RTC NBA Draft Profiles: Anthony Davis

Posted by EJacoby on June 28th, 2012

The 2012 NBA Draft is scheduled for tonight in New Jersey. As we have done for the last several years, RTC’s team of writers (including Andrew Murawa, Kevin Doyle, Evan Jacoby, Matt Patton, and Danny Spewak) will provide comprehensive breakdowns of each of the 35 collegians most likely to hear his name called by David Stern in the first round on draft night. We’ll work backwards, starting with players who are projected near the end of the first round before getting into the lottery as June progresses. As an added bonus, we’ll also bring you a scouting take from NBADraft.net’s Aran Smith at the bottom of each player evaluation.

Note: Click here for all published 2012 NBA Draft profiles.

Player Name: Anthony Davis

School: Kentucky

Height/Weight: 6’11” / 220 lbs.

NBA Position: Power Forward

Projected Draft Range: #1 Overall Pick

Anthony Davis will hear his name first during Thursday’s NBA Draft (AP Photo)

Overview: Believe it or not, Anthony Davis was not even on the radar as an elite prospect in his high school class three years ago. But that was before he grew eight inches in one summer, retained some of his guard skills, and developed elite shot-blocking fundamentals. The rest is history, as we all know his story as the #1 recruit in his class who produced immediately in college. In his one season at Kentucky, Davis led his team to a National Championship as Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA Tournament while winning the AP, Naismith, and Wooden National Player of the Year awards. He averaged 14.2 points, 10.4 rebounds, 1.4 steals, and an NCAA-best 4.7 blocks per game on 62.3% shooting as an 18-year-old freshman. While considered a defense-first asset, Davis also led the SEC in field goal percentage, offensive rating, and free throws made. At nearly 6’11” in shoes with a 7’5.5″ wingspan, great agility, incredible discipline, and a high basketball IQ, Davis is one of the best shot-blocking prospects the NBA has ever seen. He’s very wiry and must add strength to avoid getting pushed around in the paint at the next level, but he’s such a good athlete that he makes up for any lost ground by swatting away everything near the basket. On offense he can face up and shows a decent jump shot with range or drives by defenders to the cup. He can also play with his back to the basket where he’s an efficient scorer, rarely turning the ball over and drawing fouls at a high rate. But he’s best at cutting to the paint for open looks and lobs at the rim, where he finishes alley-oops with perfect timing and explosion. He’s also a beast in transition with his speed and versatile skills for his size. He shoots over 70% from the free throw line, shows great work ethic, and is an intense leader. What can’t Davis do? He’s still a young kid who’s very raw offensively and needs to add strength. But it’s doubtful he becomes anything but a game-changing NBA force that a franchise can build around.

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Big 12 Weekly Five: 06.28.12 Edition

