Climbing the Board

Marshon Brooks, 6’5 SG, Providence, Senior

Brooks went from falling down the board to climbing it in one 40 minute span.  His 52 point performance against Notre Dame was jaw-dropping, showing off his impressive ability to score from any spot on the floor.  And that’s exactly what teams will be looking for when they draft Marshon Brooks.  Brooks has compared himself to Atlanta Hawks guard Jamal Crawford with his tight handle and ability to knock down off balance shots.  Unlike BYU star Jimmer Fredette, Brooks doesn’t have question marks surrounding his physical tools.  He may not be the strongest on the floor, but his excellent length allows him to get off shots without difficulty, and gives him a distinct advantage on the defensive side of the ball.  The fact that he’s averaging 25 points per game in the toughest conference in the country is a telling sign that his offensive skills are no joke.

 Justin Harper, 6’10 PF, Richmond, Senior

Justin Harper is having a standout senior season, averaging 18 points, over 6.5 rebounds and a block per game for the Richmond Spiders.  Shooting an astounding 49% from downtown, Harper forces his defender to step out and guard the three, making him a difficult matchup for opposing big men.  His clean release off catch-and-shoot opportunities makes him a strong candidate to be a pick and pop player at the next level, and one that could help stretch the floor on offense. 
Matthew Bryan-Amaning, 6’8 PF, Washington, Senior

MBA has a crazy wingspan, along with athleticism and explosiveness that make him an NBA prospect regardless of how limited his offensive skillset is.  Two weeks ago against Derrick Williams and Arizona, Amaning accounted for 24 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 steals and 7 blocks.  He’s improved his game around the basket dramatically, resulting in an 8-point increase in his scoring average from his junior to senior year (8ppg in 2010 to 16ppg in 2011). 

Jacob Pullen, 6’0 PG/SG, Kansas State, Senior

Pullen’s toughness and warrior-like persona make it difficult to completely write off the undersized combo guard.  In the midst of possibly the best stretch of his four-year career, Pullen has lead Kansas State back to national relevance, averaging 27 points per game on 16 for 27 shooting from behind the arch (59%) over his past five games. Though he hasn’t yet proven he’s capable of quarterbacking a team as a distributor, his ability to make plays and provide a spark could be an attractive asset for an NBA team whose drawer is filled with dull knives.


Perry Jones, 6’11 SF/PF, Baylor, Freshman

Jones has had trouble creating shots for himself, and as a result his scoring numbers are down when compared to the other top big men prospects.  Over his last 7 games he’s averaged only 12 points per contest, and while that’s not necessarily a deal breaker, his rebound numbers are subpar and his team is losing.  The combination of his size, length and athleticism are what makes him so intriguing to NBA scouts, but his lack of an impact on games and questionable aggression could be weighing on his stock.

Jordan Hamilton, 6’7 SF, Texas, Sophomore

Jordan Hamilton and Texas had just recently seen their stock peak.  Now they find themselves in a freefall, losing three of their last four games to unranked teams.  Hamilton is starting to look like the Hamilton of last year, showing poor shot selection resulting in uninspiring possessions.  He’s spent most of his time behind the arch, where he’s attempted 41 three pointers over his last five games.  Hamilton would really benefit from adding another dimension to his game, but his decision making is what could cause him to land outside of the lottery. 

Malcolm Lee, 6’5 PG/SG, UCLA, Junior

Lee has struggled shooting the ball, converting on just 30% of his three point attempts all season.  At 6’5, Lee possesses nice size and length for a guard, but has struggled to produce in UCLA’s systematic offense.  Improving his floor game and outside stroke will be at the top of Lee’s priority list in regards to raising his NBA stock, as his defensive potential has already been established.  We’ve seen Russell Westbrook and Darren Collison both struggle in UCLA’s offense, so their success at the next level gives hope to the speedy combo guard.

Chris Wright 0, 6’8 SF, Dayton, Senior

Despite being one of the most explosive athletes in college basketball, Wright’s lack of basketball skills make it difficult for the senior forward to be effective in a half course style offense.  Without range or a threatening outside game, he looks more like an “athlete playing basketball” than an “athletic basketball player” (if that makes any sense).  He turned the ball over six times the other night against Xavier, which is reflective of his mediocre ball handling skills.  The fact that he’s a senior and hasn’t developed a more sound offensive repertoire by now can’t be promising, leaving scouts to wonder if Wright is simply just a highlight reel dunker.

Honorable Mention

Jon Leuer, 6’10 PF/C, Wisconsin, Senior

Leuer has been consistent all season, averaging 19 points and a fraction under 40% shooting from downtown.  He’s more of a finesse big man, but his outside touch and size could be very useful at the next level.

Jordan Williams, 6’10 PF, Maryland, Sophomore

Williams combines strength with touch, a rare combination that makes him so effective in the paint.  Averaging 17 points and almost 12 rebounds a game, he’s positioned himself to be a possible solution for an NBA team in need of toughness on the interior. 


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