Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Shooting Guards to watch in the NCAA Tournament

Annually we examine the prospects in the NCAA Tournament that NBA teams should be paying the most attention to. Specifically, we analyze a player's production per minute, and ability to defend. ...They say good guards will lead you to the winner's circle. Here are the best all-around Shooting Guards as we view it...

Graham = underrated
Treveon Graham - VCU 6'5" 215 Junior. ...Graham projects as a utility type pro that is not afraid to mix it up. He averages 15 points and seven rebounds per game this season. Graham's basketball hero is Paul Pierce and he tries to do Pierce-like things on the court. Graham is a career 34% three-point shooter. He has improved his assist-to-turnover ratio each season, getting into positive territory this year. He is a top-tier defender.

Casey Prather - Florida 6'6" 212 Senior. ...Scottie Wilbekin gets the notiriety but for our money the most important Gator is Casey Prather. Prather is an NBA athlete that has developed from a scrawny inefficient 165 lb. freshman into a skilled 216 lb. Senior. He averages 14 points and five rebounds per game. He projects as more of a TWO in the NBA than the forward position he presently employs at Florida. The most amazing part of his game is his field goal percentage. Prather is shooting 61% FG this season. He shot 62% last season. Defensively, he is excellent, ranking in the top half-dozen of all SG's in the 2014 NCAA Tournament. 

Jordan Adams - UCLA 6'5" 220 Sophomore. ...A major reason that UCLA is winning again is due to the play of Jordan Adams. He is an NBA athlete that averages 17.2 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. He has a "feel" for the game, and boasts a positive assist-to-turnover ratio, which is always nice to see in a "scorer". ...Adams hits 84% of his free throws. We put him into the shooting guard group but it is conceivable Adams can play Point Guard too. 

Denzel Valentine - Michigan St. Sophomore. ...Valentine is a vital part of the Michigan St. team that many see as a virtual lock for the Final Four. Valentine gets eight points, six rebounds, and four assists per game. I like Valentine's 6'5" size as it projects to the next level. He is one of those players that is "all over the court". He has improved his three point shooting this season, hitting at a 36% clip. 

Melvin Ejim - Iowa State 6'6" 230 Senior. ...Ejim was the 2013-14 Big 12 Player of the Year, posting averages of 18 points and eight rebounds per game. He is a smart, hustling, active player that, in college, plays forward. In the NBA, if he makes the cut, we see Ejim as a TWO. He has improved to 34% as a three-point shooter. He rebounds exceptionally well for his 6'6" size, and he hits 73% of his free throws. ...Ejim is from Toronto. 

Smith is a pest... in a good way.
Russ Smith - Louisville 6'0" 160 Senior. ...Smith is a whirl of energy that puts extreme pressure on opposing defenses with his ability to score. He shoots 35% 3-pt. (career), and 76% FT (career). ...Despite his 6'0" frame, Smith is a good defender too. He has the best Defensive Rating of any SG in the 2014 NCAA Tournament. Smith has made strides at running a team from the Point Guard position but his nature is reflected in his 1.21-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio. That is not PG worthy. 

Tyler Haws - BYU 6'5" 200 Junior. ...Haws is as skilled a wing scorer as there is in the college game. He moves without the ball like a seasoned veteran and his jumper is accurate and reliable. He is an 86% free throw shooter that hits 38% of his long balls. His defensive rating is not good but his offensive ability puts him on the map. 

Josh Hart - Villanova 6'5" 202 Freshman. ...Hart is coming off of an 18 point, eight rebound performance in Villanova's most recent game. He is widely considered one of the top-50 freshman in the country. He is shooting 50% FG, and in a small sample size of minutes, he owns an impressive 1.8-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio. 

Royce O'Neale - Baylor 6'6" 220 Junior. ...You don't hear much hype about Royce O'Neale but he is a player that has compiled some impressive numbers in his three-season NCAA career (he played his first two seasons at Denver). He is shooting 53% FG, and he owns a 1.37-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio. He shoots 38% from three-point range (career). He is worth keeping an eye on. 

Kyle Casey - Harvard 6'7" 225 Senior. ...Casey is an NBA athlete that averages 10.6 points, and 5.6 rebounds per game. He is a grown man at 24 years of age. For his position, he is an excellent defensive rebounder. For his career he shoots 50% FG, and 75% FT. Casey is an aggressive defender that can get himself into foul trouble. ...Casey sat out a year at Harvard after being involved in a school-wide cheating scandal. 

Michael Frazier II - Florida 6'4" 200 Sophomore. ...Frazier is a accurate shooting wing that hits an amazing 46% of his three point attempts (career). At the line, he further proves his great shooting touch at 86%. He led the SEC in True Shooting Percentage this season. ...Frazier averages 12.9 points, and 3.5 rebounds per game. Frazier exploded for 37 points in early March in a rout at South Carolina. 

Sean Kilpatrick - Cincinnati 6'4" 215 Senior. ...Kilpatrick scores 20.7 points, and grabs 4.4 rebounds per game. He has a 1.2-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio. …34% 3-pt. (career), 78% FT (career). He led the AAC in free throw attempts this season. …Kilpatrick has a three year old daughter. 

LaDontae Henton - Providence 6'6" 215 Junior. ...Henton plays forward but we project him as a TWO if he cracks the next level. He averages 13.9 points, and 7.8 rebounds per game. Henton is really good on the defensive glass. …Henton was arrested in May 2013 on a domestic dispute charge. 

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