Posted by dnspewak on June 28th, 2012

  1. We haven’t been able to talk college basketball for months, not since Kentucky cut down the nets in New Orleans. Thursday night, however, the NBA Draft will allow us junkies to get our college hoops fix by watching all of our former stars learn their fate. We’re always ready for surprises on draft night, but the endless number of mock drafts gives us a vague idea as to where the Big 12 standouts will go. One mock draft predicts Thomas Robinson at the number two spot, which has essentially become the consensus among all the draft “experts.” Kansas teammate Tyshawn Taylor is slotted as the last pick of the first round there, and Quincy Miller (#18), Royce White (#19) and Perry Jones, III (#20), are on the list, too. Many other players should hear their names in the second round, which is admittedly a bit more of a crapshoot.
  2. Kansas did just fine for itself last season, winning another Big 12 championship and reaching the national title game. But it wasn’t the easiest year for coach Bill Self, who had to mix and match with a short bench and only a handful of reliable contributors outside of the main nucleus. That’s why Self is excited about adding more depth in 2012-13, and he’s especially excited about the progression of sophomore guards Naadir Tharpe and Ben McLemore (ineligible last year). With those two expected to contribute more as well as the arrival of star freshman Perry Ellis, Self believes he should have more options.
  3. It’s hard to believe, but once the summer ends college basketball will be right around the corner. So it’s never too early to talk about non-conference schedules. Texas Tech will apparently add three major home games to its schedule next year: Alabama, Arizona, and Arizona State. That should give Billy Gillispie a decent idea as to how much his team has improved after a fairly disastrous first season.
  4. Oklahoma State has also announced it will host Gonzaga at Gallagher-Iba Arena on New Year’s Eve in 2012, an exciting match-up for those of us who’d rather watch hoops than college football during the holidays. Interestingly, OSU claims this could be the biggest non-conference home game at Gallagher-Iba in more than a decade, which sounds a bit like hyperbole but could certainly be true. And frankly, college basketball is better when that historic arena is rocking, which means the Cowboys better get their act together and string a few wins together before that December 31 game. There’s reason to believe Travis Ford’s team could get better too, especially if freshman Marcus Smart finds a way to co-exist with Le’Bryan Nash.
  5. Baylor is no stranger to scandal, and it’s happening again. In a strange twist, a former basketball player has been charged with extorting Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III. Richard Hurd is accused of telling Griffin he would disclose some sort of dirt on him to the public if he did not receive a sum of money, which  actually makes us more than a little curious as to what Hurd “had” on Griffin. We didn’t recognize the accused’s name when we saw it, but apparently he was a walk-on at Baylor who actually averaged 17 minutes per game in 2004-05.
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Big Ten Weekly Five: 06.28.12 Edition

Posted by Deepak Jayanti on June 28th, 2012

  1. Tom Izzo seems to be on a mission to have the Spartans play in a unique non-conference game ever year. Michigan State and North Carolina faced off on a live aircraft carrier last November but the matchup this year will is heading overseas. MSU and Connecticut will kick off the college basketball season on November 9 at the Ramstein air base in Germany. According to reports, the game will be in played in front of approximately 3,000 enlisted men and women at the base. Over the years, college hoops hasn’t necessarily had one single tip-off event that is a highlight on TV similar to Opening Day of Major League Baseball or even the first weekend of college football action. But unique match-ups such as this one and the Carrier Classic game from last year are slowly beginning to build the hype for the first week of hoops to satisfy the college basketball faithful.
  2. Matt Painter recruited Robbie Hummel, E’Twaun Moore and JaJuan Johnson together and the core group has helped to instill Painter’s legacy at Purdue so far. Moore and Johnson were drafted last year by the Boston Celtics and the third of the once known as “baby Boilers” might join them in the NBA very soon. Hummel performed very well at the NBA Draft combine and may be drafted in the second round tonight. Overall, Hummel has been extremely positive about the upcoming draft because of his comeback from an ACL injury last year. Just the mere fact that he is considered as a potential selection after multiple knee injuries in college is a tremendous accomplishment for one of the best Big Ten players over the last decade. Hummel averaged 16.4 PPG in his redshirt senior season after missing over a year due to the injuries. His intangibles and shooting touch on the court should earn him a chance to play in the NBA even if he isn’t drafted this evening.
  3. One of the major prerequisites for the open Illinois head coaching job this offseason was the ability to recruit in the Chicago area. The Windy City, which is considered one of the top recruiting pipelines in the country, has not always sent notable alumni to Champaign. But new head coach John Groce is attempting to change that trend, and the last piece of his new staff may help him in that effort. Former Illinois State assistant Paris Parham was hired by Groce to help him recruit the Chicago area. Parham has coached in the Chicago Public League and Illini fans hope that his past connections can help jump start the recruiting process.
  4. Speaking of Chicago, Bulls’ forward Luol Deng will have a member of his family joining him in the area. Bill Carmody and the Northwestern coaching staff are adding Deng’s cousin, Chier Ajou, to the roster next season. Ajou is a 7’2″, 235-lb center who chose the Wildcats over Butler. The Wildcats lost their starting center Luka Mirkovic from last season, so Ajou will join a team with a chance to earn time immediately. Northwestern will be led by Drew Crawford who hopes to build on a great junior season where he averaged 16.1 PPG.
  5. What’s the best way to reward your coaching staff after a Big Ten regular season championship? Give them extensions. Michigan‘s assistant coaches recently received multiyear extensions after a great 2011-12 season. John Beilein is signed through 2015-16 and the extensions include several incentives for Big Ten championships and NCAA Tournament wins. One of the assistants, Jeff Meyer, has been in Ann Arbor for five years, three of those as an assistant. Keeping the assistant coaches happy is extremely essential to solidify a consistent recruiting pipeline and Michigan AD Dave Brandon definitely wants to keep this staff intact for the long term.
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Morning Five: Draft Day Edition

