2012 NBA Mock Draft: Underrated College Studs Who Will Dominate NBA

Justin Welton@JustinWeltonAnalyst IIJune 14, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 18:  Moe Harkless #4 of the St. John's Red Storm looks on against the UCLA Bruins at Madison Square Garden on February 18, 2012 in New York City.  (Photo by Chris Chambers/Getty Images)
Chris Chambers/Getty Images

Drafting well isn't exactly an easy thing to accomplish in any sport. Some do it well while others significantly struggle.

Finding stars at the college level can be difficult to process but it's very possible. You just have to know the prospect.

Here are some underrated college stars that will dominate in the NBA.  

You can find those players with (*) beside their school. 

1. New Orleans Hornets: Anthony Davis, PF, Kentucky

Anthony Davis is a special talent. His length, size and athleticism allow for instant success in today's NBA.

NEW ORLEANS, LA - APRIL 02:  Anthony Davis #23 of the Kentucky Wildcats looks on before taking on the Kansas Jayhawks in the National Championship Game of the 2012 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on April 2, 2012
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

He's a dominant shot-blocker, rebounder and his offensive game is legitimate. Easy selection here for New Orleans. 

2. Charlotte Bobcats: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF, Kentucky

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist needs to be the selection for Michael Jordan at No. 2. At worst, Kidd-Gilchrist will be an All-NBA defender.

ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 25:  Michael Kidd-Gilchrist #14 of the Kentucky Wildcats clelebrates a three-pointer against the Baylor Bears in the first half during the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball South Regional Final at the Georgia Dome on March 25, 2012 in Atlanta
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

But at best, we are talking about an All-Star talent for several years to come.

Kidd-Gilchirst's size, length, grittiness, intangibles and skill set is one of the best in the class. We're talking about a guy who shouldn't be passed on because he will make you regret it.   

3. Washington Wizards: Bradley Beal, SG, Florida

Bradley Beal has tremendous talent at the shooting guard position. However, I'm not as sold on him as others seem to be.

NEW ORLEANS, LA - MARCH 10:  Bradley Beal #23 of the Florida Gators drives against Marquis Teague #25 of the Kentucky Wildcats in the second half during the semifinals of the SEC Men's Basketball Tournament at New Orleans Arena on March 10, 2012 in New Or
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

He is extremely undersized for the two-guard in the NBA at 6'3". But his overall talent, shooting ability and level of improvement in his freshman season at Florida may be too much for Washington to pass on. 

4. Cleveland Cavaliers: Harrison Barnes, SF, North Carolina 

Harrison Barnes dropped 40 points on Clemson in the ACC tournament two years ago. He can fill it up with his dynamic mid-range game.

Barnes has great size and underrated athleticism. He tends to be overlooked because of how highly ranked he was coming out of high school and how consistent he has been at North Carolina. 

Barnes averaged 17.1 points and 5.2 rebounds per game this past season. Cleveland would be happy to see his talents on the board. 

5. Sacramento Kings: Andre Drummond, C, Connecticut

Bust or NBA All-Star. I don't see too much room for an in-between future for Andre Drummond. He has the talent, athleticism and length to become a really solid four or five in the NBA.

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 06:  Andre Drummond #12 of the Connecticut Huskies lays up a basket against the DePaul Blue Demons during their first round game of the 2012 Big East Men's Basketball Tournament at Madison Square Garden on March 6, 2012 in New York Ci
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

But he should have stayed at Connecticut another year.

Another year and he could be looking at a No. 1 selection in the 2013 NBA Draft. He would be given another year to hone his skills, improve his downfalls and mature as a basketball player. 

6. Portland Trail Blazers (via Brooklyn): Thomas Robinson, PF, Kansas  

Thomas Robinson is a double-double candidate waiting to happen. He is a great rebounder and solid offensive performer.

Robinson is an active and motivated player, and his life story is something that motivates him to be the best he can be. Don't be surprised if Robinson becomes an All-Star in the NBA.  

7. Golden State Warriors (via Utah): Perry Jones III, PF, Baylor

I would be hesitant when predicting whether or not Perry Jones will pan out. He has the tools, athleticism and talent, but he shrinks more often than not.

If it wasn't for around-the-rim jams, Jones wouldn't be in contention to be a lottery pick. 

8. Toronto Raptors: Austin Rivers, G, Duke *

Duke's Austin Rivers provides extreme explosiveness. 

Rivers provides more explosiveness than anybody in this draft class. With Toronto being 28th in the league in scoring, it's an easy decision to take him with the No. 8 pick.

