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NBA Draft: Stock Watch

Thu, 12/10/2009 - 1:53am


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Rising

John Wall 6-4 182 PG Kentucky Fr.

John WallJohn WallJohn Wall has carried the Wildcats to a 9-0 start, living up to all the hype and then some. He's played through injuries and come up big when they have needed him most.

Against UConn at Madison Square Garden Wednesday night, after missing much of the first half due to foul trouble, Wall exploded with 19 second half points to finish with a career high 25.

Wall scored 13 of Kentucky's final 16 points over the last 7:30 of the game showing his ability to be a closer and put games away.

Down 1, his isolation drive on Jerome Dyson with 31 seconds left resulted in an and-1 putting the Cats up 2 and the Huskies would not score again.

Speed kills. And Wall has the type of speed that will slay a lot of opponents along his way to greatness.

He also has a developing jumper that will keep defenders honest, unlike someone like Rajon Rondo.

Wall has shown surprising accuracy on his outside shot so far this year, an aspect of his game that was scrutinized coming into college.

He's shooting just 6-17 from 3 (35%), so there's room for improvement, but his shot appears to have a smooth motion and with repetition should become a weapon.

His passing ability has also been sensational. Defensively, his length and quickness causes major problems for opponents. The thing he must work on is becoming more consistent with his defensive intensity and further developing his ability to run a team in the half court.

While a lot of comparisons have been made between he and Derrick Rose, and like few others he's actually in the same stratosphere athletically, he still lacks the innate ability to run a team that Rose had developed at the same stage of his career. He also lacks Rose's body strength which becomes apparent on drives to the basket as he's unable to finish as well as Rose. Wall does appear to have equal or better speed, quickness and explosiveness and even better go-to ability.

After 8 games, Wall's stats are extremely impressive with 19 ppg at 56 fg%. But his most impressive stat is 9-0, the Wildcats record (Wall sat out the 'Cats first game).

Wall has put some distance between himself and the rest of the field and is making it a foregone conclusion who the number one pick in the 2010 draft will be. Let the John Wall sweepstakes begin!

Check out our interview with John Wall before his senior year of high school: John Wall Interview

Kemba Walker 5-11 180 PG UConn So.

Although Kemba struggled shooting in Wednesday's match up with John Wall and Kentucky (5-14 fg), his shooting on the season has been tremendous. It's obvious that he worked extremely hard in the offseason as his jumpshot has shown marked improvement. He's shooting 10-20 from 3 on the year (50%) up from 27% last year, showing a lot more confidence in his pull up shot.

A fearless performer, Walker was tremendous leading the Huskies to a near upset of undefeated UK with 6 assists to just 2 turnovers. Kemba's drive and attempt with 15 seconds remaining was just a bit short, kicking off the lip of the rim. Otherwise the game easily could have gone into overtime. Walker also drew praise for his on ball defense against Kentucky's guards (Wall and Eric Bledsoe).

While Kemba is considered by some as the top playmaking PG on the college level, his lack of size is a concern. At just 5'11, odds are he'll need to stay in college another season and further develop his game. Scouts consider him a possible mid-to-late first rounder in 2011.

Keith Benson 6-11 225 C Oakland Jr.

Keith BensonKeith BensonKeith Benson has been one the most productive center prospects in the country thus far. Through 8 games, Benson is averaging 17.3 ppg, 10.6 rpg, and 3.9 blocks per.

Benson made scouts take notice with his dominance of Cole Aldrich in Oakland’s match up with Kansas the day before Thanksgiving.

Benson blocked 2 of Aldrich’s first 3 shots, affecting the preseason All American with his length and shot blocking and outplayed him throughout the game, despite Kansas running away with it. Aldrich finished with just 4pts (2-10 fg), 9reb and 3blk while Benson went for 20pts, 6reb, and 4blk.

Far from a complete player, some scouts wonder if he can ever put the necessary weight on to merit a first round selection. Right now Benson struggles to hold position in the block, however some scouts point to the fact that he has never had a proper training regiment and that Oakland likely is not up to the level of top division one schools in weight training.

