The G League Elite Camp Preview | The Prospect Overview
It's COMBINE WEEK! I run down The G League Elite Camp, where 44 prospects will compete with the hopes of advancing to The NBA Draft Combine!
Folks, it's combine season! You know what that means: it's time to get way too excited or freaked out based on how 18 to 24-year-olds play in one scrimmage game! In all seriousness, though, these combines are of tremendous importance. A breakout performance could see a prospect get themselves drafted by a team with a serious developmental path in mind for them. Conversely, a poor performance could see NBA organizations look away, forcing a player to scratch and claw on the long road to the NBA. The stakes are high. While the NBA Combine attracts most of the attention, the G League Elite Camp is perhaps even more intense. Here, players are fighting just to get an invite to the NBA Combine. A shaky outing here makes getting drafted much more difficult, whereas advancing to the big combine is nearly a guarantee that you'll end up on an NBA roster at some point in the next few years. This matters! Players like Terrence Mann have had breakout games at this event, gotten the big combine invite, gotten drafted, and then created meaningful moments in the NBA playoffs. Jose Alvarado was a G League Elite Camp participant last year. Now, he’s emerged as a legitimate rotation player and cult favorite. This isn’t just about pandering to the fellow Draft Sickos; this is about shining a bright light on players who have worked their entire careers to get here and who may impact some of the biggest games of the year in the future. Merely getting to this stage is an amazing accomplishment that should be celebrated. However, the road doesn’t end here. Today, I am going to take you through a list of the participants. I've used a "*" to denote the five players I personally think have the best chance to advance to the NBA Combine. Here we go!
Max Abmas, 6'1", Junior, Oral Roberts
Max Abmas returned to Oral Roberts for his junior season after taking the Golden Eagles on a Cinderella run as a sophomore. Though he didn't make a big leap from a production standpoint, that was going to be a tough ask. Abmas has been a prolific scorer and three-point shooter throughout his college career. Over the past two seasons, he's averaged 23.6 PPG while shooting 40.7% from three on a monstrous 9.1 attempts per game. Abmas gets buckets, period. He can hit from deep behind the NBA line and has an array of step-back maneuvers to get himself space. Abmas will need to improve on his creation for others and his defense. His lack of size also makes him a target for bullying on the defensive end, and he will need to improve his craft around the rim when competing against bigger, more athletic players.
James Akinjo, 6'1", Senior, Baylor
After stops at Georgetown and Arizona, James Akinjo played arguably his most consistent basketball as a senior at Baylor. Previously, he struggled with overdribbling and getting the offense flowing. While he still loves to dribble, he played more controlled and did a stellar job of moving the ball to open teammates. His three-point percentage fell to 29.5% in his most recent season, but his career average of 35.4% is still solid. Akinjo is on the smaller side, but he plays with some fire on defense, picking pockets and disrupting passing lanes. His lack of size betrayed him at the rim, where he only made 43.8% of his shots in the half-court, per Synergy. Despite a great college career, he seems fairly far away from NBA ready at this stage. He needs to continue to grow as a steady playmaker and get his confidence back as an outside shooter.
Keve Aluma, 6'9", Redshirt Senior, Virginia Tech
Keve Aluma is a smart player with great instincts. He's a stellar passer for his size, has a read of the court at all times, and is a master of positioning on both ends. His strength allows him to set good screens, box out, and score effectively on the low block. Despite having a heavier frame, he moves pretty well laterally and isn't complete toast when he's put on an island. Aluma hit 34.1% of his threes over the past two seasons and is developing a more mechanically consistent jump shot. Though he is older, he didn't break out until he was a redshirt junior, giving reason to believe he may have more upside than others his age. Aluma's wingspan measured below 7' at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament, leaving him between positions. He doesn't have ideal length or vertical pop to play the 5, and he's a bit slow for the 4. Athletic testing will be a big indicator of his NBA chances.
