With the 2015 NCAA Tournament champion crowned, some of the big name players that made it to the Final Four are making their announcements about turning pro. The 2015 class is looking decently stacked with talent, large in part to the main players on Kentucky opting to declare.
Karl Towns, Freshman, PF/C, 6-11, 250, Kentucky
He's not the consensus number one pick, but most pundits seem to be leaning towards taking him over Duke's Jahlil Okafor. Nearly seven feet tall and still growing, Towns really came on towards the latter part of the season when John Calipari trusted him with more minutes. He finished the season averaging 10.3 points (56.6% from the floor) and 6.7 rebounds a game. He can play either power forward or center at the next level, although it's most likely he'll be locked in at the five. His offensive game still has room for growth, but with a little polish he could certainly be a dominating force in the NBA. If for whatever reason he isn't selected first overall, whoever has the second pick will be chomping at the bit.
Jahlil Okafor, Freshman, C, 6-11, 270, Duke
Okafor lost his crown as the definitive top guy in the 2015 draft, but there are still a lot of areas in where he's better than his counterpart Towns. His low post moves are strong and effective; he shot 75% in the restricted area (according to ShotAnalytics.com). Okafor is also a really adept passer out of the post, a skill he showed off while he was constantly being double teamed. His flaws have been well documented too. He's a pretty abysmal defender, and any smart team will force him to come out to the perimeter to try and defend the pick and roll. He's also not an excellent shooter, knocking down just 51% of his foul shots. With all that said, Okafor is way too talented offensively to pass up. He'll go somewhere between picks 1-3.
Willie Cauley-Stein, Junior, C, 7-0, 240, Kentucky
I'm not personally in love with Cauley-Stein's game, but I can see why others think so highly of him. The former high school wide receiver is probably one of the freakiest athletes to ever play college basketball. Cauley-Stein can defend just about any position, which he showcased while defending Jerian Grant the length of the court on the final play of Kentucky's win over Notre Dame. On offense, he's basically only good for lobs/dunks or easy put-backs, and that severe lack of finish around the rim could scare teams away. Whoever drafts him will hope he molds into a Tyson Chandler like player. He'll be taken somewhere in the top 10.
Trey Lyles, Freshman, PF, 6-10, 235, Kentucky
Have I told you how much I love Trey Lyles? I really, really love Trey Lyles. The Indiana native was probably one of the guys hurt the most by the talent logjam at Kentucky, but was still able to showcase his skills. He averaged 8.7 (48.8% shooting) and 5.2 rebounds in 23 minutes a game. Lyles is a super talented face up shooter, and will be an awesome floor spacer at the next level. Despite his slight frame, he's really impressive at attacking the glass. I can't find a major flaw in his game, maybe other than the fact he doesn't take guys off the dribble a lot. He's going to be a solid contributor at the NBA level for years to come. He's a fringe lottery prospect (which is nuts), so in all likelihood some playoff team is going to get a super talented guy.
Devin Booker, Freshman, SG, 6-6, 206, Kentucky
Booker's a pure shooter, plain and simple. From December to February, the 18-year-old probably had the hottest hand on Earth. He cooled off considerably late in the season, but he's done enough to lock himself in as a first round pick. He shot 47% from the floor, and 41.1% from beyond the arc. Most of his baskets seem to come in catch-and-shoot situations, although he showed an ability to pull up here and there. Whoever drafts him knows they'll be getting a talented shooter who needs a lot of work at just about everything else. I wouldn't expect him to be selected until the end of lottery.
Aaron Harrison, Sophomore, SG, 6-6, 212, Kentucky
I don't love the odds that the Harrison twins will be NBA players, although I think Aaron has the best shot. Harrison's shooting numbers dipped almost across the board this year, and he shot just 39.5% from the floor and 31.6% from beyond the arc. An NBA team might be able to harness his insatiable hunger for outside shooting, but he's really got to improve his shot selection. I'd take a flier on him with a mid to late second round pick.
Andrew Harrison, Sophomore, PG, 6-6, 210, Kentucky
Andrew actually shot the three ball better than his twin this year, but he's not really considered a shooter. Harrison's best skill is probably his ability to attack the basket, but I have my doubts that translates to the NBA. He doesn't have a quick first step, and isn't the best finisher either. Somebody will spend a second round pick on him, but I wouldn't touch him until pick 50.
We'll have more on Sam Dekker, Kevon Looney, and other top prospects that are declaring tomorrow.