Posted by rtmsf on June 28th, 2012

  1. For those of you just getting back from your annual vacation in Bora Bora, tonight is the 2012 version of the NBA Draft, also known as the reason that every single NCAA Division I men’s basketball player gets up and brushes his teeth in the morning. Alright, we’re guilty of hyperbole here. Every single high-major NCAA Division I men’s basketball player. Only 60 names will be called by David Stern and Adam Silver at the dais tonight, but the dream of each player to hear his name uttered and placed on the big board still motivates. When John Calipari infamously said at the 2010 draft that it was the greatest night in the history of Kentucky basketball, he knew that he had already set the wheels in motion from a recruiting standpoint to win a national title (remember that Anthony Davis, the cornerstone of last year’s championship team, verbaled to UK a mere seven weeks after that night). Oh, and he’s still doing it, for the record. It might be the NBA’s night, but it has a substantial impact on the college game in numerous ways. To that end, here are the latest and greatest Mock Drafts from around the web: DraftExpress, NBADraft.net, CNNSI (Sam Amick), ESPN (Chad Ford), CBSSports.com (Jeff Goodman and Matt Moore).
  2. As many as nine one-and-dones could be chosen in tonight’s draft, no doubt setting off another cacophonous round of complaints about how the NBA is ruining the college game. We’re certainly not indifferent to the one-and-done issue, as we’ve written about it many times before, but until the NBA finally realizes that pushing the league minimum to the age of 20 is in its own long-term best interests, nothing is bound to change. ESPN.com’s Myron Medcalf takes a detailed look at how we got here — from the Korleone Youngs and Taj McDavids of the preps-to-pro days on through the present and future, which at least one prominent coach figures could get considerably more muddled by 2016 as the NCAA implements its progressively tougher entrance requirements. Check out part one and part two of the piece before you watch the latest crop of one-and-doners including Anthony Davis, Quincy Miller, Tony Wroten, and the others walk the stage tonight.
  3. Recognizing that there’s probably a lot more of these stories than are ever publicized, we still appreciate it when we read one. Kentucky forward Terrence Jones isn’t even a draftee yet but he’s already giving back to his fans and the community that supported him for two years in Lexington. A UK fan named William Bolden who met Jones while playing pickup basketball near the student dorms was in dire need of some dental work, so Jones paid out of pocket for the repairs. And when we say dental work, we’re talking about 12 cavities filled, two teeth pulled, and three new front teeth — a rather significant expense. Players are often (and rightfully in many cases) ripped apart for blowing through their newfound riches when they go pro, but we’re glad to hear at least one story involving a player not even 21 years old yet doing something positive for someone not as fortunate as him.
  4. To that end, there are always a number of stories on draft day about players who persevered through life’s crappy hands to get to that exalted point in their lives. In this year’s draft, though, nobody has had to deal with as much personal adversity as Kansas’ Thomas Robinson, which is one reason so many people in this business have rooted so hard for his success. If you don’t know the details, the LA Times revisits the tragic 25-day stretch in Robinson’s sophomore year when he lost his grandparents and his mother, leaving his 9-year old sister, Jayla, frightened and for all intents completely alone back in DC, some 1,100 miles away. Robinson’s driving force in life is to take care of that little girl, and you can count us among the many who will feel a real happiness when he becomes an instant millionaire tonight.
  5. The stars of tonight are today’s high school unknowns (at least to most of us). CBSSports.com’s Jeff Borzello looks to the future and rank-orders the top 14 players in the next three years of high school basketball (2013-15) as of right now. We really don’t know enough about any of these players to make any intelligent observations, but it’s certainly interesting that the player whom Sports Illustrated just put on its cover as the best prep player since LeBron James — Jabari Parker — is #2 on this list. Borzello has 2014’s Andrew Wiggins, a small forward and native Canadian who plays at Huntington (WV) Prep, as his top overall player in high school as of right now. See how it works? The biggest and best thing ever… until the next biggest and best thing ever… followed by the next biggest and best thing ever…
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Arizona Week: Five Newcomers Could Earn Immediate Playing Time

