Monday, March 22, 2010

The Sweet 16. Players to watch from an NBA scouting perspective.

1. DeMarcus Cousins - Kentucky 6'11" 260 Frosh. ... He is the the most efficient player in college hoops. He is a big kid with an NBA body. He has a back-to-the-basket post game and he possesses quick hands. He WILL score anywhere close to the hoop. He has excellent footwork and he uses his massive body to put defenders in bad positions. With his combo of size and his 'mean streak' - I truly believe that as a FRESHMAN - DeMarcus Cousins is the biggest, baddest player in college basketball. 

2. John Wall - Kentucky 6'4" 195 Frosh. ... John Wall is a game changer. He is a dynamo! Electrifying. ...Wall plays with a smile on his face - usually because he is owning the game. He makes difficult plays look routine. He is simply too fast with the ball for defenders to react to. ...Right handed but has a left. He wants to run, run, and run some more. He makes quick decisions and whips the ball inside. He gets involved as a help defender. He can shake off defenders with his quickness, ball handling ability and his wide array of moves. ...His weaknesses include a penchant to play too fast for his teammates and occasionally pouting. ...From Raleigh, NC. …Dished eleven assists in the 2009 Hoop Summit game for USA Basketball. Ranked the No. 1 overall prospect of 2009 by

3. Evan Turner - Ohio St. - 6'6" 175. Jr. ... Turner is one of those kids that just looks like a pro. He plays like one too. This season, the clutch player scored 20 points per game while dishing six assists and grabbing nine boards each time he laced his sneakers. He led Ohio State to the Big Ten championship and was rightfully named a first-team All-American. ...He is versatile with the ability to handle the ball, shoot, and rebound. He has a post game. ...Can score by creating his own. He can be turnover prone and he may not be ready to be a Point Guard in the NBA (being defended by small guards with quick hands have given him trouble). His assist-to-turnover ratio has improved with each season - now at 1.42-to-1. He has some grit and will accept a challenge. He will battle inside for rebounds. …A personal favorite of mine. He can create his own shot in the same manner as Paul Pierce. ...See his huge game winning shot in the 2010 Big Ten Tourney.

4. LaceDarius Dunn - Baylor 6'4" 196 Jr. ... Since the NCAA Tournament features the best teams - not surprisingly - it also features some of my favorite players. …LaceDarius Dunn is a shooting Guard that really came alive in the N.I.T. Tournament at the close of the 2008-09 season. He carried that momentum into this campaign and he never let up. Dunn is a scorer that does have a questionable shot selection but he also makes things happen with his aggressiveness. He just cannot be denied as a scorer. This season he averaged 19 points, five rebounds and two assists per game. His percentages are impressive at .425 from beyond the arc, and .860 at the line. ...He is good at splitting a double team with his dribble. He is an excellent shooter that barely raises up on his toes at the release point. Right handed. ...He has improved his scoring average with each season at Baylor. ...He has great speed. ...He will get a technical foul now and again. ...Dunn reacts quickly and sometimes gets by on his athleticism as opposed to moving without the ball. ... I also think he could be more alert as a defender. ...Overall though - I like Dunn as a big shot taker and maker. ...In high school: Led Excelsior Christian School (Monroe, La.) to 118-9 record and one state championship over final three prep seasons.

5. Devin Ebanks - West Virginia - 6'9" 205. Soph. ... Right now Ebanks sticks out due to his NBA body and ability to rebound the ball. He can run the floor, dribble drive, create his own shot and pull up for the mid-range jumper with defenders in his face. He reads plays and slashes at opportune times. ...He has gotten stronger already - making a noticeable improvement in his thin frame this year under Bob Huggins. ...Some players simply have a nose for the ball - and this kid fits that description. …Versatile. He can guard four positions. ...Long. Right-handed. ...Good hands. ...Finds the gaps in a defense and puts himself in a position to score. ...Can slash. ...Nimble, and athletic. ...Has the ability to finish. Smooth. ...He has a short torso and long legs. Ebanks - if he can improve his deep shooting - will be a SF at the next level.

