The 2012 NBA Draft is scheduled for Thursday, June 28, in New York City. 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: Meyers Leonard
Height/Weight: 7’1” / 250 lbs.
NBA Position: Center
Projected Draft Range: Late Lottery Pick
Overview: Meyers Leonard get virtually no time as a freshman for the Illini (8.2 MPG), but he showed intriguing physical tools that started to develop the followin summer at the U-19 Championships before a breakout sophomore year for Illinois in 2011-12. Leonard is simply massive, standing nearly 7’2” in shoes with a 7’3” wingspan and cut body that put up the second-most reps on the bench press at Chicago’s Draft Combine. He became much more productive on the floor in year two for Illinois, averaging 13.6 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks while shooting 58.4% from the field – the latter three numbers good for third, first, and third in the Big Ten, respectively. He shows terrific athleticism for his size, dispelling the belief that he turn out to be a stiff. Instead, Leonard actually uses his body well – especially on defense where he was able to alter many shots with his length in addition to swatting nearly two per game. He displays good maturity and basketball IQ as witnessed by numerous great interviews, and he has much room to develop as a player. The concerns are that Leonard just doesn’t do anything smoothly on offense, struggling to score easy baskets in one-on-one situations, and he isn’t confident enough in his abilities at this stage. He shoots it well from the outside and the line (73.2%), so he should start to develop more confidence in his offensive game in due time. At this point, Leonard is a project but one with big-time upside as there are few bigs in the league with his combo of size, smarts, and athleticism. He continues to rise on draft boards.