Garret Siler flew out of Augusta in pursuit of a dream Thursday.
The former Augusta State All-American center is now in Phoenix in preparation for the June 25 NBA Draft.
The 7-foot Siler walked across the stage Saturday and picked up his diploma. Despite becoming an Augusta State graduate, Siler hasn't slacked off.
He's continued to work out and drop pounds. Siler -- who began his senior season at 305 pounds -- weighed 289 a few weeks back. Now, he's down to 281.
"Graduation hasn't stopped anything," he said.
Siler went through an extensive search for an agent and recently hired Lance Young of Octagon Basketball. Young represents NBA players such as Chris Paul, David West and Rudy Gay.
Octagon Basketball has workout facilities in Phoenix and Washington, D.C., and Siler chose to head west. Young told Siler to continue working hard.
"If I do everything and perform well in my workouts, I could go in the middle of the second round," Siler said. "He gave me the mentality of George Hill."
Hill left IUPUI in 2008 after his junior season. He wasn't initially projected to be selected in any mock drafts. But Hill impressed in his workouts leading up to the draft. He was a projected second-rounder, but San Antonio took him at No. 26.
According to nbadraft.net, Siler is projected to get selected by Boston at No. 58. If he does get picked, he'd be the first Peach Belt Conference player drafted by an NBA team.
Siler helped lead Augusta State to the NCAA Division II national championship game his junior season. This past season, he helped the Jaguars win the Peach Belt regular season and tournament titles as well as the Southeast Regional title. Augusta State advanced to the Final Four and finished at 30-5.
Siler, who set the NCAA record for career field-goal percentage, remains level-headed about the draft. If he doesn't get selected, he'll consider his options. Then again, his name might get called.
"If it happens," Siler said, "that's awesome."
Reach Chris Gay at (706) 823-3645 or firstname.lastname@example.org.