Due to his incomplete skills and body, Benson is a guy who, like Jerome Jordan of Tulsa, would benefit by returning for his senior year.

But if he did decide to go this year, he is a player who could get together with a top trainer (like Tim Grover or Joe Abunassar) once the season ends and potentially put on 15-20 pounds. You will remember Grover worked with NBA veteran Steven Hunter before the 2001 draft transforming the young post player's body and helping him to become a first rounder (15th overall after many felt he was a 2nd rounder).

Regardless, Benson is a player on the rise who stepped up big in what will likely be his biggest individual match up all season (Aldrich).

Elliot Williams 6-4 180 SG Memphis So.

For the third straight year Memphis has an elite guard prospect as Duke transfer Elliot Williams has been absolutely sensational for them. Williams has been a model of consistency going for 20 points in all but one game, (he had 19). He is averaging 20.5 ppg, 4.5 rpg and a positive a/to ratio 3.2 - 2.8.

The Tigers have won all but one game with their lone loss coming at the hands of #1 ranked Kansas, who they lost to by just 2. The transition from Coach Calipari to Coach Josh Pastner has been as smooth as you could ask for, currently at 6-1.

While Williams is considered more of a 2 guard than a combo, his ability to make plays off the dribble combined with his standout speed and athleticism make him an intriguing prospect. He's having an excellent season, but scouts still project him as a guy for 2011 as he has aspects of his game which need development.


Stanley Robinson 6-8 220 SF UConn Sr.

Stanley RobinsonStanley RobinsonDespite his worst effort of the season coming against Kentucky Wednesday night, Robinson has had a strong season thus far with double digit point totals in every game. Even in the Huskies loss to Kentucky, Robinson proved to be the one guy who could shut down John Wall in the closing minutes, forcing him to pass after running down the entire shot clock trying to ISO on him.

One of the most impressive physical specimens on the college level, the senior has been a true enigma to scouts due to his inability to live up to his immense talent.

But in the NCAA tournament last year, something clicked as he played extremely well and that has carried over to this season, as he's averaging 15.4 ppg, 7.1 rpg, and 1.7 apg.

His shooting has also shown improvement (54%
from the field) although he needs to raise his 56 ft%.

Robinson struggles to create offense for himself off the dribble, but he has become a nightmare match up defensively due to his long arms, explosiveness and quickness, plus his energy on the glass.

Unlike in the tournament last year when Robinson stepped up when it mattered most, he has struggled in UConn's two biggest games: Duke and Kentucky. He'll need to reverse that trend to ensure he's a first round pick come draft time.

Ekpe Udoh 6-10 230 PF Baylor Jr.

The transfer from Michigan looks like a new player as he was primarily a shot blocker with limited offensive skills in his first two seasons for the Wolverines. Now Ekpe Udoh (pronounced 'Epp-Ay''You-Doe')shows a bevy of post skills with the ability to effectively use pivot feet and ball fakes to create shots for himself. He
has also developed a pretty right-handed jump hook, which is made even more effective by his great length. He also displays quick feet for a post player which he utilizes facing the basket against opposing bigmen.

He's had double figures in every game and is the team's primary offensive weapon inside. Udoh's 14.8 ppg, 9.4 rpg and 3.3 bpg show his ability to score, rebound and be a presence in the paint defensively.

Udoh still needs to add polish and strength but appears to have a chance to become a first rounder if he continues to play at his current level.


Falling

Malcolm Lee 6-5 180 PG UCLA So.

Malcolm LeeMalcolm LeeWith Jrue Holiday rushing his jump to the NBA, the Bruins were supposed to be in good hands with rising sophomore Malcolm Lee taking over the reigns this year from 4 year rock solid floor general Darren Collison.

Instead, the Bruins are in shambles with such a young and inexperienced bunch and no apparent leadership on the floor.

Now obviously it is unfair to blame the team's collapse on Lee as it has been a complete train wreck season and the talent surrounding him is as thin as origami, but Lee has really struggled to get anything going offensively looking lost on the floor.