Jules Bernard, 6'6", Senior, UCLA
Jules Bernard has been a positive contributor for UCLA thanks to his offensive versatility. Bernard has made just below 36% of his threes over the past two seasons, and he's comfortable off the dribble and off the catch. He has a strong first step to beat closeouts, but he also understands how to play with pace and how to utilize hesitation to get to his spots. If he'd played for a different team and gotten to act as more of an offensive focal point, he would've posted great PPG totals. Defensively, he works hard to get around screens and contest shots. His balance can be a bit iffy on that end, and offensively, he can struggle with tunnel vision at times. For Bernard, it's about consistently hitting his outside shots, being a more consistently productive defender, and continuing to scrap.
Buddy Boeheim, 6'6", Senior, Syracuse
The son of legendary coach Jim Boeheim is an outstanding shooter. Buddy Boeheim can score from deep, and he can do it on high volume. He's connected on 36.2% of his triples throughout his four years at Syracuse while taking 13.1 of them per 100 possessions. The pop time on his release is great, and he has a better first step than he gets credit for having. He's still pretty simplistic as a passer, but he can use his gravity to create for his teammates on occasion. Unfortunately, he struggles at the rim (28th percentile among eligible players per Synergy) due to his lack of vertical pop, and defensively, he's had the luxury of hiding in Syracuse's 2-3 zone defense. He'll need to prove he can be a threat when chased off the line and that he can hold his own on defense.
Jamaree Bouyea, 6'2", Graduate, San Francisco
Jamaree Bouyea posted some of the strongest counting numbers in college hoops last year: 17.3 PPG, 5 RPG, 4 APG, 1.8 SPG, and 0.8 BPG. He's a do-it-all guard who played a fair share of off-ball minutes for a good San Francisco team. Despite his lack of height, he's both long and strong. Bouyea is a nasty, physical defender who can finish through contact. He has a solid array of moves to generate space for himself and a pretty interesting passing package. He's an older player, though, and Loyola Chicago's Lucas Williamson gave him fits at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament. Williamson is an awesome defender, but it did cause some concern about the scalability of his offensive arsenal.
Eli Brooks, 6'1", Graduate, Michigan
Eli Brooks emerged as a nice complementary player for Michigan as a junior, and he has consistently sat in my 100-120 range throughout the last year. He's steady, reliable, and knows his role. Brooks hit 39.4% of his threes, but he's comfortable in the mid-range when chased off the perimeter. He's quick and gets good looks off give-and-go plays. Brooks's upside is hampered by his age and lack of size, combined with the fact that he's more of an off-guard than a point guard. He's prone to miss the extra pass, and it's hard to see him leading an NBA offense.
Keion Brooks Jr., 6'7", Junior, Kentucky
An NBA-ready athlete with a pro body, Keion Brooks Jr. has generated more buzz than I had anticipated throughout the pre-draft process. Right now, his best area is his defense, where he posted a 2.8 BLK % and 1.6 STL %. His size, strength, and speed allow him to comfortably cover a good variety of players. Brooks's motor is another thing in his favor- he's not someone who is going to take plays off. His offensive fit in the NBA is dicey, though. Brooks is a career 23.4% three-point shooter on low volume, and he primarily lives in the mid-range. He's also prone to getting shot happy, and there are games where it feels like he brings the offense to a halt. Brooks has to be able to function as a smooth presence, even as a fifth option in an NBA offense, and I don't believe he's there yet.
*Tevin Brown, 6'5", Redshirt Senior, Murray State
Tevin Brown is an older prospect, but he's a ready-made shooting specialist. Over his college career, he's made 38.6% of his threes on 7.3 attempts per game. He's not just a guy who stands around and hits open ones, though; he's an exceptional shooter off of movement who never stops running, creating constant headaches for defenses. He's excellent coming off screens, and he knows how to run his defender into them and then set himself up as far away from them as possible. He's a master of off-ball movement. With the ball, he has a tight handle and is a respectable playmaker for others. Brown isn't your typical mid-major prospect with gaudy PPG totals, as he's selfless and comfortable moving the ball quickly when needed. Brown differentiates himself from most shooting specialists with his athleticism and defensive ability. He can fly off the floor, and he was a shockingly engaged defender for someone who carried such a heavy load on offense. His 1.4 SPG and 0.6 BPG were great numbers for a 2-guard. In games against high-major teams, Brown didn't look out of place at all. However, given his age, he'll need to truly look a cut above the rest of the talent in order to secure an NBA combine invite.
