22-year-old could think of no better place to be than the Barclays Center.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Iwundu said. “I want to get that experience in while I can.”

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