NBA Draft 2012: College Duds Destined for Success at the Next Level
The bright lights, giant contracts and chance for stardom are some of the many intriguing items the NBA has to offer. But for a few respective college prospects, the NBA signals a fresh beginning from their former bust label.
Whether their lack of production came from their inability to translate to the college game, their lack of a consistent role or the simple fact that they have not yet tapped into their vast potential, the subsequent players in this slideshow did not have successful college tenures.
However, there is no denying that the following players have the ability and talent to transform into quality starters in this Association.
Despite having a dismal freshman season with coach Jim Calhoun at the University of Connecticut, center Andre Drummond is still widely projected to be picked in the Top Five. This is a fantastic testament to the vastness of this young big man's potential.
During the 2011-12 college basketball season, Drummond averaged a respectable 10 points and a shade under eight rebounds per night. Even though these numbers aren't anything to scoff at, many expected Drummond to put up more gaudy statistics.
This 270-pound, 6'11" center possesses an NBA-ready body and refined post game. Additionally, his athleticism and remarkable length allow him to be a force around the rim on defense, which is a quality that NBA scouts are drooling over.
With the intangibles and athletic gifts this young behemoth holds, we may be looking at the future of the center position.
Best Fits: Charlotte Bobcats, Washington Wizards and New Orleans Hornets
Perry Jones III
Out of all the potential prospects in this year's draft class, few have the potential and talent that Perry Jones III possesses.
However, his erratic regular-season performances and dismal postseason have definitely hurt his draft stock. There are many questions critics are asking about the young, 6'11" forward.
Why wasn't he a college superstar? Why does he shy away in the clutch? Does he have the physical build to find success at the next level?
Jones, a lanky sophomore, was once dubbed the next elite prospect in high school. But each week, it seems as if the position where he is projected to be selected is slipping. Currently, many analysts expect the forward to be chosen at the end of the lottery. That is quite a dramatic change; just last year, many thought Jones would have been contending for the No. 1 overall pick.
Nonetheless, Jones is an extremely intriguing prospect. His versatility at his height is quite rare, and this is exactly why he draws so many comparisons to Dallas Mavericks forward Lamar Odom. Not only can Jones dribble out on the perimeter but he also can knock down the open jumper and defend a plethora of positions.
Perry Jones III may be the steal of this year's draft.
Best Fits: Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns
Few players enter college with the hype Austin Rivers had just one year ago. In high school, the 6'4" shooting guard was arguably the best scorer of the last decade. If Rivers was past half court, he was a threat to score.
However, his biggest strength may have been his biggest weakness. Due to his remarkable offensive talent, many scouts were blinded when it came to evaluating Rivers' shaky defense and athleticism. These holes in his game became quite prevalent in his freshman season at Duke, as the young guard struggled to adapt to the college game.
Instead of relying on his own ability to create shots, Rivers had to stay within the confines of coach Mike Krzyzewski's offense. Rivers' transition to this new scheme was a struggle, and his draft stock was taking a major slide.
By the end of the season, though, Rivers was starting to show flashes of brilliance. He was scoring in a multitude of ways, was becoming a team player and was even developing into a decent defender.
Sure, the season was a disappointment, but Rivers' potential may be too hard to pass up.
Best Fits: Boston Celtics and Phoenix Suns
What a wild year for Fab Melo and the Syracuse Orange!
After a fantastic start to the season, Melo was held out twice for academic reasons. The second penalty was assessed at the end of the year and ruled him ineligible to compete in the NCAA tournament.
Sure, Melo had a breakout year for the Orange, as he averaged nearly eight points and six rebounds per game, but his inability to fend off suspension raises character concerns. The Big East leader in blocks is also still raw on offense and will probably struggle adapting to the fast-paced offense of the NBA.
However, in a league where there is a lack of true center depth, Melo will have numerous opportunities to show that he belongs in the Association.
Best Fits: Orlando Magic and Boston Celtics