Posted by AMurawa on June 27th, 2012

Paired with the more-than-adequate group of returnees we profiled earlier today, the Wildcats have a stellar group of newcomers that they’re welcoming in as well. Their five-man freshman class was rated third in the nation by ESPN, and that’s not even including the commitment they got from senior transfer Mark Lyons, who will be immediately eligible for Sean Miller’s club next year after choosing the Arizona version of the Wildcats (over the Kentucky version). All told, there are five players among the six newcomers who will get a chance to make a major contribution next season. Below, we’ll take a look at all of the newcomers, by order of who is likely to make the biggest impact in 2012-13.

  • Mark Lyons, Senior, Combo Guard, 6’1”, 188 lbs, Xavier University – Despite the fact that UA’s three freshmen big men all probably have brighter futures ahead of them than Lyons, the graduate transfer will have the biggest impact on the Wildcat’s 2012-13 season. Lyons spent the last two seasons in Cincinnati playing second-fiddle to point guard Tu Holloway, but he’ll get his chance to have the ball in his hands a lot more in Tucson, as he’ll take over the point guard duties from day one. He’s got the reputation of a guy who is more interested in finding his own shot than creating looks for his teammates, but in his three years with the Musketeers, he averaged assists on almost 18% of his teammates’ made field goals, a pretty impressive number for a guy who played off the ball. Nevertheless, there is some truth to the idea that Lyons likes to, and is very capable of, creating his own shots. What he’ll need to prove this season, not only for the success of this Wildcat team but for Lyons’ dreams of playing in the NBA, is that he can walk the fine line between making himself a scoring threat and setting up his new teammates with good scoring opportunities. If Lyons can pull that off, the Wildcats could be in the national championship picture; if he falls back into his 2011-12 habit of shooting nearly 28% of his team’s shots, UA could be a major underachiever.
Kaleb Tarczewski, Arizona

Kaleb Tarczewski, Here Facing Up Against National #1 Recruit Nerlens Noel, Will Man The Post For The Wildcats (Jay Connor, Boston Globe)

  • Kaleb Tarczewski, Freshman, Center, 7’0”, 230 lbs, St. Mark’s High School, Claremont, New Hampshire – Tarczewski wound up as ESPN’s 4th rated player in the 2012 recruiting class, highlighting Sean Miller’s best recruiting class, and he is not the type of center that comes into college as a project years away from consistent production. He’s got a strong body ready to step in and immediately pound away with veteran Pac-12 bigs, but also displays surprising athleticism in the open floor. His real strength, however, is carving out prime real estate on the block, catching the ball with his back to the basket and using his strength and agility to get to one of his go-to post moves. He’s equally adept at cleaning the glass on both ends of the floor, and his size and strength are sure turn him into a strong post defender. Tarczewski averaged 20.7 points and 10.2 rebounds as a high school senior, shooting 63% from the field and showing all the signs of a guy in the midst of serious improvement. If he can continue to home his game, he may not be long for Tucson. Read the rest of this entry »
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Can All Six Expected Kentucky Draftees Find NBA Success? History Shows It’s Unlikely…

Posted by EJacoby on June 27th, 2012

At this Thursday’s NBA Draft, expect to hear six former Kentucky players’ names called. But what are the chances that all six end up having strong pro careers? Four of the UK players are locks to go in the first round while two others are fringe picks, so there are high expectations for this group of newcomers. Has any past college team ever produced four or even five solid pros in the same draft? It turns out that 12 different college teams have seen at least four of their players get selected in a draft since 1989, when the draft shrunk from seven rounds to two. Unfortunately, none of these teams produced more than three successful pros, though the most recent examples include small sample sizes and show some promise. The bottom line is that history is working against the six former Wildcats, and it would be unprecedented for even five of them to pan out. Kentucky basketball has had a way of setting records recently, though, and it wouldn’t come as a surprise if most or all of Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Terrence Jones, Marquis Teague, Doron Lamb, and Darius Miller eventually become strong NBA players.

