Scouts weigh in on top prospects after tournament (cont.)
Marquis Teague, G
6-2, 189 pounds
Regarded as Kentucky's weak link midway through the season, Teague emerged as an unmistakable weapon en route to the Wildcats' triumph. He was the team's third-leading scorer in the tournament (13.3 points) despite its wealth of talent, and showed his savvy as a floor general by maintaining a nearly 2-to-1 assists-to-turnover ratio.
"He really helped himself," a scout said. "He could sneak into the back of the lottery."
As with many young guards, however, he needs to hone his decision-making and three-point shot. He's been programmed to drive to the rim, a tactic that won't be as readily available in the NBA. Even with coach John Calipari's one-and-done history, he could benefit from a second season on campus.
"He's the type of guy that should go back to school, but I could see possibly with the lack of point guards in this draft for him to think twice, especially coming off a national championship," the other scout said. "He'd probably get lost on the end of some good team's bench. Those are the type of situations where you get lost in the shuffle."
Jeff Withey, C
7-0, 235 pounds
Redshirt Junior, Kansas
From a purely NBA perspective, perhaps no one had a more beneficial March than Withey. He racked up an NCAA tournament-record 31 blocks against some of the nation's premier big men (Sullinger, Davis, Tyler Zeller, John Henson), and displayed rare free-throw efficiency for a center by finishing the season at 79.5 percent. He climbed from an underrated talent to a genuine pro prospect, and is now squarely on the NBA radar.
Withey is rail thin and struggles to score outside of the paint, but he could serve as a more-than-capable second or third interior option. If he declares (which seems unlikely), he could prompt late first-round consideration given his size and defensive impact alone.
"He certainly has everybody's attention," a scout said. "We love bigs in our league, so I wouldn't be shocked if he threw his name in the draft and someone took him in the first round this year."
Royce White, F
6-8, 270 pounds
Redshirt Sophomore, Iowa State
A unique player in this year's class, White piqued significant national interest with his sparkling performances in the first two rounds. He combined for 38 points and 22 rebounds against a bevy of future NBA players from UConn and Kentucky, and wowed personnel evaluators with his dynamic ball-handling and passing.
"He's kind of a point guard mentality in a tight end's body," a scout said. "He's a big, strong guy, but he can handle the ball and see the floor."
White tends to disappear in stints and has had off-the-court issues -- he also, as the same scout noted, "supposedly has a fear of flying. That's obviously a big issue in the NBA" -- but is physically menacing and a terror in the open court. Based on talent alone, he could go anywhere from 25 to 35.
"He's explosive at times but he's not consistent with it," the other scout said. "But he intrigues me. I think he can get into the first round."
Draymond Green, SF
6-7, 230 pounds
Senior, Michigan State
Green has been on the NBA radar for quite some time now, but his standout efforts in March still deserve mention. The Spartans' forward averaged 17.6 points, 13.7 rebounds and six assists through the Sweet 16 to provide another sample of his well-rounded skill set. He's not exceptional in any one area, but he's proficient in all of them.
"He kind of reminds me of an Anthony Tolliver-type of guy who can step in, take charges, make shots when he needs to and pass the ball," a scout said. "He does a little bit of everything."
Green's consistency speaks volumes, as his efforts as a scorer, rebounder and distributor carried a Michigan State team without a go-to secondary threat to 29 wins and a No. 1 seed. After four years in East Lansing, he's finally turned skeptics into believers.
"If you were to ask me this Dec. 1, I'd say someone would take him in the 40s," the other scout said. "Now I think he's in that 26-to-36 category."
C.J. McCollum, G
6-3, 190 pounds
If the nation didn't know about McCollum before Lehigh's first-round upset of Duke, it certainly is aware of him now. The Mountain Hawks' junior buried the heavily favored Blue Devils, amassing 30 points, six assists and six rebounds in a shocking 75-70 win.
But McCollum's success isn't significant solely for its David over Goliath storyline. From an NBA perspective, it's important because he displayed several qualities that could translate to the next level.
"He can guard. He can rebound. He does a lot of things really well," a scout said.
After declaring a week ago (he's yet to hire an agent), McCollum stands a legitimate shot at going in the late first round. And the Patriot League's leading scorer (21.9 points) and second-leading rebounder (6.5) could continue to surprise in the pros.
"He looked like he could create off the dribble, wanted to take big shots and made big shots," the other scout said. "He put on a show against Duke. He's better than what a lot of people thought."
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