Mock Draft Tracker
Climbing The Board
Jan Vesely, F/C, Partizan Belgrade
Vesely received high praise after scoring a season high 23 points and grabbing 6 rebounds in his final career Euroleague game. After taking his team to the Euroleague Final Four last season, Vesely pulled his name out of the draft despite being pegged as a lottery selection. Listed at 6’11, he’s an impressive athlete who can run the floor and shoot the ball, three necessary ingredients for making an easier transition to the NBA. Vesely struggled earlier in the season, but has come on late and is widely believed to be the most ready of the European prospects. There is growing sentiment among NBA scouts that he can be a top 5 pick in this year's draft.
Nolan Smith, PG, Duke
One of the better stories in 2011 has been strong play of senior guard Nolan Smith, who was recently named ACC player of the year after averaging 21.6 points, 5.2 assists and 4.8 rebounds. He’s been Duke’s most consistent producer, and has shown he can be effective both on and off the ball. Skeptics who believe Smith is too much of a tweener, and can’t handle the point guard responsibilities at the next level are slowly warming to the idea of Smith as a combo guard who can handle the ball. He has good size and length for an NBA point guard, but his strong basketball IQ and ability to adjust are two intangibles that should help Smith overcome his limitations as a pure facilitator. He’s scored 34 points and 30 points in both matchups with rival North Carolina, and there’s no doubt his stock is on the rise as a potential candidate for National Player of the Year.
Markieff Morris, PF
The “other” Morris has slowly developed into an interesting prospect for a team who could use another big body up front. He’s shown great touch around the rim, and displayed promise spotting up from the outside (41% from downtown). Constantly active, he averages 13.5 points, 8.3 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in only 24 minutes of action, making his presence known on both sides of the ball. His role at the next level will most likely be defined as a 20 plus minute per game player who rebounds, defends and scores around the basket.
William Buford, G, Ohio State
Buford’s improved consistency shooting the ball has not only made Ohio State one of the most dangerous teams to play in the country, its improved his draft value as a spot-up two-guard. Though he’s not the most dynamic scorer, that’s just not what the job description will require for his position at the next level. This season he’s knocking down three pointers at a ridiculous 45% rate, while he’s improved his midrange game off the dribble as well. He’s a capable shotmaker who doesn’t hurt you on the defensive side of the ball, making him attractive to playoff teams at the end of the first round.
Perry Jones, F, Baylor
Jones appears to be this year's big "tease". While he shows more upside than any player on the college level, there is skepticism growing that he doesn't have the ticker to realize that talent. Jones struggled to impact games this year, despite putting up solid numbers. Many of his baskets came due to his length and athleticism, but when games became pressure packed, Jones faded. Now with his suspension for the rest of the season for receiving illegal benefits, he won't be able to turn things around and prove what he's cpable of in the tournament. Baylor is out of the big dance. Scouts are saying he will probably fall outside the top 5 on draft night, despite all of his physical gifts and perceived upside.
Terrence Jones, F, Kentucky
Jones has dropped out of our top ten, as some questions have risen in terms of what he will be as an NBA player. He scores the majority of his points within 12-15 feet, where he shields and angles his body and shoots off one foot in the lane. However his face-up game isn’t necessarily fluent, and his outside stroke could use some work. He’s only knocking down 3s at a 29% clip, which hurts his stock considering he’s an inch or two undersized for your ideal NBA power forward. Still, Jones’ feel for the game shouldn’t keep him too far from the top ten, while a strong post season would most likely launch him back up the board.
Tyler Honeycutt, F, UCLA
After scoring 33 points against Kansas back on December 2nd, Honeycutt never eclipsed the 20 mark the rest of the season. He has a limited offensive game where he struggles to create good shots for himself. Listed at 188 pounds, he’s still a few years away from contributing substantial minutes for an NBA team. He could get the benefit of the doubt considering he's playing within a constrictive UCLA system, but his dropoff in the second half of the year has his stock falling.
Jordan Hamilton, SF, Texas
Hamilton’s ugly shooting performances, poor shot selection and one-dimensional offensive repertoire will definitely take a toll on his stock. The fact that he had these problems as a freshman, then seemingly fixed them as a sophomore, only to revert back to his old ways in crunch time… well, it won’t trigger any green upward arrows. Hamilton is also a player scouts mention as having potential attitude concerns. He's a bit of a hot head and has had some run ins with coach Barnes over the past couple seasons.
Trey Thompkins, F/C, Georgia
Though he’s a skilled offensive big man, his lack of athleticism and explosiveness could limit his overall ceiling. He has struggled to live up to the preseason lottery projection billing and lacked the consistency to warrent that type of pick. His conditioning has always played a factor throughout his career, which as affected his ability to run the floor and defend in the post. In his defense, the team rarely goes out of it's way to get him looks. Overall he’s had a disappointing individual junior season, and his upside just doesn’t justify a top 15 pick.
Chris Singleton, F, Florida St.
Singleton has been much more effective as a junior than he was as a freshman or sophomore. A 6’9 forward who can guard both the 3 and the 4, Singleton is an excellent athlete with a capable perimeter game. Just to give an example of what he's capable of, he recorded 22 points, 11 rebounds, 10 steals, 6 assists and 4 blocks in a win at UNC Greensboro earlier this season. His versatility and defensive potential will cause teams in the mid first round overlook his unproductive first two seasons. He could slip some however if he's not able to return for postseeason action.
David Lighty, G/F, Ohio State
When a team selects the veteran David Lighty in the draft, they’ll know exactly what they’re going to get. The top lockdown defender in the Big Ten, Lighty has also been effective on the perimeter shooting the ball. Like I said before, if you can shoot and defend, there’s a spot for you in the NBA.
Keith Benson, F, Oakland
Keith Benson finished the Summit League final with a 28 point, 14 rebound performance in a win against Oral Roberts, and has been one of the most productive mid major players over the past few years. He’s lead Oakland to a second consecutive NCAA tournament birth, and will be looking to earn some national exposure over the next few weeks.
Terrence Jones MOST DEFINITELY NOT a power forward, he is an obvious SMALL FORWARD.
I live in Lexington, Kentucky so I watch most of the games and Terrence Jones is highly OVERRATED!! Im not dissing the kid or trying to trash him but he put up numbers in a weak SEC conference. Whenever he played a guy with bigger size such as John Henson and Tyler Zeller (UNC) where was he? He is dominate left hand with a weak jumper. He definitely needs another year to fine tune his game
Jan Vesely needs to hit the wieght room! At almost 7 feet tall he is lighter than Lebron James and plenty of small fowards in the nba. Nolan is having a great season but he is playing at duke. Also Nolan reminds me of Chris Duhon and plenty of other duke guards that dont live up to their nba hype. Markeiff and his brother Marcus should both be 1st rounders. They have size, strength, and can shoot.