Duke relied on a freshman to provide scoring, offensive opportunities and clutch shots late. When was the last time you could say that about them? 

If it wasn't for Duke not having any other options capable of creating their shot, Rivers might not have forced the issue as much as he did. He understood that he was the only person capable of doing it consistently. 

Rivers will dominate in the NBA despite his 6'4" size. His game reminds me of Dwyane Wade, 6'4" guard who loves to take it to the basket with authority. 

He may not ever get to that level, but if he can get close, we are talking about an All-Star talent. 

9. Detroit Pistons: Arnett Moultrie, PF, Mississippi State

Arnett Moultrie is an intriguing first-round prospect. He's a guy who slid under the radar this past season, but his talent and size compare well to today's NBA.

Expect Detroit to give him a hard look at No. 9. 

10. New Orleans Hornets (via Minnesota) Kendall Marshall, PG, North Carolina

New Orleans has a wonderful opportunity to have the best draft. With Davis at No. 1 and Kendall Marshall at No. 10, they would receive two dominant players at their positions.

CHAPEL HILL, NC - DECEMBER 19:  Kendall Marshall #5 of the North Carolina Tar Heels drives between defenders Lachlan Prest #2 and Shane Rillieux #21 of the Nicholls State Colonels during play at the Dean Smith Center on December 19, 2011 in Chapel Hill, N
Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Davis dominates down low and Marshall is the best pure point guard in the draft class. 

11. Portland Trail Blazers: Damian Lillard, PG, Weber State 

Damian Lillard could be a star in the NBA but he could also be slightly overrated. I'll go with the former.

Lillard has the scoring touch and ability to dominate at the point guard position. In today's NBA, point guards are more athletic, stronger to the rim and can drive at will with their quickness. Lillard has a great opportunity to dominate in that fashion. 

12. Milwaukee Bucks: Tyler Zeller, C, North Carolina

No Andrew Bogut means Milwaukee will be looking for a center. North Carolina's Tyler Zeller should be the answer here.

In today's NBA, Zeller can be successful at the center position. He's athletic, talented and has the size to compete down low. 

13. Phoenix Suns: Jeremy Lamb, SG, Connecticut

Phoenix will be looking for a potential All-Star shooting guard in the draft. Jeremy Lamb is a candidate for that description.

Lamb was up-and-down in his time at Connecticut, but he has the size and skill set at the shooting guard position. He would be a good fit with Phoenix. 

14. Houston Rockets: Royce White, PF, Iowa State 

Royce White is legit. Every time he stepped onto the court, he was one of the top-two players. He made his impact in multiple ways, including shooting from the perimeter, driving to the rim, finding teammates and handling the ball.

LOUISVILLE, KY - MARCH 15:  Royce White #30 of the Iowa State Cyclones attempts a shot in the seocnd half against Andre Drummond #12 of the Connecticut Huskies during the second round of the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at KFC YUM! Center on Marc
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

White has superstar talent, make-up and intangibles. 

15. Philadelphia 76ers: John Henson, PF, North Carolina

John Henson brings size; Philadelphia needs size. The fit makes sense from a need perspective. 

Henson averaged 13.8 points and 10.1 rebounds per game this year. 

16. Houston Rockets (via New York): Terrence Ross, SG, Washington

Terrence Ross has All-Star potential. 

CHARLOTTE, NC - MARCH 18:  Terrence Ross #31 of the Washington Huskies goes up for a shot between Jeremy Price #50 and Trey Thompkins #33 of the Georgia Bulldogs in the second half during the second round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at Ti
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

He has the size, talent and athleticism to play a major role in the NBA. He'll just need to be more consistent.

17. Dallas Mavericks: Dion Waiters, SG, Syracuse

Syracuse's Dion Waiters provided instant offense off the bench this past season. Whenever they needed a boost, Waiters was put into the game and he produced at a high level.  

PITTSBURGH, PA - MARCH 17:  Dion Waiters #3 of the Syracuse Orange reacts in the second half against the Kansas State Wildcats during the third round of the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Consol Energy Center on March 17, 2012 in Pittsburgh, Pen
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

He shot 48 percent from the floor this past season, and is the definition of instant offense. 

18. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Utah): Moe Harkless, G/F St. John's *

Moe Harkless is another potential steal in the middle of the first round. He has top-10 scoring ability with great size. 

His 7'0" wingspan combined with his offensive skill set are something to behold. He can't shoot from outside, but defenders still can't stop him from getting to the lane. 

Harkless scored 15.3 points and recorded 8.6 rebounds per game in his freshman season. We're looking at maybe the steal of the draft if he can iron out his deficiencies. 

