NBA Draft Early Entrants – The Freshmen

With just about any and everyone having declared here on the last day, it’s time took at the individual prospects for those moving foward and the impact it leaves on college basketball..

First a look at the one and dones..

John Wall, Kentucky – Is there anything left that hasn’t been said? He shakes David Stern’s hand first. Although I will say that the Derrick Rose comparisons naturally come, and I don’t believe he is as good coming out.

Xavier Henry, Kansas – I love his ability and size. The production was not always there. I’d be willing to over look that aspect and take him in the back end of the lottery. Shooting guards with his gifts, skill and body wise don’t grow on trees.

Daniel Orton, Kentucky – Guaranteed to be a name talked about a lot the next two months. Little production, not a starter, yet is still generating first round buzz. He could have been a focal point of Kentucky’s team next year. It’s hard to even say how he projects, there just isn’t enough evidence.

Tommy Mason-Griffin, Oklahoma – Why? Undersized, over weight guards don’t generate much NBA buzz. TMG could have been a really solid college guard, now he’s likely headed to Europe.

Eric Bledsoe, Kentucky – We’ll hear about how he’s a combo guard and has to work on being a PG. Well, before John Wall..that’s the only position Bledsoe knew. He still has much to work on with his PG play and jump shot, but the athletic ability and size is there. My guess is somebody takes him in the 20’s.

Avery Bradley, Texas   – Love him. Questions surround what position he can play. Doesn’t matter to me, you can have him as a combo guard as a 6th man at worst. He defends and his jump shot is more advanced than once thought of. Anywhere outside of the lottery and Bradley’s possesses great value.

Tiny Gallon, Oklahoma –Maybe an answer to why TMG would bolt can be found here. Gallon has the $3,000 gift looming and the OU program has gone from ‘on the verge’ to being a mess. Like TMG, Gallon’s not getting drafted.

DeMarcus Cousins, Kentucky – Is he an oversized brute that feasted on small college front lines with production that won’t translate or is he that big and strong that his numbers will come on any level? I’ve started to lean towards the fact he’s just damn good. But is his head on straight? What happens when he gets paid? Not sure. Proceed with caution.

Derrick Favors, Georgia Tech   – If Favors had any competent guards or coaches to work with this year, he would have fared much better. He is the most athletic big in this draft and has skill to go along with it. Favors is a high character person as well. Top 5 lock.

Lance Stephenson, Cincinnati    – I’d like to say he can sneak into Round 2, but I saw nothing to support that claim this year. He can’t shoot from distance, isn’t a great athlete and just did not really produce. Maybe somebody takes a shot on him. But if he’s on a roster next fall I’d be almost stunned.

Hassan Whiteside, Marshall – A hidden gem in the freshmen class that dominated in Conference USA. Whiteside is a fluid athlete and an elite shot blocker. Comparisons have been drawn to Marcus Camby. Entering the draft should not be a big surprise given his age for his class (20) and the idea to strike when the iron is hot for a big man. He’s likely to be slotted in the Mid first round.

What do the defections mean for certain teams?

Kentucky – Once again, it’s time to reload for John Calipari. He’s already picked up Enes Kanter, Stacey Poole, Brandon Knight, Doron Lamb and likely one of CJ Leslie or Terrence Jones to follow. Questions and concerns about winning with a one and done roster are valid, but was it expected to see Bledsoe and Orton leave after one season? Probably not. As long as John Calipari is at Kentucky, they will be an elite program.

Oklahoma – Yikes. The losses of Gallon and Mason-Griffin are not it for Jeff Capel. Willie Warren, Orlando Allen, Ray Willis, Tony Crocker, and even assistant coach Oronde Taliaferro resigned this spring. The amount of scholarship players has dwindled to a hand full and Jeff Capel suddenly has a rebuilding project on his hands. The possible NCAA violations with Tiny Gallon will do no favors. Life after Blake has not gone well and the future is now bleak.

Texas – The loss of Avery Bradley was off set this week with the addition of Cory Joseph, a McDonalds All American and top PG prospect. Rick Barnes and the Texas program will be fine, even if a national title isn’t a priority.

Cincinnati- Well, Mick Cronin rolled the dice on Lance. And while he didn’t get burned, Lance performed decently, and by all accounts was not a distraction on or off the court. However, the reward never truly came to fruition. A lack luster year has Cronin on the hot seat and now last year’s once thought of ‘Big 3’ now just consists of the over weight and suddenly under whelming Yancy Gates. It will be a struggle again for the Bearcats to find themselves in the top half of the Big East.


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