Ashton Gibbs , 6’3 G – Returning to Pittsburgh
Playing in a point guard by committee system, Gibbs rarely had the chance to prove he’s fully equipped to run the point. With Brad Wanamaker and Gilbert Brown no longer in the lineup, he’ll have the opportunity to dominate the ball, and improve on his creativity and playmaking ability. An undersized two-guard who lacks athleticism, quickness and strength, Gibbs would really benefit from a productive year as Pittsburgh’s primary ball-handler and orchestrator.
Terrence Jones , 6’9 F, Returning to Kentucky
Jones’ stock took a dive after struggling through the second half of Kentucky’s lengthy season. A tweener who will have to overcome obstacles at both the small and power forward positions, Jones is difficult to project at the next level. Considering the question marks that surround his game, leaving school on a sour note with a lockout looming just doesn’t seem justifiable.
Kevin Jones , 6’8 F, Returning to West Virginia
Though he played well in various games down the stretch, Kevin Jones had a disappointing season overall. He needs to earn himself a label. He’s 6’8, 260, so his 7.5 rebounds in 35 minutes of action isn’t overly impressive. He shot 30% from downtown this year, so outside shooting isn’t really his biggest strength. He averaged 2.8 free throw attempts per game, so he’s not much of a shot-creator or bruiser down low. So what type of player is Kevin Jones? Hopefully with one more year as West Virginia, he’ll take the opportunity to clarify the situation for the scouts, and for himself.
Hollis Thompson , 6’7 SF, Returning to Georgetown
Standing 6’7 with good length, Thompson fits the mold of an NBA small forward. He shot 45% from downtown this season, which looks to be his selling point in regards to a role at the next level. At times he took a backseat to Austin Freeman, Chris Wright (both graduating) and Jason Clark, shooting mostly off the rapid ball movement in Georgetown’s motion offense. Returning for his junior year, Thompson will have ample opportunity to increase his 5.9 field goal attempts her game.
Reggie Johnson , 6’10 PF, Returning to Miami
Standing 6’10 and weighing in close to 300 pounds, Johnson could increase his stock by decreasing his appetite. He has soft hands with pretty impressive footwork. If he can maximize his talent by transforming his body into NBA-ready (closer to 280 lbs), he could generate heavy interest by teams looking for an inside presence.
Carleton Scott , 6’8 F, Leaving Notre Dame for NBA
Scott’s decision to stay in the draft was somewhat puzzling, considering the availability of room for his stock to grow. Though he possesses good size and a smooth, clean release on his jumper, he remains too one-dimensional offensively. He scored the majority of his points on catch and release opportunities, however failed to display the ability to put it on the floor. Considering his lack of explosiveness at a position that usually requires it, another year could have allowed him to improve on his shot-creating abilities.
Terrence Jennings, 6’9 PF, Leaving Louisville for NBA
Jennings proved little in his junior year at Louisville, so his decision to hire an agent was also rather head-scratching. An athletic forward with little to offer offensively, his value can only be attributed to his physical tools. Unfortunately, he’s already 22 and has barely progressed from a year to year basis. At this point, he might as well returned for his senior year to develop some post moves or a midrange jumper. Now, he enters a draft filled with a surplus of power forwards, most more polished than him, and remains in danger of going undrafted.
Tu Holloway , 6’0 G, Returning to Xavier
Holloway had an impressive junior year, improving in every statistical category on the board. Illustrating both his scoring instincts and playmaking ability, he finished his junior year averaging 19.7 points and 5.4 assists per game. As a 6’0 combo guard trying to fill a tiny niche in the NBA, you would think that a breakout season plus a shallow draft would be enough for him to make his move. The chances of his stock improving by this time next year with stiffer competition just doesn’t seem likely.
Jerome Richmond , 6’7 SF, Leaving Illinois for NBA
Richmond is leaving school with the hope of being taken based on future potential. Normally an accepted strategy for someone whose game isn’t built for the methodical style of college hoops, Richmond is risking a lot in terms of development with a lockout on the way. There are also off court concerns that could derail his stock. A bubble first rounder at best in 2011, he had the chance to improve his status in 2012 by adding strength and fine-tuning some of his weaknesses, like shooting.
Willie Reed , 6’9 F, Leaving St. Louis for NBA
Reed’s name has been heating up over the past few weeks, intriguing many with his athleticism, size and 7’3 wingspan. With more and more teams looking to add athleticism to their front court, Reed’s draft value should continue to spike. Though still raw on the offensive end, he blocked 2.1 shots in only 27 minutes as a sophomore at St. Louis (He was suspended for the 2010-2011 season). Assuming someone will overlook his past off the court issues, Reed could slip into the first round.
Reggie Jackson, 6’3 G, Leaving Boston College for NBA
Jackson’s value is picking up steam, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see mid first round teams take interest. Combining explosiveness and athleticism with a 7 foot wingspan, Jackson’s physical tools are suited for NBA play. Though not the purest of point guards, he possesses ideal size as a primary ball handler and is capable of making plays. With so few highly touted guards after Kyrie Irving and Brandon Knight, Jackson could be a sneaky play for a team not thrilled with the low-upside available forwards.
Davis Bertans , 6’10 F, Latvia – Eligible for 2011 Draft
Bertans wowed scouts with his deep range and ability to create his own shot. He’s got that "dribble dribble pop" ability one on one, a popular and necessary skill amongst the NBA’s scorers. Likely the 10,000th European prospect to be compared to Dirk, Bertans has some NBA tools that could draw the attention of GMs looking for three-point shooting.