19. Orlando Magic: Meyers Leonard, C, Illinois

With Dwight Howard's constant 'Where am I going?' routine, it would make sense for Orlando to plan for the future.

Meyers Leonard should be the selection with this pick. 

He provides great size and potential at the center position. 

20. Denver Nuggets: Jared Sullinger, C/PF, Ohio State

Denver will be drafting No. 20 overall and Jared Sullinger will still be on the board. I'm expecting to see some type of slip down the board.  

Sullinger won't be dominant in the NBA, but he could be useful down low. His post-position is tremendous and he knows how to use his body. 

21. Boston Celtics: Andrew Nicholson, PF, St. Bonaventure

Boston needs to plan for the future. Andrew Nicholson's game reminds me of Kevin Garnett with his ability to hit the mid-range shot.

NASHVILLE, TN - MARCH 16:  Andrew Nicholson #44 of the St. Bonaventure Bonnies holds the ball against the Florida State Seminoles during the second round of the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Bridgestone Arena on March 16, 2012 in Nashville, Ten
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

He would work wonders with Rajon Rondo in pick-and-pop situations. 

22. Boston Celtics (via Los Angeles Clippers): John Jenkins, SG, Vanderbilt

With Ray Allen on the downside of his career, Boston would be wise to look for his replacement in the draft. John Jenkins is a dynamic three-point shooter.

Jenkins shot 44 percent from beyond the arc this past season at Vanderbilt.

23. Atlanta Hawks: Tony Wroten Jr., PG, Washington *

Tony Wroten Jr. has the size and athleticism to thrive at the next level. His shooting is atrocious, but he can improve upon that similar to what we're seeing with Boston's Rajon Rondo.  

Wroten is 6'5", 203 pounds, he is excellent at getting to the rim and his vision is superb. In today's NBA, Wroten's offensive game is what we're seeing from point guards. Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook are changing the mold and Wroten could be the beneficiary. 

The potential to become a star is there, but he will have work on several areas of his game.

24. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Los Angeles Lakers): Draymond Green, SF, Michigan State

Draymond Green is a basketball player. He doesn't have the size, overall athleticism, body type or length as other prospects, but he knows how to use his body and skill set to his advantage.

He can put it on the floor, rebound, spot-up from deep range and lead a fast-break. Green is just a fantastic basketball player. 

25. Memphis Grizzlies: Quincy Miller, F, Baylor 

Quincy Miller should have stayed another year at Baylor. He has the talent to become successful in the NBA, but he could have been a potential lottery pick in 2013.

Memphis will draft Miller as a project because I don't see him being solid in his first two seasons. It's going to take quality coaching to get him to reach his potential. 

26. Indiana Pacers: Marquis Teague, PG, Kentucky

Marquis Teague is from Indianapolis, Indiana and has a chance to play for his hometown team.

NEW ORLEANS, LA - APRIL 02:  Marquis Teague #25 of the Kentucky Wildcats lays the ball up against the Kansas Jayhawks in the first half in the National Championship Game of the 2012 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament at the Mercedes-Benz Superdom
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Indiana should jump on the opportunity to have Teague on its roster. He is a guy who can create his own shot off the dribble, and they need another player capable of that.

27. Miami Heat: Fab Melo, C, Syracuse

Miami needs a big man down low to block or alter shots and rebound. They also need to add depth down low. 

Fab Melo fits the bill.

28. Oklahoma City Thunder: Jeffery Taylor, SF, Vanderbilt

Oklahoma City is looking like a legitimate dynasty in the NBA. They could add another shooter with size. 

ALBUQUERQUE, NM - MARCH 17:  Jeffery Taylor #44 of the Vanderbilt Commodores reacts during the first half of the game against the Wisconsin Badgers during the third round of the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at The Pit on March 17, 2012 in Albuque
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Vanderbilt's Jeffery Taylor could be that guy if OKC decided to give him a look at No. 28.

29. Chicago Bulls: Will Barton, SG, Memphis

Chicago must look for a home run with the No. 29 pick in the draft. Will Barton has the potential to be a home-run selection late in the draft.

He shot 51 percent from the floor while scoring 18 points per game this past season. Instead of Chicago looking for a player who can help them instantly win a championship, they should look at guy who can be great for years to come. 

30. Golden State Warriors (via San Antonio) Evan Fournier, SG, France 

Let's get a little European flavor in this mock draft. Evan Fournier will be the only European prospect drafted in the first round this year.

Golden State needs another scoring option and Fournier provides massive talent. Sounds like a good fit. 



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