Thursday, March 15, 2012

Shooting guards to watch in the 2012 NCAA Tournament

Annually we list the players in the NCAA Tournament that we feel have the best chances to succeed someday at the next level. ...Here are the shooting guards…

MKG is a transition FREAK!
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist – Kentucky 6’7” 232 Freshman.  Kidd-Gilchrist is a special player in transition. He plays at hyper-speed and yet somehow has the body control to finish plays that simply could not be made by an ordinary athlete. He was ranked third for the high-school class of 2011 by ESPNU. This season he was named second-team All-America by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association. ...He works on defense and is unselfish on offense. A hustler. ...Averages 11.8 points and 7.6 rebounds per game on 48% FG, 74% FT.

Jamaal Franklin – San Diego St. 6’5”    195 Sophomore.  Franklin burst onto the scene this year, averaging 17.2 points, 7.9 rebounds and 1.5 assists. Last season, he barely played on a talented, veteran laden SDSU team. Franklin is an athletic player that has some flash to his game. He can create a shot and draw fouls with one-on-one plays. ...He converts 77% from the free-throw line (career).  …Named 2011-12 Mountain West Conference Player of the Year. He could be a better decision maker, and he could handle the ball more carefully (he has about two turnovers for every one assist). ...He really helps out on the glass.

C.J. hits the boards!
C.J. McCollum – Lehigh 6’3” 180 Sophomore.  McCollum is a guard with a nice touch and a nose for the ball. He is not going to overwhelm with athleticism but he finds a way to consistently get into the mid-range for shots. ...McCollum is a scorer. He averages 21.9 points per game. He gets to the free-throw line with regularity where he converts at 82% (career). ...Shoots 35% from 3-pt. range this season. ...Said Jeff Jones, American University Head Coach (link follows), "There's not a whole lot of players better than him in the country. He's not a very good Patriot League player; he’s a very good player, period."

Will Barton – Memphis 6’6” 170 Sophomore. Boundless energy defines Will Barton. He just keeps going and going and going. Barton is a versatile guard that can defend PG's or SG's. ...He is excellent in transition. …Was named to's All-America third team. ...Barton leads Memphis and Conference USA in scoring with an 18.1 average. He also ranks among the league leaders in rebounding (7th), field goal percentage (11th), free throw percentage (10th), assists (13th), steals (5th) and minutes played (4th). He is the only guard ranked in the top-10 of C-USA's rebounding leaders.

D.J. Stephens will get dirty!
D.J. Stephens – Memphis 6’5” 187 Junior. This is probably a stretch. …Stephens is noticeable for his athleticism although he plays only eight minutes per game. ...He energizes his team by doing whatever is asked of him. ...He is also known for executing crazy dunks. He is an above-the-rim finisher. In three seasons at Memphis his field goal percentage is 62%. …At the professional level - I see him as a defender that can get you buckets in transition. He is an NBA athlete and a guy willing to accept that plays won't be run for him.

Oladipo is a 'high-riser'. 
Victor Oladipo – Indiana 6’5” 214 Junior. I really like Oladipo's speed! He is an NBA athlete for sure. ...Oladipo averages 10.9 points per game while also helping out on the boards at 5.5 rebounds per contest. He can shake his man with a crafty dribble. …He needs to improve as a perimeter shooter (just 21% from 3-pt. range this season), and he needs to be more consistent. He has too many games where his shooting percentage is low. ...He is a career 69% free throw shooter.

Bradley Beal – Florida 6’3” 207 Freshman. Beal is a TWO Guard that helps as a rebounder. He is averaging 14.6 points per game, and 6.5 rebounds per contest. He came in touted as a big-time three-point shooter but this season he knocked down only 32% of his attempts. …His 77% free throw shooting is probably a better indication of his touch. ...He is said to be a great teammate. ...Former McDonald's All-American. He was MVP at the under-17 FIBA world championships in Germany.

Lamb is smooth.
Jeremy Lamb – Connecticut 6’5” 185 Sophomore. Lamb is a smooth shooting guard with NBA athleticism and length. He played a large role on the Kemba Walker-led U-Conn team that won the 2011 National Championship. He has quick hands. …He hits the three point shot at 38% (career). …He is a good free throw shooter at 82% (career). He has tremendous basketball instincts - making quick passes that lead to baskets. In 2011 (Summer) he played for USA Basketball's U-19 team at the FIBA World Championships in Latvia. He was the only American player selected to the five-man All-Tournament Team.

Doug Anderson – Detroit 6’5” 220 Junior. Anderson was a big-time juco player that led the Mott Community College Bears to a runner-up finish at the NJCAA national championships as a sophomore in 2011. …He is a supreme athlete that finishes plays above the rim. This season he's averaged 9.1 points per game on 51% FG, while shooting 80% from the foul line. ...Anderson is right-handed. …You can get a feel for Anderson’s athletic prowess in this video:

Jeffrey Taylor – Vanderbilt 6’7” 210 Senior. Taylor does some things that separate him from the average Shooting Guard prospect. For starters - he takes charges and is an excellent defender. …He is also relatively unselfish - passing ahead as a rule. …He is a good athlete with quick and explosive jumping ability. ...He has dramatically improved as a three-point shooter (at 43% this season!). ...He can try to do too much at times - which is why he is yet to have a season with more assists than turnovers. ...This season - he averages 16 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. ...Summer 2008: Played for Sweden National Team in the Under-20 European Division B Championships, where he averaged 19.4 points, 9.3 rebounds and 2.8 assists in eight games. ...Taylor's father, Jeff, played at Texas Tech before playing in the NBA for Houston and Detroit.

John Jenkins – Vanderbilt 6’4” 215 Junior. Jenkins is a "knock-down" shooter with a soft touch that was recently named the MVP of the 2012 SEC Tournament. He hits the three-ball at 44.8%! At the line, late in games you can count on his career 86%. …He has more turnovers than assists for his career and he doesn’t help too much on the boards - but give John Jenkins an open jump shot and most likely that baby is going down.

J’Covan Brown – Texas 6’1” 185 Junior. Brown is a talented player that can really score. He was named First Team All Big 12 (by the coaches). ...I can him the "right-handed Nick Van Exel." …He is aggressive in every thing he does on the court. …An important piece for the Longhorns, Brown finished the season as the Big 12 scoring champ, averaging 20.0 points per game. He was among the league leaders in assists (3.9, 8th), FT Percentage (86.0, 4th), steals (1.3, 8th), 3Pt.FG Percentage (37.5, 14th), 3PFGs Made (74, 4th), Assist-to-Turnover Ratio (1.47, 8th), and Minutes Played (35.3, 2nd). ...Not afraid to take ANY shot.

William Buford – Ohio St. 6’5” 205 Senior. Buford is a terrific wing player that can score or share! He has consistently averaged 14 points per game for the last three seasons. What I really like about his game is that he is the rare jump shooter with a positive assist-to-turnover ratio (1.46-to1). …I'd like to see him get to the free throw line more often - where he hits 80% of his attempts. …Perimeter scorer. Right handed. 2008-09 Big Ten Freshman of the Year.

Bubbling under: Reggie Bullock - North Carolina 6'6" 190 Sophomore, Tim Hardaway Jr. - Michigan 6'6" 200 Sophomore. 

Also considered: Seth Curry - Duke, Kyle Kuric - Louisville, Lenzelle Smith Jr. - Ohio St., Sean Kilpatrick - Cincinnati, Doron Lamb - Kentucky, Okaro White - Florida St., Darius Johnson-Odom - Marquette, and P.J. Hairston - North Carolina. 

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