NBA Draft 2013: Underrated College Stars That Will Make an Impact at Next Level
While top 2013 NBA draft prospects like Trey Burke and Ben McLemore will be over-analyzed in the lead-up to this summer's draft, there are a handful of overlooked and underrated college stars sure to make an immediate impact of their own for an NBA franchise next season.
Whether they're making a name for themselves as defensive stoppers or big-time scorers off the bench, these college superstars possess the talent to make a difference at the pro level.
Below we'll break down a trio of underrated college basketball stars that look poised to make a mark in the NBA in the future.
Vander Blue, Marquette, G
Vander Blue brings a lot more good traits than bad ones to the table as an NBA draft prospect.
The 6'4" shooting guard may not boast the size most NBA scouts and coaches are looking for from an NBA 2, but he's an excellent perimeter defender, lightning-quick with the ball in his hands and is a clutch performer, as we witnessed in the 2013 NCAA tournament against Davidson last month.
Blue blossomed as a junior at Marquette this past season, averaging 14.8 points per game on 45 percent shooting from the floor. He also improved his three-point shooting, improving from 16 percent his freshman year to 30 percent last season.
A consistent jump shot is something Blue will have to develop this summer and early on in his NBA career if he's to have success, but based on the leaps he's made over the past two years, there's no reason to doubt him.
Blue is a likely second-round pick, but if a team drafting late in the first round thinks he can transition to point guard at the next level, don't count him out of the top 30.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Georgia, G
Another long, athletic college star that promises to make a successful transition from Division I hoops to the NBA is Georgia's Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
The sophomore averaged 18.5 points per game for the Bulldogs last season, scorching the net on 37 percent shooting from beyond the arc. Unlike Blue, Caldwell-Pope's biggest asset is his jump shot, which he can make consistently with range and a coveted quick release.
Also a strong defender because of his size and length at 6'5", the 20-year-old won't be a liability on either side of the ball, which makes him a potential late-lottery pick this summer.
The knocks on Caldwell-Pope: He's not a polished ball-handler, which could hurt him in the NBA where two guards need to be able to create their own shots from time to time. Also, his mid-range jump shot lacks consistency, and he must become a more versatile scorer.
Still, this is a player who has demonstrated time and again in college that he isn't afraid to take over in the big moments, which bodes well for him at the next level.
Allen Crabbe, California, G
A talented underclassman out of Cal, Allen Crabbe can light up the scoreboard when on top of his game.
Which player will make the biggest impact as an NBA rookie?
The 6'6" shooting guard from Los Angeles averaged 18.4 points this past season for the Golden Bears, leading them to an upset win over UNLV in the second round of the 2013 NCAA tournament.
Like Caldwell-Pope, Crabbe boasts tremendous range on his jump shot and can knock down a bunch of shots in a row when he's zeroed in on his target. Although Crabbe isn't nearly as explosive or athletic as Blue or Caldwell-Pope, he defends well and rebounds exceptionally well for a guard; he averaged six per game this past season.
Look for Crabbe to go somewhere late in the first round or early in the second round this summer. His ability to hit shots from mid-range and beyond make him a big-time NBA prospect and a player that's sure to make an impact at the next level in 2013.
Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter.
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