6. Gordon Hayward - Butler - 6'8" 180. Soph. ...Among the most polished players is Gordon Hayward, the 2009-10 Horizon League Player of the Year. He is a 6'8" kid that has guard-like skills due to a late growth spurt. As a high school freshman the right-hander stood 5'11". By his Senior season as a prep he was 6'8"! He can dribble, pass, and shoot (with a soft touch), and as his body matures (weight gain) he is catching up to the competition in the physical sense. A smooth wing player that makes smart decisions, Hayward also brings experience in the form of a past USA Basketball U-19 stint. ...Used occasionally to bring the ball up the floor. ...He posted sophomore averages of 16 points, nine rebounds, and two assists. His career Butler shooting numbers of 48% FG, and 82 % FT are rock solid. ...Was also an excellent tennis player in high school.

7. Kyle Singler - Duke - 6'8" 220. Jr. ...Singler is a scrappy Small Forward that never ceases to amaze with his smarts, boundless energy, and relentless hustle. He was the 2010 ACC Tournament MVP after averaging 21.7 points and 8.3 rebounds while leading Duke to its ninth ACC Championship in the last 12 seasons. He shoots the three well, and he is a great free throw shooter. He rebounds, he scores. ...Named a finalist for the 2010 Wooden Award. ...Singler seems to be mentally a step ahead of other players. He reads offensive situations and then makes the proper cut at the precise time to help his team. He is unselfish. …Limited in taking players off the dribble but he does possess a great shot fake that he uses to get free. ...He has range out to the three point line which helps spread any defense. …Focused. ...High hoops I.Q. …Singler is Duke's most well rounded player.

8. Wesley Johnson - Syracuse 6'7" 198 Jr. ... Wes Johnson is the man most often given credit for the great year that the Orange have enjoyed. He is the 2009-10 Big East Player of the Year. He scored 16 points, grabbed eight rebounds and had two assists per game this season. Johnson transferred from Iowa State and sat out the entire 2008-09. ...He can create his own shot and is said to be the hardest worker on his team. He can knock down contested shots due to his supreme athleticism. ...Has great body control. ...Plays the game with a smile on his face. ...Provides energy and ability. ...Shot 49% FG, 79% FT, and 39% 3pt. this season.

9. Kevin Jones - West Virginia 6'8" 250 Soph. ...Kevin Jones is everywhere! He is one of those players that has a nose for action. His coach Bob Huggins says he is a great kid that he does not have to worry about. He is never late and he knows all the plays. …He is strong and at this stage of his career he is more of a Power Forward really. He finishes well in transition. He might remind you of a Corey Maggette (but not as athletic at same age). ...At the next level, Jones will likely find himself playing Small Forward. …He does have ability to score from both inside and outside. As a sophomore - his averages are ten points, and six rebounds per game. ...He is an athletic right handed player but his speed is not great. He also needs to become a better ball handler as we've seen him struggle to handle intense ball pressure.

10. Draymond Green - Michigan State 6'6" 235 Soph. ...One of the most intriguing prospects in the NCAA is Draymond Green. Green is an undersized forward at 6'6" but he makes up for any lack of height with his savvy, and leadership. Known as "the Dancing Bear" to his teammates, Green has drawn comparisons to Charles Barkley from Illinois coach Bruce Weber. You do not see many PF's that own a positive assist-to-turnover ratio. However Green - in his career to date as a Spartan, has 136 assists and 83 turnovers. ...He shoots 55% from the field and scores ten points per game. He also will grab eight rebounds each time he hits the floor. ...Led Saginaw High School to Michigan Class A State Championship two straight years as a junior and senior respectively. Here is the article where Weber references Barkley.

11. Jamar Samuels - Kansas St. 6'7" 215 Soph. ...Samuels is another guy that is really playing Power Forward but will most likely need to transition to SF if he makes it to the NBA. ...He has a big NBA body with long arms. ...Averaging 12 points and five rebounds in 24 minutes per game this season. ...Right handed. …He can hit a three point shot but does not attempt many (19-46 41% this season). ...Was redshirt as a freshman. ...Played on the AAU circuit with the DC Assault alongside Michael Beasley. ...You can follow Jamar on Twitter.

