Thursday, March 28, 2013

Sweet 16 - 2013

There may not be any future NBA superstars among the players remaining in the NCAA Tournament. There are certainly some solid future pros. Here is a glance at the 16 players we are paying the most attention to (from an NBA scouting perspective) in the 2013 Men's Basketball Sweet 16. 
Even with goofy pants - Cody is a prospect. 
Cody Zeller - Indiana 6'11" 230 - Center. Sophomore. ...Zeller is a real weapon in college basketball. There just aren't many teams with a kid as big and as skilled as Zeller is. He averages 16 points and eight rebounds per game.  Cody is the younger brother of Luke and Tyler Zeller, both NBA players. Cody is perhaps a bit more rugged than Tyler, and Cody has a slightly higher career efficiency rating than his Cleveland Cavalier brother.  Cody understands that he is a BIG man and he does not try to do things outside his game.  This understanding of his role allows him to shoot 59% FG (career) - due to his excellent shot selection. He shoots 75% FT for his career. ...Zeller can improve by turning the ball over less. He gets caught off-balance too often despite good ball-handling skills for a Center.  

Victor Oladipo - Indiana 6'5" 214 - Shooting Guard. Junior. ...Oladipo is an athletic wing guard that plays both ends of the floor. He is the rare shooting guard that shoots over 50% from the field (presently at 54.5% FG for his three seasons at IU). He has great speed and the ability to create off the dribble. He has greatly improved his three-point percentage this season but his career number is probably a better indicator (33.3 %). Oladipo also helps as a rebounder. Not too many guards get you 6.4 rebounds per game - but Oladipo does! He was recently named The Sporting News 2013 Player of the Year. Defensively, he was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. ...Oladipo also can improve by cutting down on the turnovers. He has more turnovers than assists for his career. 

Ben McLemore - Kansas 6'5" 185 - Shooting Guard. Freshman. ...I really hope McLemore stays in school at least another year. He shows flashes of brilliance but is not yet the consistent player that I think he can become. He is special due to his combination of shooting accuracy and athletic ability. McLemore's touch is evident in his 87% free throw shooting, and his 41% three-point accuracy. He averages 16 points, five rebounds, and two assists per contest. 
Gardner makes the Cosby face.

Davante Gardner - Marquette 6'8" 290 - Power Forward. Junior. ...Gardner is a load to handle in the low-post. He is nimble and he has a soft touch for such a BIG dude. He was the Big East Sixth Man of the Year. Gardner shoots an impressive 79% FT - career. Defensively, he eats space but he is not a shot blocker. He averaged 11.5 points and 4.8 rebounds this season, playing just 21.3 minutes per game. 

Arsalan Kazemi - Oregon 6'8" 226 - Power Forward. Senior. ...Kazemi has a motor that seemingly churns twice as fast as his opponents. Non-stop energy is his calling card. The Iranian National Team member started his college career at Rice but has now landed at Oregon. He is a terrific rebounder and defender that was named to the Pac-12 All Defensive Team. For his NCAA career - he shoots 55% FG. 

Jeff Withey - Kansas 7'0" 235 - Center. Senior.. ...Withey is a shot-blocker that also has a little bit of an offensive game. For his size, he is quick off his feet - which allows him to block shots at a high rate. He leads my database of tournament players in 'blocks per minute', and his career 'blocks per minute' rate is better historically than noted shot-blockers John Henson, and Andre Drummond. Withey can step out to hit a face-up shot or score around the rim. The 23 year-old Senior was a unanimous All Big 12 selection. He shoots 72% from the free throw line. 

DeShaun Thomas - Ohio St. 6'7" 221 - Small Forward. Junior. ...You need a bucket? Thomas will get you one. He scores inside and outside. He scores on three-point shots, and post-ups. He hits wing jumpers, and paint floaters. In short, Thomas is a SCORER. His NCAA career 'points per minute' rate is better than noted scorer, Jordan Crawford (Xavier, Boston Celtics). 