Gabe Brown, 6'7", Senior, Michigan State
A good athlete with size who has made 39.3% of his threes over the past two seasons, Gabe Brown fits what many NBA teams are looking for on the margins of the draft. His physical tools allowed him to play solid defense at the college level as well, and he doesn't project to be a liability on the other end of the floor. He can get out in transition and get up for lobs. Brown doesn't offer much as a decision-maker or passer, though. He graded out in the 21st percentile on pick-and-rolls per Synergy, indicative of his lack of craft and creation ability. His size and shooting may be enough, but if he can display some upside as more than a catch-and-shoot athlete, he could fly up boards.
Tyler Burton, 6'7", Junior, Richmond
Richmond's Tyler Burton made a big impression in the team's upset victory over Iowa, playing admirable defense against Keegan Murray while posting 18 points and 11 rebounds. He'd been on most radars the whole season prior to that, though, thanks to his powerful build, inside-out scoring ability, and defensive tenacity. Burton has made over 36% of his threes for each of the past two seasons, he can finish above the rim, and his career averages for block and steal rate are both above 2%. He fits the "3-and-D" mold, but his vertical pop, rebounding, and rim finishing give him a chance to be more than that. His handle can get away from him, and he offers little as a passer, averaging a meager 1.8 assists per 100 possessions. He'll need to prove he can be a more reliable decision-maker and creator for others.
Darius Days, 6'7", Senior, LSU
Darius Days is a big-bodied forward with NBA range. His 35% from three doesn't jump off the page, but he did it on six attempts per game, and he made 40% of his attempts the year before. He knows how to use his frame to clean up on the glass. LSU's offense saw him constantly moving and using his powerful frame to set screens. Days is an exceptional post scorer, finishing in the 99th percentile as in those settings. Defensively, he got better this past season, but he can be heavy laterally and foul prone. He doesn't see the floor very well and has never averaged over an assister per game during his four years in college. Days will need to show consistent defensive prowess and the ability to keep the ball moving.
Michael Devoe, 6'5", Senior, Georgia Tech
A career 39.3% shooter from distance, Michael Devoe is a nightmare from long-range. He's not a blinding athlete, but his offensive footwork is polished, and he has a full bag of tricks to get to his spots on the court. His passing arsenal is clever and crafty, and he throws in some nice fakes to keep the defense on their toes. Devoe's biggest issue has consistently been that he likes to bite off more than he can chew. His shot selection and passing decisions can be too adventurous and land him in trouble. His ability to score and creation flashes are interesting enough to keep him in the mix. He'll have to show that he can hang athletically, withstand physicality, and stay keyed in on defense.
Kyler Edwards, 6’4”, Senior, Houston
After a fantastic college career, Kyler Edwards turns his attention to the professional ranks. Edwards made his mark as a long-range shooter who can connect from NBA distance, and he also did a lot of other things well. Namely, Edwards has a bit of “combo guard” to his game and is a trustworthy decision-maker with the ball in his hands. He’s cold-blooded in big moments. A surprising element to his game is his rebounding, as he averaged nearly six per game this past season despite his lack of size. Edwards doesn’t pressure the rim very often, only taking 10.8% of his shots there per Synergy. Part of it is his lack of burst; the other part is his lack of dribbling craft to carve up defenders. Undersized twos typically need to be outstanding sharpshooters or great defenders; otherwise, they need to find the right roster construction to stick around for the long term. His fate will follow his shooting.
Allen Flanigan, 6'6", Junior, Auburn
Allen Flanigan was a buzzy name last off-season, but an injury prevented him from building a runway into the season. He debuted in late December but never got fully into form. Flanigan made only 20.5% of his threes after making 33.8% the year prior, validating concerns about his jump shot. His body is often faced almost entirely sideways throughout his shooting motion. Still, he's a fantastic athlete with a strong first step, good touch, and defensive potential. His decision-making can be erratic, but when he plays with pace, he can find the roll man well in simple pick-and-rolls. Flanigan is the definition of being a jump-shot away.
