Here we are. A (mostly) fresh set of players to start the next round of voting. A few notes before we get into the nitty-gritty:
- Don't be afraid to vote if you don't know much about college basketball or these guys specifically. Nobody knows jack about the agricultural differences between candidates for President and they get twice as many voters as we do (At least!). So vote, because it makes me feel good seeing a lot of numbers.
- Many people have expressed their displeasure over the placement of a few guys already on the Board. Because of how early we started the Big Board (board and bored are homonyms), a lot of people didn't get a chance to truly evaluate the field before voting. SO, when it's all said and done, I'll throw up a thread about who should be moved and where to move them. It'll all work out people.
- Watch college basketball. It's great. I know it's all warm and cuddly to say the players and fans actually being into the game is excited to watch, but dawg, it's pretty cool. So watch it because I said so.
Anyway, here are your next guys up for the 14th spot on the Big Board.
Avery Bradley - Texas - Freshman - 6'2.5", 180 lbs. I wrote about him a few picks ago, so I'll summarize what I said before. Despite being super undersized for a shooting guard, his tremendous defensive ability allows him to drape himself over taller players. As of the last writing, he had locked up guys like Larry Drew III, Ashton Gibbs, and Kalin Lucas. Add Baylor's 6'4 LaceDarius Dunn to the list. "White on rice" didn't have nothing on AB this past Saturday when he didn't let Dunn breathe for a second, holding Baylor's leading scorer to just 4-11 from the field. He did, however, have a hard time on Jerome Dyson of UConn and Texas Tech's John Roberson, but he's still a freshman and, just like Jrue Holiday, seeing him willing and able to stick a man on D is encouraging. Offensively, he's kind of a mystery at the next level. He's got Jerryd Bayless quickness, but not quite the same consistent scoring ability as JB had at Arizona. He can step outside and knock down a shot or two, but because of the talent level of Texas, he isn't forced to do too much. It would seem, then, that he'd look to create shots for other guys, but that isn't the case. Rick Barnes really has Dogus Balbay doing most of the distributing, while Damion James and Bradley play 1 on 1 with their man. Unfortunately, his point guard abilities are still highly suspect, and if he wants to make it as anything more than a Louis Williams/Willie Green hybrid bench guy, his court vision and decision-making need to improve. But right now, his defense is what impresses me and NBA scouts (but mostly me) the most. There's a good shot he doesn't leave school this year, but I'm including him on the list for now, then we'll bump him if he pulls out.
- Stanley Robinson - Connecticut - Senior - 6'9, 220 lbs. Man, do I love Stanley Robinson. He'll be the first senior drafted and, like Terrance Williams last year, probably is the most athletic prospect in the whole pool. With the departure of Jeff Adrien, Hasheem Thabeet, and AJ Price, Robinson and Dyson had to assume a bigger role in the offense. Despite the team's disappointment, Robinson has played better than most people (except your truly, of course) thought he was capable of. He can jump out of the gym, we knew that, but his three point shooting has gone up from 13% last season to 43% as a senior. Because he can finish so easily around the rim, scouts see it as bailing out the defense whenever he settles for an outside shot, but with the renewed production from the outside, it adds another dimension to his game that doesn't have many flaws. He's not a leader, but he's not a punk either. He just does his thing, which is shoot 54% from the field and put up 17 a game. His ball-handling and passing could use some improvement, but he projects as a solid 3 (could play the 4) in the NBA. Jim Calhoun was quoted as saying something like "he should wake up with ten rebounds." He can hit the boards, he can defend, and he can run. This long Huskie profiles somewhere in the 10-20 area in the draft.