Can at least five Kentucky players from the upcoming 2012 NBA Draft end up having strong careers? (AP Photo)

Since the draft shrunk to only two rounds back in 1989, no college team has ever had six players drafted in the same year. It goes to show just how talented the 2011-12 Wildcats were, starting at the top with the expected #1 pick Anthony Davis.  The 2006 Connecticut, 2007 Florida, 2008 Kansas, and 2010 Kentucky teams are the only others to produce as many as five NBA draft picks, so the trend has been pointing toward this day.

Today we’ll break down the teams that have come closest to producing four quality pros, including the most recent teams which still have a chance to do so. In order to qualify as a successful pro, our criteria requires players to have enjoyed extended, productive NBA careers. Career scoring averages of around 10 points per game is a general floor. Statistics don’t always tell the tale, so minutes played and games started are also considered to generally mean that a player was useful to his team. A one-stop statistic is Win Shares, which calculates the value a player adds over accumulated time and can be easily accessed through Basketball Reference’s database. Players who aren’t ranked in the top 20 Win Shares of their draft class generally don’t qualify as contributors. We’ll note if exceptions apply for certain players.

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RTC NBA Draft Profiles: Thomas Robinson

Posted by dnspewak on June 27th, 2012

The NBA Draft is scheduled for Thursday, June 28, in Newark, New Jersey. As we have done for the last several years, RTC’s team of writers (including Andrew Murawa, Kevin Doyle, Evan Jacoby, Matt Patton, and Danny Spewak) will provide comprehensive breakdowns of each of the 35 collegians most likely to hear his name called by David Stern in the first round on draft night. We’ll generally work backwards, so for the next week or two we’ll present you with players who are projected near the end of the first round, and we’ll work our way up into the lottery as June progresses. As an added bonus, we’ll also bring you a scouting take from NBADraft.net’s Aran Smith at the bottom of each player evaluation.

Note: Click here for all published 2012 NBA Draft profiles.

Player Name: Thomas Robinson

School: Kansas

Height/Weight: 6’9”, 245 pounds

NBA Position: Power Forward

Projected Draft Range: High Lottery

Robinson Was a Year-Long NPOY Candidate

Overview: After spending two years as a reserve to the Morris twins at Kansas, Thomas Robinson grew into a Player of the Year candidate and one of Bill Self’s most coveted NBA prospects ever in his junior season. With a motor that never seems to quit and the strength of an NFL defensive end, Robinson bullied his way through elite big man after elite big man. He became a double-double machine in 2011-12, not infrequently finishing with over 17 rebounds in a game and blowing up for 25+ points on more than one occasion. Although his team featured elite point guard Tyshawn Taylor, Elijah Johnson, and a few other key contributors, Self’s team wasn’t very deep and it relied heavily on its horse. Robinson didn’t disappoint, carrying the Jayhawks all the way to the National Championship game. By the time it was all over, Robinson turned in one of the finest performances of any player in college basketball. On the season, he averaged 17.7 points and 11.9 rebounds per game, clearly defining himself as the nation’s toughest, most rugged and most feared power forward. Off the court, his tragic personal life has been well-documented by nearly every major media outlet. So when Robinson left school a year early, it was hard to criticize him after the loss of his mother and grandparents — especially with a young sister to care for and support.