Kyle Foster, 6'5", Graduate, Howard
A long-range bomber and one of the best shooters in the country, Kyle Foster snuck up on some people by getting the invite. Foster connected on 45.9% of his 7.9 threes per game this past season. He's got a quick trigger, a gorgeous release, can hit off movement, and has no issues with NBA range. Foster has an odd tendency to almost kick his legs outward on his shot, but it works. Most encouragingly, he performed well in Howard's games against high-level competition. His first step is solid, and he has a nice sense of where to be on both ends of the floor. Foster is rail-thin, though, and I worry about how he'll do against bigger bodies. His lack of lift also raises questions about what he'll be able to do around the basket when he gets swarmed by better athletes.
Javon Freeman-Liberty, 6'4", Senior, DePaul
DePaul had a mediocre campaign this past season, but it would have been a disastrous one without Javon Freeman-Liberty. The strong-bodied wing did everything for the Blue Demons. JFL can get to the cup and finish through contact. His passing vision is up to snuff, and he moves the ball. He's in command of his handle and can generate space with step-back moves. His bread-and-butter will be his off-the-catch shooting, though. Freeman-Liberty is always well-prepped and gets into his motion seamlessly. His lack of positional size could present issues, particularly when you consider that he's not quick laterally and struggles to get around screens. He'll need to prove that with a reduced offensive workload, he can shore up some of his defensive shortcomings.
Kellan Grady, 6'5", Graduate, Kentucky
We have yet another shooting specialist in Kellan Grady. He ranked in the 96th percentile per Synergy on catch-and-shoot jump shots and in the 85th percentile for jump shots off the dribble. His on-the-go game is alright, as he keeps his head up and is a willing passer who acted as one of the main initiators for Davidson during his four years with their program. Grady doesn't have much to offer on the defensive end, and he'll be 25 by the start of the NBA season. His best bet to get an invite to the big combine would be to catch fire NBA Jam style.
A.J. Green, 6'4", Senior, Northern Iowa
Folks, please do not play a drinking game where you take a shot every time we get to a shooting specialist. You will die. AJ Green flew under the radar at Northern Iowa, but he's a flamethrower from deep, hitting 39.2% of his threes over his past three seasons. Green is more than just a standstill catch-and-shoot player, though. He's fleet of foot, a great mover with wiggle who can knife past overly aggressive closeouts. His passing package is basic, but he keeps his head up and can make the easy ones. He's never been a particularly impactful defender, and his lack of size will be exacerbated at the NBA level. If Green can use the combine to display defensive footwork in the same ballpark as his offensive footwork, he could impress NBA front offices.
Brison Gresham, 6'8", Redshirt Graduate, Texas Southern
Brison Greshman transferred to Texas Southern after spending time at UMass and Houston. There, he broke out as a potent shot-blocker, tallying 4.7 of them per 40 minutes. He's powerfully put together, and he knows how to use his body to dominate the glass and set meaningful screens. Unfortunately, Greshman is probably furthest from the NBA out of all of the players here. His lack of height, poor touch, and foul woes (5.2 per 40 mins) are all serious issues that limit his upside. Gresham is a no-nonsense big who knows what he is on the court, but it's hard to imagine him standing out at this event after playing under 20 minutes per game in the SWAC as a sixth-year college player.
Mouhamed Gueye, 6'11", Freshman, Washington State
Washington State's Mouhamed Gueye will be one of the youngest players at this event, and the issues in his game are ones common among young centers. Gueye can be a bit foul-prone, he needs to get stronger, and he doesn't make quick decisions with the ball. Beneath that, though, there is a lot to like, and he seems like a player who will have a long pro career somewhere at some point. He's genuinely fast and fluid, and he should be able to handle switches admirably for a big man. His touch around the basket is nice, and he knows how to slip in on the glass for rebounds. Gueye hit 28% of his threes (albeit on less than one per game), giving hope that he may evolve into a floor spacer in time. He's likely still a year or two away, but given his potential, it's possible he could have rapidly improved since we've last seen him.
