Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Small Forwards to watch in the 2016 NCAA Tourament

Small forwards should have the ability to stretch the floor offensively by shooting the deep-ball with accuracy. We also like to find players who add versatility to a team by being able to make smart decisions, while holding their own as a scorer, defender, and rebounder. 

Here are the wing players we are keeping a close eye on during the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament...

Silky J
Jarrod Uthoff - Iowa. 6'9" 210, SR. ...Uthoff has a unique combination of skill and length. He can make a 25 foot jump shot with a quick release unlike few before him. At the same time, Uthoff is nimble enough at 6'9" to give offensive opponents trouble. He blocks shots at a high rate. He led the Big Ten this season in blocked shots (80 total). Uthoff is averaging 18.9 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 2.6 blocked shots per game.  In his Iowa career (three seasons) he has slightly more assists than turnovers. He improved his scoring average each season, going from 7.6, to 12.4, to 18.9 ppg. Uthoff's Defensive Rating is significantly better than the Iowa team DEFRTG (that's a good thing). ...Uthoff is interesting because of his length and legitimate ability to accurately make deep shots. He looked uncomfortable on the big stage earlier this year in a loss at Maryland. Likewise he under whelmed in tournament play early this season (Iowa losses to Dayton and Notre Dame). I am interested to see how he handles being The Man for Iowa in the NCAA Tournament. 

Brandon Ingram - Duke. 6'9" 196, frosh. ...Ingram has upside for his upside. Many believe he will be either the first or second player selected in the 2016 NBA Draft. If that is the case, most of that selection will be based on what is to come for this versatile basketball player. Ingram is long and skilled. He averages 16.8 points and 6.8 rebounds per game. He is shooting 41% from beyond the three point arc. He is a 68% free throw shooter. ...Ingram will need to improve his decision making to THRIVE in the NBA. His assist-to-turnover ratio is in negative territory in his freshman season. Ingram's Defensive Rating is slightly better than the Duke team DEFRTG. Ingram was a 2015 McDonald's All-American. He was recently named the ACC Rookie of the Year. 

Versatile Prince 
Taurean Prince - Baylor. 6'7" 215, SR. ...Prince averages 15.5 points and 6.1 rebounds per game. He was fifth in Effective Field Goal Percentage in the Big 12 this season (.488). …Prince doesn’t wow you with offensive output. Instead, he plays team basketball that endears him to coaches. Prince is a 2016 All-Big 12 First Team selection (coaches). Prince is the only player in the Big 12’s top-15 in scoring (4th), rebounding (10th), steals (14th) and blocks (14th). Prince earned his career high in December against New Mexico State when he scored 34 points. He was Bleacher Report's Sixth Man of the Year award winner last year. Prince started every game for Team USA in 2015 Pan American Games, helping the squad to a bronze medal. I don't view Prince as a star at the next level but he may one day be a starter. The consensus on Prince is that he will be selected somewhere between 15th and 35th in the 2016 NBA Draft. 

Gary Clark - Cincinnati. 6'7" 230, soph. ...Clark averages 10.7 points and nine rebounds per game. He was the highest ranked player in box score plus/minus this season in the AAC. He recently showed his toughness by playing on a severely sprained ankle in the championship contest of the AAC Tournament, a game that went into four overtimes! Clark led the AAC in Defensive Rating last season as a freshman. This season he was second in DEFRTG. ...The question for Clark is whether or not he can truly play SF in the NBA. He has shown the ability to hit the three point shot this season, although in limited fashion (just 25 attempts). He is a terrific decision maker with a healthy 1.58-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio. He shoots 66% at the free throw line. I like Clark's combination of skill and grit. 

The rest of the small forwards we will closely observe during the NCAA Tournament...

Shonn Miller - Connecticut. 6'7" 210, SR. 
Daniel Hamilton - Connecticut. 6'7" 180, soph. 
Georges Niang - Iowa State. 6'8" 236, SR. 
Tyler Lydon - Syracuse. 6'9" 205, frosh. 
Derek Willis - Kentucky. 6'9" 216, jr. 
OG Anunoby - Indiana. 6'8" 215, frosh. 
Anthony Lawrence Jr. - Miami. 6'7" 185, frosh. 
Nigel Hayes - Wisconsin. 6'8" 235, jr.
Michael Young - Pittsburgh. 6'9" 235, jr.  (See Micheal dunk!)

Read about the Point Guards to watch:
Read about the Shooting Guards to watch:

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