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Assessing The Rising NBA Draft Prospects Who Could Land In First Round

Posted by EJacoby on June 27th, 2012

As part of our NBA Draft series, we have been breaking down in full scouting reports all the top prospects who could hear their names called in the first round on Thursday. Included in our profiles are the 35 top prospects as consensus-ranked back in mid-May. But now we’re a day away from the draft, and there’s been plenty of movement around the bottom end of those consensus rankings. Teams have gotten to see the prospects go through measurements, tests, and interviews at the Chicago Combine as well as individual and group workouts in private practice settings. As always, there are some guys moving up at the last minute who weren’t in the mix six weeks ago but could find their way into the first round. Who will become this year’s Norris Cole, the guard from Cleveland State who shot up draft boards late in the process last year and got selected #28 overall? We’ll detail these rising prospects who didn’t make our original cut and we didn’t get a chance to break down in full.

Athletic guard Jared Cunningham is gaining some first round buzz (Pac-12 photo)

Some of the players we detailed back in May who were fringe first-rounders at the time are now falling as likely second-rounders. Scott Machado, Kevin Jones, and Darius Miller, especially, are all projected outside of the top 35 by Draft Express and NBADraft.net at this time. That doesn’t mean these guys won’t get selected in the first round, but the buzz simply isn’t as strong leading up to draft night as some other prospects that we overlooked. Three names – excluding foreign players – who are now rising above these players in terms of consensus rankings heading into draft night are Jared Cunningham, Kim English, and Miles Plumlee. We’ll detail each prospect with a quick and dirty breakdown, including what has caused each player to rise in the past few weeks.

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Arizona Week: Running Down the Returnees

Posted by AMurawa on June 27th, 2012

The Wildcats return five players who earned 10 or more minutes last season and it is a good bet that each of those players will have at least as big a role in 2012-13, with a couple different players perhaps poised for breakout seasons. Today we’ll take a look at each of them, by order of last year’s scoring average, and try to peer into the near future for each of these guys.

  • Solomon Hill, Senior, Small Forward (13.0 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 2.6 APG) – In 2011-12, Hill led the Wildcats in rebounding and assists, was second in scoring, posted the highest field goal percentage and defensive rebound percentage, used the most possessions of anyone on the team, knocked down 37 three-pointers at a 39% clip, and did all of that in a highly efficient manner. In other words, the dude’s versatile. And, in a year where Arizona will be breaking in a one-season tire-patch of a point guard in Mark Lyons, a guy who has been known to fall in love with his own shot, Hill’s ability to play the point-forward position could be vital. Further, with a bunch of talented freshman bigs getting ready to make an impact in Tucson, Hill could be pushed out of the paint more, setting up camp more on the perimeter and at the elbows. If he can continue to improve his jumper as he has done, he could prove to be a matchup nightmare, capable of stepping out to hit the three, knocking down the pull-up off a couple dribbles, using a power move to get to the hoop, or feeding the bigs out of the high post. Really, while Hill definitely shone in his junior year, he could be primed to step it up even another notch in his final collegiate campaign. Throw in his ability as a vocal leader on a team with plenty of youngsters (he could, in particular, be a mentor for freshman big Grant Jerrett, who has some of the same skills that Hill possesses) and Hill could be one of the most important players to his team in the entire country.
Solomon Hill, Arizona

Solomon Hill is Arizona’s Most Versatile Player, And Could Be The Team’s Emotional Leader This Season (Ronald Martinez, Getty Images)

  • Nick Johnson, Sophomore, Shooting Guard (9.0 PPG, 3.2 RPG. 2.4 APG) – Johnson’s freshman season got off to a flashy start, with seven double-figure scoring efforts prior to New Year’s Day, copious amounts of highlight-reel dunks, solid defense, and a confident jumper. Unfortunately, once conference play rolled around, he struggled with his jumper (he shot 41.7% from three prior to January 1 and 28% afterward) and his confidence waned. Opponents began playing off him and daring him to shoot, and his entire game at both ends of the floor was negatively impacted by his shooting woes. Still, all things considered, it is hard to be anything but bullish about Johnson’s future. As athletic as any returning guard in the conference, Johnson’s got a strong first step, the ability to throw down a dunk in an opposing big man’s face, and a willingness to make the unselfish play when it presents itself. Add on the ability to be a lockdown defender and, so long as Johnson tightens up his jumper, he could be among the conference’s best players next year.
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RTC NBA Draft Profiles: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

Posted by EJacoby on June 27th, 2012

The 2012 NBA Draft is scheduled for Thursday, June 28, in New Jersey. As we have done for the last several years, RTC’s team of writers (including Andrew Murawa, Kevin Doyle, Evan Jacoby, Matt Patton, and Danny Spewak) will provide comprehensive breakdowns of each of the 35 collegians most likely to hear his name called by David Stern in the first round on draft night. We’ll work backwards, starting with players who are projected near the end of the first round before getting into the lottery as June progresses. As an added bonus, we’ll also bring you a scouting take from NBADraft.net’s Aran Smith at the bottom of each player evaluation.

