College Basketball's 10 Current Players Who Will Be Legitimate NBA Stars
With 345 Division I NCAA basketball teams, there are plenty of talented players at the collegiate level.
With that being said, the NBA Draft consists of just two rounds and 60 total selections, so many players will have to either play in the D-League or overseas in order to continue playing basketball in the hopes of one day reaching the NBA.
There are bound to be some future studs playing in the NCAA right now, some of whom will be lottery picks and others who may go undrafted. And while it may seem clear now that certain players are destined for NBA stardom, just look at where players like Hasheem Thabeet and Joe Alexander are today.
These following 10 players appear to be headed for solid, if not great, careers in the NBA and should all make impacts on their respective teams right away.
Harrison Barnes (UNC)
Harrison Barnes came out of Ames High School two years ago as the top-ranked recruit in the entire nation. Thus, it sounds pretty bizarre that his high school teammate Doug McDermott of Creighton will likely end up being a first team All-American while Barnes will not.
Despite this anomaly, Barnes has had himself a fine sophomore campaign at Chapel Hill, averaging 17.5 points per game on 49.1 percent shooting from the field and 45.0 percent shooting from beyond the three-point line. His offensive repertoire is diverse, and he will be able to score at the NBA level with his 6'8" frame.
Expect Barnes to be a top-five draft pick.
Moe Harkless (St. John's)
Moe Harkless has been outstanding for St. John's in a rebuilding year for the school, with per game averages of 16.6 points, 8.8 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.8 blocks and 1.5 steals. He recently went off for 30 and 13 against Duke and put up an absurd 32-13-4-2-4 stat line against Providence.
Did I mention that Harkless, a 6'8" swingman, is only a freshman? It's a pretty crazy thought considering the stats he's been putting up.
With just one season of experience under his belt, Harkless might wait a year to go to the NBA, but whenever he chooses to do so, he could be a special player.
Anthony Davis (Kentucky)
While offensive talent in college doesn't always translate to the NBA, defensive prowess usually does. That's a good thing for whoever ends up drafting Anthony Davis, Kentucky's freshman sensation who is averaging 10.3 rebounds per game, 1.5 steals per game and 4.6 blocks per game.
Davis can also play offense, averaging 13.3 points per game on 64.2 percent shooting. Whatever he can contribute offensively should be considered a bonus because he is bound to be an All-NBA defender for years to come.
Thomas Robinson (Kansas)
No Morris twins? No problem! Kansas has coped just fine this season behind the strong play of Thomas Robinson, an explosive power forward who has emerged as a star in his junior season. He is averaging 17.5 points per game and 11.8 rebounds per game, numbers that will have him in National Player of the Year discussions come the end of the season.
Robinson will be a lottery pick and could be a stud right away in the NBA given his combination of size and elite athleticism. The scary part about his game is that he still has a ton of room to improve.
Assuming Robinson does improve, he could be a perennial All-Star.
Brad Beal (Florida)
The best word to describe Brad Beal's game is smooth. The sharpshooter arrived in Gainesville with big expectations, and he has played very well throughout his freshman campaign.
Beal is averaging 14.1 points per game to go along with 5.8 rebounds per game in Florida's superb backcourt. While he has connected on 37 three-pointers in just 21 games, he is shooting a fair 34.9 percent from distance. Still, he should be a feared shooter each and every time the ball is in his hands.
NBA scouts are impressed with many aspects of Beal's game, but his ability to shoot the rock is what separates him from other prospects across the nation.
Austin Rivers (Duke)
Due to a combination of his offensive prowess and the fact that his father is an NBA head coach, Austin Rivers was one of the most hyped high school basketball players we have ever seen. So far, he has lived up to that hype.
Rivers is Duke's leading scorer at 14.1 points per game and has failed to reach double digits in just four out of 21 games. He is yet to have a true breakout game, but he could very well be saving it for the ACC Tournament or maybe even March Madness.
At 6'4", Rivers has the size to play either guard position, so his services will be highly sought after, and he will likely head to the NBA after just one year as a Blue Devil.
Arnett Moultrie (Mississippi State)
Arnett Moultrie spent the first two years of his college career at UTEP, and he averaged a modest 9.8 points per game and 6.7 rebounds per game as a sophomore. He then transferred to Mississippi State and has blossomed in the SEC, averaging 16.8 points per game and 11.3 rebounds per game in his first (and, in all likelihood, only) year in Starkville.
Moultrie is a legit 6'11", yet can still play like a wing with his quick feet and explosive first step. His offensive game has many options, as he can post up or shoot the midrange jumper with effectiveness.
Given his unique skill set for a player of his height, Moultrie will be able to make a difference at the next level for years to come.
Tony Wroten (Washington)
"You can't teach size" is one of the most repeated quotes when it comes to basketball. It holds incredibly true for Tony Wroten, who measures nearly 6'7" in shoes. Did I mention that he's a point guard?
Wroten has been sensational for the Huskies as a freshman averaging 17.1 points per game, 4.6 rebounds per game, 3.3 assists per game and 2.0 steals per game. Although he is an efficient scorer, shooting 48.2 percent from the field, he will need to improve his mechanics, which is demonstrated by his paltry 55.3 percent shooting from the free throw line.
Despite the question marks about the consistency of his shot, Wroten will be an NBA standout. His size at the point guard position will allow him to excel, and if his jumper does improve, he could become a lethal combo guard.
John Jenkins (Vanderbilt)
It has always been evident that John Jenkins could score at will. His shot is lethal, and his talent has been on full display this season. He is shooting 48.4 percent from the field, 44.3 percent from three-point land, and 86.4 percent from the charity stripe.
The percentages are even more impressive when considering the volume of shots Jenkins takes. He is averaging nearly four three-pointers made per game and even though the majority of his shots come from downtown, he is an extremely accurate midrange shooter.
Aside from his ability to shoot the ball, Jenkins does nothing else outstandingly. Even so, he isn't terrible at anything and won't simply be a one-dimensional NBA player.
Perry Jones III (Baylor)
Perry Jones III is a very intriguing NBA prospect. He is 6'11", yet can play both forward positions with his quickness, athleticism and ball handling skills.
Jones can play like a traditional forward in the low post, and his offensive abilities when facing the basket are unrivaled. He has been rebounding the ball better as of late and is averaging 7.9 boards per contest in his sophomore season at Baylor after averaging 7.2 as a freshman while his scoring has increased slightly from 13.9 points per game to 14.7 points per game.
While he has seen his draft stock fall since last season, Jones can still expect to be a lottery pick come the draft, and he will be a matchup nightmare at the next level.