Get inside March Madness with SI.com's Luke Winn in the Tourney Blog, a daily journal of college basketball commentary, on-site reporting and reader-driven discussions.
3/21/2006 04:28:00 AM
Conversation With ... An NBA Scout
Georgetown's Roy Hibbert boosted his draft stock with a 20-point game against Ohio State in the second round.
In the downtime between rounds of the NCAA tournament, the Blog checked in with an NBA scout to get his anonymous take on which players did the most to improve their draft stock on the first weekend:
1. Roy Hibbert, 7-foot-2 center, Georgetown, Soph.
Scout's Take: Hibbert really helped himself against Northern Iowa and Ohio State -- especially OSU, facing Terence Dials -- because he played so well and there's such a dearth of true big men in college. Hibbert has a chance to be a pro because he's so gigantic and skilled, but he's definitely not ready to come out yet. He still has to prove he can consistently perform -- but he's gone from just a prospect to a priority prospect.
2. Joakim Noah, 6-11 forward, Florida, Soph.
Scout's Take: Noah's shown more depth to his game. The passing element has always been there, but it hasn't always shown up so significantly in the box score. He's been putting up crazy stat lines in the tournament, plus he plays with such passion. He needs to get stronger, but his shoulders aren't too wide, so you question how much more weight they can carry. He's so interesting because of his energy level and his skill. It's unreal the way he's able to get out and run on the break.
3. Ronnie Steele, 6-2 guard, Alabama, Soph.
Scout's Take: Against Marquette and UCLA, Steele proved that he's a good prospect who knows how to run a team. He plays with such poise, and I think he's shown a greater ability over the past two weeks to shoot the ball. His shot had been a question for a while, but not as much anymore after putting up so many points [averaging 22.0 per game] in the first two rounds.
4. Glen Davis, 6-8 forward, LSU, Soph.
Scout's Take: He's shown a pretty versatile game, proving he can shoot from 15 feet out as well as drive the ball from the elbow and score. People still question his lack of length and explosiveness, but he's intriguing because he plays with such flair. I've heard people say, "He's just another Robert Traylor," but I think he brings a different attitude to the floor. Big Baby plays with character.
5. Craig Smith, 6-7 forward, Boston College, Sr.
Scout's Take: When I saw him last year, I said, "No way is he going to be a good pro." But he's shown me something. He's been able to put up big numbers [averaging 23.5 points and 14.5 rebounds through two games] while commanding a ton of attention defensively. He's still an under-sized power forward at a position that's really stocked, but he's a solid second-rounder. He reminds me a little of Anthony Mason, in the way that he has a huge body and knows how to use his rear end.
As much as you want to toot the horn of Hibbert, Noah and the other YOUNG guys. Try to just concentrate on the Juniors and Seniors! Too many kids read this type of stuff and then believe they are ready for the league! Hibbert ALREADY passes better than most centers in the NBA, but she SHOULD RETURN and learn to be more assertive, and be the MAN on the court he can be! Noah is another guy who could use another year of seasoning in college! He has done great so far no doubt. I just think too many writer put nonsense into these kids heads! Some are ready for the NBA, but MOST are not! Plus if they do go, it is hard for a guy to sit on the bench all year! Where was Shelden Williams, or Adam Morrison THESE are the guys who should be under your microscope in disecting their game and to determine if they can go on and be NBA SUCCESSFUL players! Another one is Rudy Gay, this KID needs to go back to UCONN, he is too soft right now for the NBA!
I was just wondering where Aaron Gray falls with draft prospects? At Pitt we have been hearing there is a chance he might go pro. He played poorly in the Big East tourney (despite his first team status) and O'Bryant torched him. Where does he rank as a prospect?
I agree that you forgot Roy. He has gone from very late first rounder to a lotto pick in the last two months and his stellar play in the UW's first two rounds is pushing him up even further. Best complete basketball player in the country without question.
What? No mention of CJ Watson of "The UT"! Probably the best all around point guard in the country. He not only handles the ball as well as anybody, he is also an excellent passer & shooter (Avg. 15 pts/gm)& is an outstanding individual who is a great contributor to his community.
Over the last two years, I have twice seen Hibbert play in person. Watching the improvement in his moves and his court presence has been remarkable, and, watching him on television this last weekend, I was astounded. I do not think anybody expected progress like this. Another year of college should make him a considerable force.
On the other hand, when I saw Hibbert in person, I noticed that his hands seemed small for a man of his size, and he dropped several passes he should easily have cauhgt. Not to take away from a dominant performance, but he dropped a couple more in the first game last weekend, too, and at least one against Ohio State. (In my region we mostly saw other games.) If he can learn to hold onto the ball, he will be practically unstoppable, at least in this college era when all the big men with skills jump straight from high school to the NBA.
If you think CJ Watson is the best PG in the nation you're on something. I hate convicts..., err, I mean UCONN, but Marcus Williams gets it done in just about every aspect. It's hard to ignore Rondo, as well. CJ Watson might be top 10, but he shouldn't be mentioned with the best PG's in the nation.
I think Joakim Noah's prospects should be sky-rocketting. A 6-11 guy who can handle the ball like a point guard and drive the lane, while dishing excellent passes, would be a rather formidable presence anywhere on the court. If, like you said, he can get a bit stronger, and perhaps develop an a decent jumpshot, he'd be a definite top 5 pick, if not a lottery pick. That is, if he doesnt leave this year.
Luke...two questions... one how could you pick LSU to upset Duke? Two, what do you think about the rumors of Duke's McRoberts bailing after this year and going pro? Does he have the game or the maturity? One more year would help, ala Kris Humphreys (would be duke player)
Everyone is talking about Bradley's O'Bryant... he will go pro, eventually. However, how about Sommerville? He is the senior leader of Bradley, seems to have solid numbers through his career, and has the body. Do you think he has a chance to get drafted???
Finally, someone talks about Craig Smith being a pro prospect. I liken him to Ryan Gomes but a much better rebounder and inside scorer with less shooting range. Just imagining him not triple or double teamed makes me salivate and he'll be a quality find for a team in the second round. He is a college stud and he'll have a good long career in the NBA. Thanks again for being the first to add him to a prospect watch list. It's insane when he is not on the ESPN's top 100 prospects and Eric Williams of WF is.
Readers ... just to clarify, the scout here gave me five players who significantly improved their draft stock over the first weekend. A guy like Brandon Roy is already pretty well-known -- he wasn't left off because the scouts don't like him, he was left off because they already knew he could put up big games. That's all.
With the criteria being guys who weren't really on the radar before the tourney, I wonder about Mustafa Shakur of Arizona. Many Arizona fans have considered him a "disappointment" in relation to the hype he had coming out of high school. However, during the Wildcats' two games in the tourney, he won a lot of haters over to his side. I don't necessarily think he's ready for the NBA, but there's talk that he could test the waters. What's the general consensus on him?