12. Raymar Morgan - Michigan St. 6'7" 220. SR. ...Raymar Morgan is a player worth keeping an eye on now that he is healthy. Past ills have kept him from performing at his best but this year Morgan was solid - posting 12 points and six rebounds per game. As a Senior he also has more assists than turnovers for the first time in his career ( a sign that the light bulb may be turning on). ...For his career - he shoots 53% FG - which translates to a guy that takes good shots. ...He can defend Small Forwards and that should be his natural NBA position but he struggles with his perimeter shooting (just 29% from the college three this year). …A good athlete with terrific speed. He rebounds outside his area.

13. Patrick Patterson - Kentucky 6'8" 230 ... Patterson is one of three potential first round draft picks that Kentucky has on their ridiculously talented roster. …Patterson is the least spectacular but surely the most steady of the three. ...He plays a mature game and seldom tries to deviate from what he knows he can accomplish. He has recently become a much better perimeter shooter and now extends his range beyond the college three point line. His most dependable look in the NBA will be hitting the face-up 17 footer which he already does very well. His 73% free throw number backs up his nice touch for a BIG. ...Excellent finisher around the basket that shoots a high percentage (59% FG). …Wingspan is 7'1". ...Right handed. ...Good hands and soft touch. ...Patterson is a guy I trust.

14. Brian Zoubek - Duke 7'1" 280. SR. ... It would be hard to find a better teammate BIG than Brian Zoubek. He sets a wicked screen. He takes charges. He rarely tries to do anything outside of his skill-set. He only plays 18 minutes per game but he scores five points and grabs seven boards during that span. ...He is a legit 7'1" 280, and he CAN impact a college contest with his mere presence. ...Shoots 59%FG for his career at Duke. In 2006 as a high school SR he was on the Jordan All-America team, and was named 2006 New Jersey Player of the Year.

15. Quincy Pondexter - Washington 6'7" 220 SR. ... Pondexter is a player I like. He has superior energy and always seems to give an honest effort. He was named first team All-Pac-10 as well as being named to the Pac-10 All-Tournament Team. ...Pondexter is an alert swingman/scorer that I think will be more of a TWO than a THREE in the NBA. He set a Pac-10 record with five player of the week honors this season. He scored 19.8 ppg (second in Pac 10) this season. .…He is said to be a hard worker - winning the team's "hardest worker" award two years in a row from 2007-08 through 2008-09 (both seasons included Jon Brockman as a teammate). …Pondexter is feisty. …Quick jumper. ...A good but not GREAT athlete. ...Good defender. A 2006 graduate of San Joaquin Memorial High School in Fresno, CA where he played with the Lopez twins. His father, Roscoe, played college basketball for Lute Olson at Long Beach State before being drafted in the third round of the 1974 NBA Draft by the Boston Celtics, the 53rd pick overall ... Roscoe played 10 years of professional basketball overseas.

16. Omar Samhan - St. Mary's 6'11" 265 SR. ... Omar Samhan makes me shake my head. He shouldn't be as effective as he is. He is a shining example of how hard work can make you an effective player. Samhan led the West Coast Conference in scoring, rebounding and blocked shots. …He does not run that well. He looks awkward. But at the end of a game - Samhan has his average of 21 points. ...He does not "show and recover" well - which will most likely prevent him from being an NBA Center. ...By all accounts - Samhan is a GREAT kid. ...Known as a hard worker that lost weight and changed his body by working out in the summer.

Plus 16 more: Jordan Eglseder - Northern Iowa, Jon Scheyer - Duke, De'Sean Butler - West Virginia, Jordan Crawford - Xavier, Rick Jackson - Syracuse, Matt Howard - Butler, Wayne Chism - Tennessee, Kris Joseph - Syracuse, Quincy Acy - Baylor, Jason Love - Xavier, JaJuan Johnson - Purdue, Curtis Kelly - Kansas St., Arinze Onuaku - Syracuse, Jeff Foote - Cornell, J.P. Prince - Tennessee, William Buford - Ohio St.

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