Jordan Hall, 6'6", Sophomore, Saint Joseph's
Playmaking and shooting are valuable in the modern NBA, and adding size to that pairing certainly doesn't hurt. Enter: Jordan Hall, a bright spot on an otherwise rough Saint Joseph's team these past two seasons. He has a mechanically pure jump shot (80th percentile on catch and shoots per Synergy), and he can run a pick-and-roll better than most point guards (72nd percentile per Synergy). His ability to sling the ball out of the live dribble keeps defenses on their toes. Unfortunately, his defense leaves a lot to be desired, and Hall shies away from physicality due to his thin frame. He gets frustrated when things don't go his way and can be prone to compounding his mistakes as a result. There is a real chance that when surrounded by better talent, everything falls into place for Hall. I'm intrigued to see him in a setting where he won't need to force the issue for his team. Defensive attentiveness and a willingness to get down physically are going to be at the top of Hall's to-do list.
Quenton Jackson, 6'4", Graduate, Texas A&M
Quenton Jackson is a violent finisher and menacing defender. His 3.9 STL% is a testament to his peskiness, and his 2.5 BLK% demonstrates his absurd leaping ability and sense of timing. What he does as a shot blocker is uncanny for a player his size. Jackson measured short at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament and barely registered a positive wingspan, which I imagine had to be a letdown for front offices keeping tabs on him. He's a streaky three-point shooter with his percentages fluctuating dramatically each season, and he's not a reliable playmaker. There isn't much margin for error given his size, so if the playmaking and shot aren't there, teams will likely look past Jackson.
*Hyunjung Lee, 6'7", Junior, Davidson
Hyunjung Lee may get the "shooting specialist" label, but I'd prefer to call him a "scoring specialist" instead. Lee cracked the 50/40/90 mark as a sophomore, and while he didn't get there this past season, he's still stellar from everywhere on the floor. He came into the season noticeably stronger and more muscular, allowing him to finish in the 96th percentile at the rim in the halfcourt. His touch is sublime, and he was visibly more welcoming of contact on drives after getting bigger during the off-season. Lee is a persistent mover and a willing passer, and he developed a bit of a mid-post game to shoot over smaller defenders later in the season. Though his defense has gotten better, and he did a solid job on Tyler Burton when Davidson met Richmond, he still has some flaws as a defender. Players can shake Lee side-to-side, and he doesn't have the quickest tools to recover after being forced to change directions quickly. His length will give him some cushion, but he'll need to be competitive on defense to move on to the next combine.
Kenneth Lofton, 6'7", Sophomore, Louisiana Tech
After leading the United States U19 team to a gold medal as their leading scorer this past summer, it became very clear that Kenneth Lofton is more than a novelty player. He's heavy, and that's the first thing people will typically touch on. His weight (listed at 275) is admittedly high, but he came into this year in much better shape. Lofton is extremely skilled, however. He can act as a facilitator at the elbow or top of the key and does an excellent job of finding open teammates. There is perhaps no one on earth less bothered by contact, as he dominated the boards and gets to the free-throw line consistently. Lofton took a step forward as a free throw shooter, going from 59% as a freshman to 67% this past year. He's a smart player who knows where to be on defense, and his quick hands cause offenses trouble. His block and steal rates were both great (3.0% and 2.4%), and it's because he knows how to position himself. The big questions will be mobility, quickness, and touch. Lofton has to prove that he can keep up with NBA athletes and eventually provide a level of floor spacing.
Brady Manek, 6'9", Graduate, North Carolina
Perhaps no one helped their NBA chances more during the NCAA tournament than Brady Manek. The long-haired bomber connected on over 40% of his threes while taking six per game and showing the intangible grittiness that front offices look for in a player to fill out their final roster spots. Manek is a great shooter off the catch, and he's excellent around the basket too, where he graded out in the 97th percentile per Synergy. He did well defensively in big games, but fellow prospect Jake LaRavia carved him up during a meeting earlier in the season. The greatest worries surround his defense, and Manek has to show that he can keep up with quicker players and fight off stronger ones.