Southerland needs more hype
James Southerland - Syracuse. 6'8" 215 - Small Forward. Senior. ...Southerland doesn't receive the hype some of his teammates do - but Southerland is probably a future NBA player due to his combination of size and shooting ability. He shoots 40% from beyond the arc. ...He averages 13.7 points, and 5.3 rebounds per game. ...Other scouts view him as a power forward but I think his NBA future will be as a wing. He does have a positive career assist-to-turnover ratio. 

Michael Carter Williams - Syracuse. 6'5" 176 - Point Guard. Sophomore.  ...Carter-Williams boasts a 2.36-to-1 assist to-turnover ratio which is not often seen in a dynamic, young guard. He is long, and lean and he has terrific explosion in his decisive moves on the court. His length makes him a tough match up for smaller point guards. Carter-Williams is still learning the value of shot selection. His career field goal percentage is just 39%. He helps his team on the boards, and he can create his own shot off the dribble. ...Carter-Williams has a "red-flag" for being caught shoplifting during his stay in Syracuse (Read this). He was a 2011 McDonald's All-American. I think he has the highest ceiling of any point guard in the Tournament. 

Mitch McGary - Michigan. 6'10" 263 - Power Forward. Freshman.  ...McGary has legitimate NBA size and rebounding ability. He was recently added to Michigan's starting lineup and he has made them a better team. McGary is averaging 17 points and 11.5 rebounds per game in the 2013 Tournament to date. He shoots 59% FG. ...Read this about McGary's open attitude about living with A.D.H.D. 

Russ Smith - Louisville. 6'0" 160 - Shooting Guard. Junior. ...The best pure scorer remaining in the Tournament is Russ Smith. He loves to shoot, and he will jack up some questionable shots. But Louisville would be lost without him. Smith helps his team get through rough offensive stretches with his short memory, and aggressive play. For his career, Smith has the same number of assists as turnovers. He shoots 34% from beyond the arc, and 82% from the line. 

Gorgui Dieng - Louisville. 6'10" 220 - Center. Junior. ...The Center with the highest ceiling is Gorgui Dieng. Although a 23 year-old junior, Dieng is still considered to be a player that is ascending. Defensively, he is a force. He moves his feet extremely well and he blocks or alters a high percentage of opponents' shots in the paint. (Dieng's blocks per minute are historically equal to JaVale McGee's numbers.) While Dieng is still raw offensively, he has shown enough to make me believe he will continue to improve. He is just a career 65% free throw shooter. 

Burke listens to his coach
Trey Burke - Michigan. 5'11" 180 - Point Guard. Sophomore. ...The best in the college game at running a team (in my opinion) is Trey Burke. He is a diminutive yet highly confident and skilled point guard. While not blessed with supreme athleticism or length, Burke closes the gap on the deficiencies with his high basketball I.Q., and leadership ability. Burke has an excellent 2.42-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio and he can also put the ball in the basket. He averages 19.2 points per game. Sports Illustrated named Burke their National Player of the Year for 2012-13. 

Glenn Robinson III - Michigan. 6'6" 210 - Shooting Guard. Freshman. ...The son of the "Big Dog" is an elite transition player that electrifies fans in the open court. His finishing ability helped him shoot an impressive 57% FG as a freshman. He also has an impressive assist-to-turnover ratio which speaks to his ability to make smart basketball decisions. Robinson's father, Glenn, was the first overall pick of the 1994 NBA Draft. 

C.J. Fair - Syracuse. 6'7" 216 - Small Forward. Junior. ...Fair just looks like a pro. He has a prototypical NBA wing body and an ever-improving skill set to match. This season the lefty became a legitimate three-point threat - hitting 49.2% from deep. he has improved his scoring and rebounding averages in each of his three seasons. I like Fair because he still has plenty of room for improvement. 

Mason Plumlee - Duke. Senior. 6'11" 245. ...Plumlee has NBA size, and he can finish above the rim. He averaged 17 points and ten rebounds per game this season, and he is unquestionably improving. However, Plumlee is not as high on my board as he may be on other boards. I think he is a quality college BIG-man but I'm not as sure about him as a pro.  He turns it over nearly two times for every one assist. He shoots only 57% from the line for his career (although he raised that to 67% FT this season). Plumlee is already 23 years-old.

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