Note: Click here for all published 2012 NBA Draft profiles.

Player Name: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

School: Kentucky

Height/Weight: 6’7” / 235 lbs.

NBA Position: Small Forward

Projected Draft Range: High Lottery

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist plays with a passion that can’t be taught (AP Photo)

Overview: Much like fellow top five prospect Thomas Robinson, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist’s NBA intrigues stems from his elite athletic tools and nonstop motor. The heart and soul of Kentucky’s National Championship run, Kidd-Gilchrist doesn’t turn 19 years old for another three months, yet displays the maturity and basketball IQ of someone far more advanced in his playing career. ‘MKG’ never quits on a play, locks down defenders for a full 35 seconds, and legitimately thinks he can get every rebound or loose ball during the course of a game. At nearly 6’8″ and an explosive 235 pounds, Kidd-Gilchrist can defend guards on the perimeter and big men in the post with equal success. He constantly attacks, persistent at getting to the rim on the offensive end. He led the NCAA by converting 71% of his field goals in transition situations, nearly unstoppable in the open floor. Despite all of his off-the-charts intangibles and hustle plays, Kidd-Gilchrist doesn’t possess the game of a typical franchise player. He averaged just 11.9 PPG in his one-year career at Kentucky and lacks ideal perimeter skills. Though he’ll take and make some outside shots, his jumper has ugly mechanics and he isn’t great at getting his own shot. He’s much more of a weapon off the ball cutting into open spaces to attack the basket. He also averaged more turnovers (2.2) than assists (1.9) and is not very adept as a playmaker for others. That said, MKG finds ways to contribute in the half court, mainly by getting to the foul line at an elite rate and knocking down 75% of his freebies. Not surprisingly, he measured out quite well at the Combine with a 7’0″ wingspan and third-fastest sprint time. Should Kidd-Gilchrist ever fix his outside shot and develop more go-to offensive moves, he’ll have a chance to be a special NBA player given his prototypical athleticism and unique unselfish attitude that leads to doing any and every thing he can to get his team a win.

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Morning Five: 06.27.12 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on June 27th, 2012