Tyrese Martin, 6'6", Senior, Connecticut
Tyrese Martin was one of the premier standouts at the Portsmouth Invitational. He rebounded like a maniac, showed off rock solid athleticism, and demonstrated more off the bounce than he was able to at UConn. Martin profiles as a complementary player, ranking in the 93rd percentile on catch and shoot jump shots per Synergy. He has a high motor and leaves his fingerprints all over the game. Martin doesn't like to go right, his handle is just okay, and he isn't great around the basket. If he can show growth in those departments, NBA teams may have a more immediate interest.
David McCormack, 6'10", Senior, Kansas
Operating as a traditional back-to-the-basket big man for a National Championship winning Kansas team, David McCormack played well when it mattered the most as a senior. Prior to that, his career had been marred by inconsistency, and he even lost his starting spot at points this past season. His lack of defensive versatility and subpar rim-protection by NBA standards will be held against him. Defensive footwork and vertical pop will be the name of the game for those eyeing McCormack.
*Kevin McCullar, 6'6", Junior, Texas Tech
Texas Tech had a strong defensive identity this past season, and Kevin McCullar was their best perimeter defender. He's strong, long, light on his feet, and he thinks quickly. As a result, getting past him is a chore, and he knows how to help off the ball well. Though his 40/31/71 shooting splits aren't inspiring, they don't tell the full story. McCullar was tasked with acting as a playmaker this past season. While it hurt his scoring numbers as he had to do more off the dribble, he was still rock solid, and it's clear that he "gets" it. He can put it on the floor when needed, he's a clever passer, and he'll finish over smalls when he gets a mismatch. McCullar fits the modern profile of a playoff defender with a great mind and positional versatility, but he'll need to prove he can knock down open shots in order to stick.
Kameron McGusty, 6'5", Redshirt Graduate, Maimi
After spending six seasons at the college level between Oklahoma and Miami, Kameron McGusty will be one of the most seasoned players in this class. This maturity shows up in his offensive game, where he can dribble in tight spaces, counter defenders, make basic passing reads, and score in a variety of ways at all three levels. On defense, he does a nice job of poking the ball away and intercepting lazy passes. McGusty is undoubtedly talented, but as an older player, he'll likely need to dominate in order to get an NBA Combine invite. This isn't off the table for him, but teams generally don't like to draft players his age, especially when they don't have a true specialty skill.
Pete Nance, 6'10", Senior, Northwestern
Pete Nance is the brother of the Pelicans' Larry Nance Jr. and the son of former NBA player Larry Nance. Pete Nance took steps forward in each of his four seasons with Chicago's Big Ten Team. He is a true stretch big who connected on 45.2% of his triples this past season. He's a versatile screen option who ranked in the 87th percentile on pick-and-pops and the 90th percentile as a roll man per Synergy. Much like his brother, he's also an awesome passer for his size, making him an option to create in short-roll scenarios. Unlike his brother, though, he's not a crazy vertical athlete and can be slow off the floor. He's still more of a four than a five at 6'10" because of his struggles as a rim protector. Still, he's a fluid mover and may be able to hang as a 4. For Nance, the G League Elite Camp will be about defining what he does on the floor against fellow high-level players on the defensive end.
J.D. Notae, 6'1", Redshirt Senior, Arkansas
J.D. Notae was one of the nastiest point guard defenders in the country, as evident in his 2.3 SPG and 0.7 BPG. Defense is his calling card and the area of his game that gives him the most specialist upside. Offensively, things get dicey. He's an inconsistent shooter who occasionally launches moonballs, and he's never met a shot he didn't like. He's not the greatest passer or playmaker, either. If Notae can show above-average competence on offense, his defense will keep him in the mix for NBA looks.
Shareef O'Neal, 6'10", Redshirt Junior, LSU
One of the more surprising invites, Shareef O'Neal only appeared in 14 games for LSU and averaged under 10 minutes per game this season. A 2018 high school graduate, the son of Shaquille O'Neal was sidelined with medical issues during his first year in college. He's a long shot, but there are some positive aspects to his game. He's a fluid athlete for his size who can get up for lobs and putbacks. He's a good finisher with soft touch. Unfortunately, he's also thin and not super physical. Given his lack of reputation, he'll have to explode from a production standpoint in order to make an impression.
