8 College Basketball Players Who Can Boost Draft Stock the Most During 2013
When talking about players who can boost their draft stock the most, we're referring to those with the most room for growth.
Many freshmen aren't given the opportunity to showcase their talent on a full-time basis. For most, their opportunity comes as a sophomore or junior, when they're finally featured in their respective offense.
These are the guys who have the upside to skyrocket up draft boards if they're able to maximize their opportunities and flash their potential.
Semaj Christon, Xavier, Sophomore, 6'4'', PG
The Atlantic 10 Freshman of the Year didn't get much national hype, but that's likely to change in 2013-14.
Semaj Christon opened eyes last season after averaging 15 points and 4.6 assists a game. He has an NBA point guard's body that shines on the attack.
He's nifty with the change-of-pace dribble, which he uses to weave between the defense and score in the lane whether he's shooting off one foot or fading away off two.
He hasn't shown much range, but he has the physical tools, athleticism, breakdown skills and scoring instincts that are bound to attract NBA attention.
An improved jumper could catapult him up draft boards this season.
Jerami Grant, Syracuse, Sophomore, 6'7'', SF
Just follow the pattern. The Syracuse coaching staff has done a great job of developing young players over the past few seasons. Fab Melo, Dion Waiters and Michael Carter-Williams emerged as lottery and first-round picks as sophomores for the Orange.
Jerami Grant is next in line.
He was able to make plays consistently in limited minutes as a freshman. He is one of those off-ball contributors who gets tip-ins, fast-break buckets and catch-and-finishes in the lane.
And at 6'7'' with good length, athletic bounce and an active motor, he fits the bill as an NBA small forward.
With Carter-Williams, Brandon Triche and James Southerland all moving on, the Orange will lean on Grant for consistent offense.
He has the physical tools, instincts and skill set to at least flirt with the lottery in 2014.
A.J. Hammons, Purdue, Sophomore, 7'0'', C
It shouldn't be long before A.J. Hammons is recognized alongside some of the better center prospects in the country.
At 7'0'', 260 pounds, he has the size, length and mass tailor-made for the NBA interior. Offensively, he shows good footwork and touch in the post where he can score over either shoulder.
He also looks comfortable stepping out to 18 feet and knocking down jumpers. He shot a respectable 68 percent from the line, which is better than most young 7-footers.
Defensively, he blocked two shots in 23 minutes last season. He's a space-eater and rim protector inside, as well as a promising offensive player.
Hammons lacks athleticism and fluidity, but his imposing physical frame and developing skill set can form a valuable low-post package.
I'd put him in first-round conversations entering the 2013-14 season.
Kaleb Tarczewski, Arizona, Sophomore, 7'0'', C
A highly touted recruit out of high school, Kaleb Tarczewski didn't see many scoring opportunities as a freshman. But that was with a shoot-first point guard in Mark Lyons, along with current NBA players Solomon Hill and Grant Jerrett in the lineup.
Tarczewski should be in line for an increase in usage rate and offensive touches, primarily down low where he has a physical advantage.
At 7'0'', 255 pounds, he has the size and mass to bully opposing big men. He can score over the shoulder and power his way for buckets.
He averaged six boards in only 22 minutes a game, carving out space and cleaning up his area.
Though not much of an athlete or leaper, his strength, touch and interior presence could be attractive to teams looking to beef up their frontcourt.
Montrezl Harrell, Louisville, Sophomore, 6'8'', PF
Montrelz Harrell made some waves as a freshman when he contributed to Louisville's NCAA championship run.
He also played a major role for U.S.A.'s under-19 team this summer at the FIBA World Championships in Prague.
He plays with a ton of energy and a nonstop motor, providing easy buckets in the half court or transition.
He's what I like to call a power athlete—at 6'8'', 235 pounds, he is the type of guy who makes defenders get out of his way. He finishes above the rim with authority, which is one of the reasons he shot 57 percent last season.
Though he lacks a refined offensive game, he is a premier finishing target with devastating frontcourt athleticism.
Harrell has the upside and opportunity in 2013-14 to propel himself into lottery territory.
Jahii Carson, Arizona State, Sophomore, 5'11'', PG
After eligibility issues kept him out in 2011-12, Jahii Carson went right to work as a freshman in 2012-13.
He averaged 18.5 points and 5.1 assists on an impressive 47 percent shooting from the floor last season. He has an exceptional handle with tight control of the ball to go along with lightning quickness off the dribble.
He has a bounce to his game that allows him to get to his spots on the floor, both in transition and in the half court. He's shown a soft touch scoring off one foot, using angles to attack and improve his scoring opportunities.
With breakdown ability, he's able to slip through cracks in the defense and set up teammates for easy buckets.
The obvious concern here is his height; being under 6 foot might keep him out of the lottery. But I imagine teams choosing in the mid-to-late first round will keep their eyes on Carson.
Converting those individual stats into team wins should help boost his stock this season.
T.J. Warren, North Carolina State, Sophomore, 6'8'', SF
Not that T.J. Warren needed it, but the table has been set for him in 2013-14.
He averaged 12 points on a whopping 62 percent shooting despite playing alongside upperclassmen like Lorenzo Brown, C.J. Leslie and Scott Wood.
His performance speaks volumes about his scoring instincts. With the ability to make shots from all over the floor—stationary or on the move—he finds himself in scoring position whenever he catches the ball.
With a strong, wide frame and 6'8'' size, he has the strength and mobility of an NBA small forward.
He also made 14-of-27 threes as a freshman, showing off some promising touch away from the basket. He isn't a guy who dominates the ball, yet he can still take over games by finishing off plays.
Productive as a freshman in a stacked lineup, Warren should be poised for a big individual season as a sophomore.
Wayne Selden, Kansas, Freshman, 6'5'', SG
Wayne Selden isn't necessarily being recognized with the projected one-and-done incoming freshmen, but that might change once the season gets going.
He's an electric athlete with NBA 2-guard size and strength. He is ridiculously coordinated, which makes him a dynamic and flexible finisher at the rim.
Explosive in the open floor, he is at his best with space around him. He can also separate in the mid-range and knock down jumpers.
There's work to be done with his handle and shot creativity, but if we're talking long-term potential, Selden might have lottery upside.