  1. Providence appears to be turning things around at least on the recruiting trail, but their on-court product took a significant hit yesterday when it was announced that incoming McDonald’s All-American Kris Dunn will be undergoing surgery on his right shoulder for a torn labrum in the next two weeks and will miss the next four to six months. Although as much as a half-year is a relatively insignificant amount of time in the life of a basketball player, especially at Dunn’s age, it will likely derail the start of Providence’s season as they look to turn things around under Ed Cooley without one of its stars. We wish Dunn the best in his recovery and hope to see him playing in a Friar jersey soon.
  2. We have to give credit to Tom Izzo who is taking the idea of “playing anybody anywhere” to a new extreme as Michigan State is scheduled to open the season against Connecticut at an Air Force base in Germany (pending approval by the Department of Defense) just a year after the Spartans played North Carolina on an aircraft carrier. Fortunately for Izzo his opponent this year will be markedly weaker than the Tar Heel team MSU faced in the Carrier Classic a year ago and they won’t have to do it on the water. While we would welcome more page views from Germany, we do not believe that this type of game is going to generate any more interest in college basketball overseas, as many of the top teams already make international offseason trips and play against high-level teams including occasional match-ups against national teams.
  3. As he does before every NBA Draft, Seth Davis queried a group of NBA scouts, coaches, and executives and got what amounts to a consensus view on the top players in tomorrow’s NBA Draft. A few of the more interesting comments came about players such as Andre Drummond (“scares me to death”), Draymond Green (“his shot’s not broken”), Darius Johnson-Odom (“a killer”), Austin Rivers (“spoiled and selfish”), Marquis Teague (“not going to be playing against Mississippi State and Auburn up here”), and Renardo Sidney (“no chance”). As always, there’s a bunch of great insights from the quotes in the piece, so make sure to check out the entire thing sometime before Thursday night.
  4. We have already seen plenty of 2012 NBA mock drafts, but the latest ESPN Insider feature is the first one we have seen this year where current NBA players select the draftees who would be their eventual teammates (requires membership, sorry). Like most mock drafts there is a certain degree of groupthink here, but this one varies more from the consensus than most. You might say that players have a capacity to notice special skills that draftniks are unable to grasp; or, that players usually make for horrible general managers (we are going with the latter). If you have ESPN Insider access, it is worth a click just for J.J. Redick‘s analysis of Bradley Beal whom he selected 19th (!). Who knew that behind all that poetry there was a sense of humor?
  5. Duke or Ohio State is set to get some excellent news today when Mississippi State forward Rodney Hood announces his decision as to where he will transfer. The 6’8″ all-SEC freshman averaged 10/5/2 APG last year but decided to leave Starkville upon Rick Stansbury’s firing. If you read the tea leaves in his quotes about each school, it would seem that Duke is where he’ll end up. Regardless of where he heads, though, he’ll have to sit out the mandatory transfer year and will not suit up again until the 2013-14 season. There won’t be a many players in next year’s class of 2013 better than Hood as a rising sophomore, so whichever school gets him will be well ahead of the recruiting game a year from now.
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RTC NBA Draft Profiles: Jared Sullinger

Posted by KDoyle on June 26th, 2012

The 2012 NBA Draft is scheduled for Thursday, June 28, in Newark, New Jersey. As we have done for the last several years, RTC’s team of writers (including Andrew Murawa, Kevin Doyle, Evan Jacoby, Matt Patton, and Danny Spewak) will provide comprehensive breakdowns of each of the 35 collegians most likely to hear his name called by David Stern in the first round on draft night. We’ll work backwards, starting with players who are projected near the end of the first round before getting into the lottery as June progresses. As an added bonus, we’ll also bring you a scouting take from NBADraft.net’s Aran Smith at the bottom of each player evaluation.

Note: Click here for all published 2012 NBA Draft profiles.

Player Name: Jared Sullinger

School: Ohio State

Height/Weight: 6’9” / 265 lbs.

NBA Position: Power Forward

Projected Draft Range: Mid to Late First Round

There Are Plenty Of Questions Around Sullinger Heading Into The Draft

Overview: Whether fair or not, much of the attention surrounding Sullinger leading up to Draft night has been on a reportedly ailing back and the fact that he was not invited to the NBA Draft as reported by ESPN’s Andy Katz. Sullinger is not projected to be a lottery pick by experts, and thus did not receive an invitation to the Prudential Center in Newark. Entering his sophomore year, Sullinger was a consensus top five selection in the Draft as he was—and still is—one of the most polished big men in the country. His low post moves and ability to score within 10 feet from the basket is unparalleled, but then his athleticism and health were questioned. Red flags went up back in December when Sullinger was forced to miss Ohio State’s game against Texas Pan American and the following game against Kansas. Despite coping with this hindrance, Sullinger was still one of the top forwards in the nation averaging 17.9 PPG and 9.2 RPG. When at full strength, like he was during his freshman year garnering the USBWA Freshman of the Year award, Sullinger is an immovable force with exceptional hands and the softest of touches around the basket. Not to mention, his mid-range jumper is pretty darned good for a 6’9: guy. But then again, there are the questions regarding his health. One of the most likable guys in this year’s Draft with a smile seemingly always on his face and a jovial manner about him, no one wishes Sullinger to have an injury-plagued pro career that his predecessor at Ohio State—Greg Oden—has had thus far. One thing is for certain, a healthy Sullinger whose skills continue to develop makes for a real steal in the latter half of the first round.

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