MJ Randolph, 6'4", Senior, Florida A&M
MJ Randolph is a prolific scorer who put up 18.8 PPG for Florida A&M in his senior campaign. He can score off the dribble and is a tremendous mid-range scorer. When operating out of the pick-and-roll, he knows how to navigate the screen, play with pace, and find the roll man when his shot isn't there. On defense, he can get into passing lanes for steals, but he'll occasionally go way too far under screens and allow the ball handler to do whatever they want. He's also struggled from long range as a career 22.3% three-point shooter. He'll need to knock down triples, given his lack of positional size and past woes from distance.
Jared Rhoden, 6'6", Senior, Seton Hall
Jared Rhoden is straight-up aggressive. He'll hunt for scoring opportunities on offense, and he can switch up and down defense thanks to his athleticism and strength. He's a tough shot-maker who has been inconsistent from long range over his college career. However, if he can knock down threes (and he did at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament), NBA teams will be intrigued. Rhoden had a 2 STL % and 2 BLK % this past year. If the three-ball is there, he's exactly what a lot of teams are looking for as a 6'6" scorer who can cover multiple positions on defense.
Jermaine Samuels, 6'7", Graduate, Villanova
Before the season, perhaps no one was banging the Jermaine Samuels drum louder than myself. Prior to returning to Villanova with his extra year of eligibility, I had him slotted above his former teammate Jeremiah Robinson-Earl. Sadly, it was a down year for Samuels. His three-point percentage dropped from 37.1 to 27.6, and he seemed to have lost confidence. If he can get his jumper back on track, though, there is plenty to like. Samuels does all the little things. He can defend up and down thanks to his quick feet and powerful 230-pound frame, he's great around the basket, and he knows how to keep the ball moving. If he can shoot it, he's the do-it-all forward teams desperately crave.
*Marcus Sasser, 6'1", Junior, Houston
The eyes of executives across the NBA must have lit up when they saw Marcus Sasser on the G League Elite Camp invite list. Prior to a season-ending injury, Sasser was having an excellent year for Houston. He took massive strides as a three-point shooter, knocking down 43.7% of his 8.6 attempts per game. His dribble package is tremendous, and he is sudden in his movements. His quickness makes him a headache to guard, even if his passing and creation for others is a step behind most NBA guards. Sasser is also a terror on defense, constantly getting into the ball at the point of attack with his quick hands. If he can look healthy and make a few good reads, teams will be drooling to see him at the NBA combine.
Baylor Scheierman, 6'6", Junior, South Dakota State
Baylor Scheierman put up video game numbers in the Summit League this past year, posting 16.2 PPG, 7.8 RPG, and 4.5 APG on absurd 50.8/46.9/80.2 shooting splits. Scheierman is strong enough to control the glass and has a wide array of slick passes to punish defenses who dare pay too much attention to him. Until a strong tournament outing against Providence, he hadn't looked as good in games against high-level competition. He's heavy and ground-bound, raising questions about how well his mobility will hold up at the next level. In order to move on to the next event, Scheierman has to show that he can't be made fodder on the defensive end.
Luke Travers, 6'8", Perth Wildcats
Luke Travers is a classic "everything but the jump shot" proposition. He sees the floor well at 6'8" and is a great passer. His feel is off the charts, and it shows up the most on defense, where despite looking like an unnatural mover, he posted solid steal and block numbers in the NBL. Still, Travers only made 25% of his threes and 68% of his free throws. If he can shoot, teams will come calling. Otherwise, he may be a player who continues to develop overseas but makes it to the NBA further down the road.
Ryan Turell, 6'7", Senior, Yeshiva University
A Division-III prospect, Ryan Turell turned heads by announcing his entry into the draft. He's attempting to be the first Orthodox Jew to play in the NBA. Turell has a chance because he's 6'7" and a preposterous scorer. He made 47% of his threes this past season, and at the Portsmouth Invitation Tournament, his scoring translated against Division-I seniors. Turell makes great use of hesitation and burst to get himself looks, and he can make tough shots with a hand in his face. The questions come on defense, where Turell has poor balance and footwork. At Portsmouth, players who changed direction and made him work laterally gave him trouble. Shooting and size are premium traits, and if the defense holds up, Turell has a shot.