The Bruins are just 2-5 and now after losing their top bigman prospect Drew Gordon (transfer), it appears that it will be a very long season in Westwood.

The Bruins play has mirrored Lee's. In the Bruin's two victories Lee shot 47% (7-15 fg). In their 5 losses, Lee shot 34% (23-67 fg).

On a positive note, Lee has been steady with the ball averaging a 2-1 a/to ratio.

He was once seen as a player who could potentially follow in Russell Westbrook's footsteps and leave (and be a high first rounder) after his sophomore year, but that appears to be a pipe dream at this point.

Lee projects as a first round pick for the future with his excellent speed and offensive potential, but it appears he'll need more time to realize it.

Willie Warren 6-4 195 PG Oklahoma So.

One of the season’s early enigmas has been Willie Warren. Warren is considered a lock to leave after this year and he's considered a likely lottery selection. But his play in the early season hasn't warranted that. He broke out recently with a big effort against Arizona knocking down a few deep 3 pointers, finishing with 25 on 10-14 shooting.

Warren is averaging 20 ppg on 49% fg shooting, however the Sooners lost 3 games in a row in one stretch early on and rumors began to spread that there were some issues developing between Coach Capel and Warren.

After four consecutive wins, that chatter seems to have dissipated. But there are scouts who wonder if Warren is more of an individual player than a team guy. Still many scouts marvel at his go to ability, strength and talent and describe him as a no brainer top 10 pick.

Grievis Vasquez 6-6 190 PG Maryland Sr.

Vasquez has struggled mightily this season shooting below 50% in all but one game. Maryland's leader has really struggled to find a rhythm shooting a paltry (30-93 fg) 32% and 28% from 3.

His best game of the year in which he helped the Terrapins defeat Wisconsin 80-68, he scored 23 points, going 13-14 from the line offsetting another miserable night from the floor 4-14. He's also had 2 other stinkers on the year: 5-17 fg in an 8 point loss to Cincy and 3-14 fg in their season opener against Charleston Southern.

While Vasquez has shown the ability to play at an extremely high level (leading them over the eventual champion Tar Heels last season), his terrible start to the year is a bit alarming.

Vasquez best asset is his fiery nature and ability to run a team with excellent size. Unfortunately for him that type of player (big lead guard) has really struggled in recent years and his lack of athleticism and strength was glaring from last year's combine results.

AJ Ogilvy 6-10 250 C Vanderbilt Jr.

Ogilvy's stock has been on a steady decline. One NBA scout recently joked, "After his freshman year he was a late first rounder, after his sophomore year he was a mid second rounder, at the rate he's going he won't even get an invite to Portsmouth (predraft camp) by his senior year".

He's averaging just 13.3 ppg on 52 fg% and 6 boards so far through 8 games. His sophomore year he averaged 15.4 on 54 fg%, and as a freshman he averaged 17 ppg on 59 fg%.

Ogilvy is a skilled 6-10 guy with offensive skills, and despite lacking great run/jump athleticism, he understands the game and plays an unselfish brand of basketball. But there is no denying the fact that his stock has taken a hit.

The junior bigman is now considered a likely mid-to-late second rounder whenever he enters the draft, and going undrafted no longer appears out of the question as some believe he's better suited for European ball.


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The Hoops Manifesto
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Wall

At the start of the season I didn't expect anyone to really challenge Wall for the #1 slot in next June's draft. That being said, I also didn't expect him to totally obliterate everything in his way. Very impressive!

Jeff Fox
www.hoopsmanifesto.com

The lake show2
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wall played very well..but

wall played very well..but aran he didnt have a isolation drive on dyson for that and one. stanley robinson was on him and the play was a hand off to wall

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Vasquez

Wisconsin beat Maryland 78-69, i think you meant Indiana

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Vasquez

Are you a former player for the Badgers? Where do you project Vasquez to go in the NBA Draft this year?

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Rajesh

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North Carolina product in action

I like this game very much. n my fav player is John Wall. Love to read this article. a kick start of 9-0 . I read John walls Interview also, Its like must read for all john fans.
after all he is "North Carolina product in action".

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