|Irving is the ONE to watch.|
Kawhi Leonard - San Diego State 6'7" 225 Sophomore. ...I am sold on Kawhi Leonard! He has a unique skill set that is highlighted by a scorer's instinct, ball-handling ability and rebounding prowess. Really - he is just a basketball player. Leonard has big hands and a nose for the ball. He is a SPECIAL talent where rebounding is concerned. There are very few players who have what I call "suction cups" (for hands). Leonard is one of the few. His ability to grab balls sticks out like animation in reality. Imagine a player with guard-like dribbling ability that can get you nearly eleven boards per game and you begin to understand the rare value in Kawhi Leonard. He also finishes in transition, and powers through opponents with an advanced dribble-drive game. ...He has more assists than turnovers. Leonard's weakness to date is his three-point shooting (.240 career). ...If you wonder why San Diego State has been unusually good this season, Kawhi Leonard is the biggest factor.
Marcus Morris - Kansas 6'8" 225 Junior. ...Morris is one half of the "Kansas Twins". He and brother Markieff are hard working kids that bring skill and toughness to a team. Marcus was recently named the Big 12 Player of the Year. He is great in transition and can finish plays at the rim. In half-court sets - he is patient and smart. He can step out and hit a three point shot. He takes charges. He is alert. His combination of strength and quickness in face up situations vs. power players is very nice. …While not the playmaker that Rodney McCray was - Morris nevertheless reminds me of McCray with his ability to handle the ball or post up. Both are the kind of player that holds a team together with their ability and no nonsense approach. Morris is an excellent rebounder and he shoots 56% FG (career!). Led the Prep Charter High School Eagles to back-to-back Pennsylvania state titles in 2007 and 2006. In `07 he hit the game winning shot in the state championship game.
DeShaun Thomas - Ohio St. 6'7" 221 Freshman - Thomas only plays an average of 14 minutes per game off the bench as a Buckeye freshman but his efficiency and past accomplishments lead us to believe he may be the best Shooting Guard (or Small Forward) prospect in this tournament when we look back at it in five years. ...Thomas was Mr. Basketball 2010 in Indiana where he was a McDonald's All-American. He is an NBA athlete that can score and rebound at a high rate. ...Thomas won two Indiana state high school championships (2008 & 2009).
Jimmer Freddette - BYU 6'2" 195 Senior. - Jimmer Fredette is a phenomenal scorer. He is a combo-guard that leads the nation at 28.5 points per game. He can create his own scoring opportunities off the dribble. Right handed. ...He is a tremendously accurate shooter (40% from three and .90% FT). Freddette is coming off a Mountain West Tournament where he had a 52 point game vs. New Mexico. In that game - he hit seven triples. ...Good ball handler. ...He has long arms. ...Fredette has the ability to control his pace. …Not just a three point shooter. …Good with the ball in his hands - and capable of making plays at full speed. He has ability to make crazy, circus shots. ...He will jack some quick attempts but you live with it because he can light up the scoreboard like few ever have. Freddette is so popular - he is featured on CNN's website.
Jared Sullinger - Ohio St. 6'8" 262 Freshman - Sullinger has been an impact freshman for the #1 ranked Buckeyes. He is a big, wide bodied low post scorer that entered college prepared to be a BIG man. He is remarkably fundamentally sound for his age. This season his averages are 17 points (53% FG) and ten boards. ...While there is considerable hype around Sullinger - one must keep in mind - this is a down year overall for talent. The truth is - Sullinger's game is below the rim and he turns it over more than he assists. His free throw percentage is 70%.
Thomas Robinson - Kansas 6'9" 237 Sophomore - Robinson is a hyper-athletic front court playmaker that has the athleticism necessary to compete on the NBA hardwood. He is a fantastic offensive rebounder and energy guy. His efficiency in limited minutes translates well to the NBA. On the downside, most of Robinson's success comes from his athleticism and power rather than from skill. He is a poor free throw shooter at 50%, and he also has more than two turnovers for every assist. ...Sadly, Robinson's mother died January 22nd. Read an excellent feature here.
John Henson - North Carolina 6'10" 210 Sophomore - Henson is a super long shot blocker and offensive rebounding force that struggles with his shooting. He is rail thin but he changes opponent's shots with his long reach, and quick reactions. He has 113 blocked shots this season in 934 minutes! His field goal percentage is .503 - which is more of a reflection of the number of dunks and tip-ins he gets due to his length than due to his shooting skill (or lack thereof). …He is at .454 for his career at the free throw line which is horrible. ...The biggest question with Henson I see going forward is will his thin frame be able to withstand the rigors of the NBA? He looks too thin. I am already sold on his ability to impact games in the paint with his combo of reach and bounce.
Kemba Walker - Connecticut 6'1" 172 Junior - No player has received more television coverage this season than Kemba Walker. An ESPN darling, Walker is a strong Point Guard with great ball handling ability, combined with good speed. He repeatedly has nailed clutch shots for the Huskies this season - and he seems to shine when the lights are at their brightest. …Not afraid to go to the hole. …He competes. …Stays in plays defensively. …Crafty. Good in transition. …Can make a play one on one in crunch time. ...He has a nice stroke that is consistent and reliable. ...Quick hands. ...Alert. He will be among the steals leaders wherever he plays. ...He uses his off hand well (left). …Willing to accept a challenge. He reminds me of Ben Gordon but Walker is a little more of a PG than Gordon ever was. Walker has better vision than Gordon. ...Walker played for the Team USA Select team that practiced against the USA Men's senior National Team in the Summer of 2010. ...From the Bronx, NY. ...For his career his field goal percentage is just .430 - which helps to explain why U-Conn struggles to win with consistency. Defensively - I would like to see Walker have more active hands in on-ball situations.