By Brandon Pemberton
The College basketball season is heading towards March, one of my favorite sports times of the year and I’ve watched hundreds of games on TV and via my laptop. Here is my third version of “College Hoops Top Ten Pro Prospects” and there are plenty of changes since my last update: http://brandononsports.com/2012/01/11/my-top-ten-nba-prospects-in-college-basketball-updated-1-11-12/ . Be sure to listen to Sports Trap Radio hosted by myself and Chris Marshall (@215_sports_guy) from 10am-2pm every Saturday from 10am-2pm on http://ueradiolive.com/ (@UeradioLive).
1. Anthony Davis PF/SF/C 6-10 220lbs Kentucky Fr. : Has jumped from 4th on my list to the clear cut #1 prospect in my opinion. Davis is on his way to probably winning the Naismith Award, Defensive player of the year award, and being the number one pick in the 2012 draft. This freshman is a game changer defensively, not only in the paint, but he’s able to cover ground and guard out on the perimeter as well. His offensive game has gotten better since the beginning of the season, and look for a big NCAA tournament out of Davis.
2. Thomas Robinson PF/SF 6-8 240lbs Kansas Jr. : Has jumped to the 2nd spot in this month’s rankings. Robinson is also a legit candidate for player of the year and while Kansas lost the Morris Twins, Selby, and Xavier Henry from last season’s roster, Robinson’s play has this team playing better with less overall talent. I told people last year if he came out, I would pick him over all of the previous named above, and I was told I was nuts. Well Robinson’s developing post game, 12-15 foot jump shot, rebounding, and defensive versatility has him locked in as a top 5 pick in 2012.
3. Harrison Barnes 6-8 220lbs SF North Carolina So. : Was previously number two on this list, Barnes drops to three this month. As I’ve said before, he is probably one of the more safe picks in this draft, even though he’s just a sophomore. Has the ablilty to score from mid range, 3-point range, the post, off picks and pull ups off of the dribble. I would like to see him drive to the hoop more and get to the line more though. Scouts are worried about his low rebounding and assist numbers, but I really haven’t put much value on them. He has an NBA skill, the ability to put the ball in the basket at a high rate.
4. Perry Jones III 6-11 235lbs PF/SF Baylor So. : Was the number one prospect previously, but his two disappearing acts over the last month against Kansas and once against Missouri has caused me to move him down on the list. Jones III has all of the physical tools, along with skills and game to be the clear cut number one pick in this draft. I don’t know why, but he appears mentally gone in big games during the season. If I’m a GM, I have to take a look at that. Mental make-up is just as important as physical talent and basketball skills.
5. Jared Sullinger PF/C 6-8 275lbs Ohio St. So. : Has come back after an All-American freshman year in which he could have been a sure top ten pick in better shape and it’s pretty obvious. Sullinger has more endurance, quickness, and is getting up and down the court much better than he did as a freshman. He’s become a better mid range shooter, even though he rarely needs to display the talent because he’s soo dominant in the paint in college. Is a great rebounder on both ends and the weight loss has made him a better out of space rebounder as well. He won’t be a superstar, but he will be a solid pro for the next ten years.
6. Andre Drummond C/PF 6-11 275lbs UConn Fr. : Is a legit big man, with freakish athleticism and if he puts in the work as did Dwight Howard and Andrew Bynum, he could be a star in this league for a long time. But honestly, I really believe he could use another year in college to hone his skills and just play more basketball. But if he comes out this year, he will most likely go in the top 3 picks. He’s one of the biggest risk/reward picks to come through in a long time. He could be Howard/Bynum good, or be Kwame Brown or Patrick O’Bryant.
7. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist SF/SG 6-6 215lbs Kentucky Fr. : Is one of the fiercest competitors I’ve seen in college basketball in a long time. And the fact that he’s soo talented and was heavily recruited and puts forth this effort makes me as a scout drool and I know NBA scouts and GM’s love this kid. He is an elite defender, great rebounder for a player his size, and has a knack for driving to the hole and drawing contact while being able to finish as well. His outside shot needs work and maybe his ball handling, but he seems to be the type of kid who will live in the gym and get better.
8. Bradley Beal SG/PG 6-5 198lbs Florida Fr: Is a well built player for a 18 year old kid, with classic combo guard skills. Has range on his jump shot, the ability to put it on the floor and finish at the rim in traffic. Is a very good and willing defender as well. His long arms allow him to play bigger than his actual height. Loads of potential with this kid.
9. Jeremy Lamb 6-5 185lbs SG UConn So. : Lamb has spent a majority of the season in the top 5, but his play has fallen off and I’m starting to get a little worried. I still believe he’s a lottery pick, but he needs to have a strong finish in the regular season and a good showing in the Big East tourney to lock himself in as a 10 top pick. His energy’s been low over the last five games, and its obvious on the defensive end of the court.
10. Meyers Leonard C 7-1 245lbs Illinois So. : I’m starting to like this kid and his game more each time I watch him play. He has so much ability, but I think he defers to the wing players on his team, such as Brandon Paul too often. He is a great athlete, really gets off of the ground well for a player his size, has a nice touch in the paint and goes up hard, trying to dunk pretty much everything close to the basket. Another year in college might do him well, but if I were giving him advice right now, I wouldn’t be against it.
Next Five: Terrence Jones PF/SF 6-8 250lbs Kentucky So., Cody Zeller PF/C 6-10 215lbs Indiana Fr, Quincy Miller SF/PF 6-9-210lbs Baylor Fr , Tony Wroten Jr PG/SG 6-5 210lbs Washington Fr, Terrence Ross SG/SF 6-7 190lbs Washington So.
Brandon Pemberton of Sports Trap Radio, for War Room Sports