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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Faried, Honeycutt, Ezeli, and Jenkins with Most to Gain Today

These guys all have a lot to gain from NCAA tournament exposure one way or another. They all have first round potential, but none are a lock at this point. Some need the games to get the hype train rolling enough to enter their name in the draft, others just need a few games to put a good taste in scouts' mouths.

The Senior

Personally, I think Faried is a top 20 pick, and will definitely prove his worth once he reaches the NBA. Its hard to go wrong with the best rebounder in NCAA history. This guy has a great attitude, work ethic, and motor on the court. The complete package. Hard to see him failing. At worst he is a great rebounder off the bench, while he has the potential to be the best thing since Dennis Rodman. He's a great athlete who gets rebounds all over the court and sees it as his job to do so. Rebounding is how he started off getting scoring opportunities, but he has now worked on his game enough to be able to take slower defenders off the dribble and get to the hoop. He should be able to do that in the NBA too, similar to Paul Millsap. He can also be a terror running the court on the fastbreak. A team like the Knicks would be a great fit for him in the teens.

The Underachiever

Tyler Honeycutt is a player that has a whole lot of talent, but has yet to put it together. Some still think, including me, that he is a first rounder even without consistent production. With a few good games in front of NBA talent evaluators, though, he can go from first rounder to late lottery-mid first round. A few good games is all Tyler needs - scouts can easily convince themselves that the way he performed on the biggest stage is a sign of things to come. Plus, seeing a guy like him in person is eye-catching. A few big games from Honeycutt would make me feel comfortable taking him in the teens hoping he becomes the next Tayshaun Prince.

The Big Man

Festus Ezeli is a guy I have touted the entire season, but scouts havent been as high on him. They certainly have seen him plenty with prospects like Jenkins and Taylor playing alongside him. A NCAA tournament run by Vandebilt could help the ball getting role by getting scouts to look at him as a 2011 draft prospect as opposed to next year. He has prototypical center size and lacks a real weakness. At the same time, he isnt particularly strong in any area, although he can be a great defender once he learns to play without fouling. His post game is a work in progress, but he gets the job done with basic post moves. He has a strong base which helps him defending and establishing position in the paint on offense. Solid shot blocker. He has improved a ton since joining the Vanderbilt basketball team and there is still upside. He isnt a freak athlete like some other raw centers, but he is stronger and smarter than most.

The Great College Player

While Kemba Walker, Jimmer Fredette, and Nolan Smith get all the national attention for their scoring abilities, John Jenkins has gone under the radar in the SEC. He has gone from a spot-up shooter, to a guy who can create his own shot. What I like about him is his mental makeup - he doesnt get down when his shot isnt falling, which is a pivotal trait for a shooter. His scoring mentality has enabled him to take the reigns of Vandy's offense instead of deferring to another first rounder prospect, Jeff Taylor. Jenkins is more of a complete offensive player than he gets credit for and also benefits from his stocky frame. A couple of big nights in the NCAA tournament will get people talking and could translate into him declaring for the draft this year. If not, he will be in prime position to take over as one of the faces of college basketball next year.

The Late Bloomer

Justin Harper will be facing that Vanderbilt team and scouts will definitely be tuned in. Harper has slowly been climbing draft boards as the word is spreading about this solid athlete with a great jumper. In a league where each team is in search of a stretch four, Harper will be the guy that can provide it in this draft class. His NCAA performance isnt as big of a deal as just the actual exposure he will receive. Harper is going to be a coveted player in the draft whether he struggles or not. Finding power forwards that shoot like him is a tough task. His climb could be similar to Jason Thompson's climb a few years ago as more scouts got word of him late in the season.

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