Larry Sanders - VCU - Junior - 6'10, 225 lbs. A guy you probably haven't heard much about, he was the recipient of current Thunder point guard Eric Maynor's passes for the past few years. If Stanley Robinson was long, Larry Sanders is....longer. That's the best I got. A 7'7 wingspan makes him a certifiable orangutan, but with less strength and probably better hands (any orangutan experts here?). Off the ball defensively, he's a beast. He's the kind of interior presence that can anchor a defense and bail out wings when they get beat off the dribble. Averaging just under 3 blocks per game in his college career, he profiles as either a power forward or a center at the next level. Offensively, he's very unpolished and only effective within about 5 feet of the basket, but he has attempted 16 threes so far this season, which happens to be 16 more than his career total. He's given more effort to a mid-range game and facing up his man in the post, which should be helpful due to his quickness and agility for a 6'10 guy. The biggest knock on Sanders is his strength. Much like JaJuan Johnson of Purdue, the kid's a stick. Against bigger guys, he gets pushed around. Against Oklahoma's Tiny Gallon (300 pounds) early in the season he got outrebounded 11-2. Since an auspicious start, he's adjusted to life without Eric Maynor and is putting up 16 and 9, posting double digit rebounds in 4 of his last 5 games. NBAdraft.net posts a Theo Ratliff comparison for him, but I can't help seeing Steven Hunter with better instincts and rebounding ability. He's got worlds of talent, but he's gotta add some poundage if he wants to make it.
- Elias Harris - Gonzaga - Freshman - 6'7, 220 lbs. The Germany native was unranked in Rivals top freshmen prospects heading into the season but has really turned some heads to the point where he is a definite possibility to be a one and down for Mark Few and the Bulldogs. He's already got the body of an NBA small forward and uses it against smaller defenders in the WAC to drive through them for easy buckets (58% clip). Combine that with his quickness, length, and awareness and you've got yourself quite a prospect. Due to the Zags wing depth (Matt Bouldin, Steven Gray, and Demetri Goodson) Elias has been forced to play almost all of his 30 minutes per game at the 4. While his size indicates he'd be better off as a 3, his jump shot (despite shooting 46% from beyond in limited chances) and ball-handling are not where they need to be, so he's currently an undersized 4. But he's smart with tons of raw ability both on the boards and in open space, so there's a spot for him somewhere in this draft if he decides to come out. There is always the chance that he heads back to Germany to play there, but it seems the NBA is the best avenue for him right now.
Ekpe Udoh - Baylor - Junior - 6'10, 240 lbs. I went through a bunch of guys for this last spot, but I landed on the Michigan transfer despite his similar skill set to Larry Sanders. He's a junior so there's still a shot he hangs around BU for another year, but to best capitalize on his current potential he should leave ASAP. He left Ann Arbor fearing John Beilein's 4 guard lineup, and headed to a Baylor team that had just graduated their inside presence in double-double machine Kevin Rogers. Udoh's had a very consistent season, especially on the boards where he sits just under 11 per game, and his 4.3 offensive rebounds have him top ten nationally. He's at the top of the Big 12 with 4.2 blocks per, using his length to help off the ball and his solid frame to keep his man close enough where he can affect the shot. He's much more polished right now than is Larry Sanders, but not nearly as athletic. He has a surprisingly good offensive game that is effective facing up or backing down in the post with a nice little hook that falls. Ekpe (the only Ekpe I know) can step out and hit the occasional J, or beat his man off the dribble with a quick first step. I've seen him play a bunch of times this year and has the tendency to disappear at times in the game, like in their OT win at Texas when he was held without a field goal in regulation, but scored the first 5 points in the extra period to give the Bears the upset win. Despite recording a triple-double with blocks against Morgan State (powerhouse alert!), he hasn't gotten much national love, but with Baylor's recent ranking (20th in the AP), I expect he'll be getting some pub sooner or later.
I really really really don't think Marshall's Hassan Whiteside is going to leave after this season. I really don't. But if he does, he's definitely top 10 so there will be some adjusting going on. If you don't know who he is, check him out. Not sexually. Anyway, there's your 5. Hope that didn't bore the bijesus out of you. If you're craving s'more info, as always, check draftexpress and nbadraft.net. Also, please watch college basketball. I guarantee you'll have the best time of your entire life. Sorry this was so long. No I'm not.