Fabian White Jr., 6'8", Graduate, Houston
Fabian White Jr. was a late bloomer who popped off for Houston after a slew of injuries took down their primary scoring options. After only making two threes during his first four years of college, he made 49 as a graduate and shot 37.1% on them. He's a stat-sheet stuffer with a high motor. White never gives up on a play and tallies great steal and block totals as a result. His tough defense, ability to keep the ball moving, and shooting are things that will stand out to NBA evaluators. However, his age, lack of elite athleticism, and small sample size as a three-point option give pause. White needs a good all-around outing against this crop of talent to keep moving forward.
Bryson Williams, 6'8", Redshirt Graduate, Texas Tech
After two years at Fresno State, four years (including a redshirt season) at UTEP, and a year at Texas Tech, Bryson Williams is headed to the pro ranks. At 6'8" with an inside-out scoring game, he'll absolutely make money as a basketball player-- the question is whether or not he can do it in the NBA. His age will obviously play a factor, but his athleticism is as big of one. Williams is clunky on rotations, shaky on closeouts, a tad slow-footed, and lacks lift. Still, he's an excellent shooter for his size, with a nice post package to finish over shorter players. If Williams can score like he did in college while displaying better defense, interest will follow. In my interview with Adonis Arms, he noted Williams as the player he feels is being the most slept on by critics. He has the respect of his peers and will look to take it from his doubters.
*Vince Williams Jr., 6'6", Senior, VCU
Vince Williams Jr. is a stat-sheet stuffer with an impressively efficient scoring profile. Last season, he made 60% of his twos and 38.7% of his threes on a solid 5.6/game. When he heads toward the basket, he keeps a nice view of the floor and can find the open man. He plays bigger than his height, guarding up well and contributing on the glass. Defensively, his instincts are off the charts. He posted a 2.9 STL % and 3.8 BLK %, both strong numbers. VWJ knows where to be on the court and has an array of tactics, like getting into shots low that hide his lack of elite lift. Williams can be a bit stiff in the hips and doesn't have the quickest reaction times on defense. His ability to stay in front of quicker players at the point of attack will be a major swing factor for his professional destiny.
Jalen Wilson, 6'8", Junior, Kansas
Quick for a 4, Jalen Wilson has the look of a multi-positional defender. His first step helps him get to the rim, and he made a great 56.9% of his twos this past season. Wilson's leaping ability makes him a viable rebounder. Though he should be able to cover multiple positions, as I noted earlier, it's still a bit theoretical for him. He didn't tally up steals or blocks at the clip you'd expect, given his physical tools, and he can zone in and out. His outside shot isn't reliable yet, as he only hit 26.3% of his threes last season, but the shot doesn't look broken. Lastly, he missed the first four games of this past season as the result of a suspension stemming from a DUI arrest. Despite the flaws, Wilson has a strong physical skillset and feels like he's on the cusp of putting it all together. NBA organizations are always looking for players from his mold, and a big performance at this combine could easily get him an invite to the bigger one.
Kok Yat, 6'8", Overtime Elite
Kok Yat may be raw, but it's easy to see why a team might buy into him. He's a ridiculous leaper at 6'8" who wowed scouts at the Overtime Elite pro day prior to the season. His jumping ability was a crucial factor in his 3.0 BLK %. As the cousin of JT Thor, he likely has solid insights as to what cutting your teeth at the NBA level will look like for him. His athleticism doesn't show up as much in his offense as you'd like, as he's content to jack threes rather than attack. His ball-handling is far from NBA ready, which is a part of that issue. To make matters worse, he only made 30% of his threes in OTE games. His lower body is skinny, but he didn't get to put as much time into his body as he probably hoped for due to an injury sidelining him for much of his season. Still, it's hard to look past his physical profile, defensive switchability, and NBA bloodline. A breakout performance could see him rocket up boards.