CBB Stars Who Will Be Huge Upgrades in the NBA

Kevin W. RyanContributor IIIMarch 3, 2014

CBB Stars Who Will Be Huge Upgrades in the NBA

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    Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

    The 2014 NBA draft will feature some of the most promising talent since the 2003 NBA draft, when LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Dwayne Wade were all selected with top-five draft picks.

    This loaded draft class is highlighted by freshmen sensations such as Jabari Parker, Andrew Wiggins and Kansas' dual-threat big man, Joel Embiid.

    Here are 10 college hoops stars who will join the NBA and provide an instant impact with their play...enjoy.

2014 Lottery Update

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    Kathy Willens/Associated Press

    According to ESPN Insider Chad Ford, here are the current predictions for who will win the NBA lottery for the 2014 No. 1 overall pick. 

    TeamNo. 1 Pick %
    Milwaukee25.0%
    Philadelphia19.9%
    Orlando15.6%
    Boston11.9%
    LA Lakers8.8%
    Utah6.3%
    Eight teams at less than 5.0%

Noah Vonleh, Indiana (Forward)

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    Eric Francis/Getty Images

    Though the famed Indiana Hoosiers are unranked this season, they are 13th in the nation in rebounding, and that is largely because of freshman forward Noah Vonleh.

    Vonleh will find plenty of playing time in the NBA with his 6'10" frame at power forward. The future All-Star has impressed NBA scouts in 2014 with his consistent post play—vaulting himself into the conversation as the most elite rebounder in the upcoming NBA draft class. 

    Whether the Hoosiers can land a berth in the Sweet 16 or not, freshman sensation Vonleh is a lock for a lottery pick in the 2014 NBA draft.

Rodney Hood, Duke (Forward)

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    Duke sophomore Rodney Hood is one of the most underrated players in the upcoming draft. 

    Though Hood has spent the majority of the 2014 season playing behind Duke freshman sensation Jabari Parker, the Meridian, Miss., native has established himself as a consistent scoring threat. 

    Hood is currently averaging 16.3 points per game, and more importantly, some of his most impressive scoring performances have come during Duke's toughest games—against teams such as No. 4 Arizona and most recently No. 1 Syracuse.

Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State (Guard)

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    Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

    Oklahoma State point guard Marcus Smart should "definitely" be in the NBA—according to NBA superstar Kevin Durant, per Eric Prisbell of USA Today (h/t ESPN.com).

    While Smart possesses the capabilities of a true leader, from his passing and scoring to blocking and rebounding, the incredibly athletic guard will surely have a significant impact once he enters the NBA. 

    Unfortunately, Smart has been receiving national attention lately not for his game, but rather for his negative behavior during the midst of a seven-game losing streak. 

    He's just 19 years of age and carries one of the most natural basketball skills at the college level—not to mention his build is something like that of a Greek god statue. Once the future star reaches the NBA, he will continue to mature as a professional along with his game.

Jabari Parker, Duke (Forward)

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    Gerry Broome/Associated Press

    Chicago's Jabari Parker has been on the radar of NBA scouts long before starting his freshman campaign with Mike Krzyzewski's Blue Devils.

    Parker has an incredibly loaded arsenal of natural talent for any level of the game. 

    Though this campaign at Duke is merely just a pit stop for Parker on his journey to million-dollar endorsements and NBA stardom, the Blue Devils forward can join fellow future NBA superstar and Duke teammate Rodney Hood to bring another Final Four bid to Coach K's incredible resume. 

    College basketball fans just have to hope they get another chance to see Parker face off with the No. 1 recruit of his high school class—Andrew Wiggins.

Andrew Wiggins, Kansas (Forward)

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    Orlin Wagner/Associated Press

    Kansas freshman Andrew Wiggins has already locked himself in as a lottery-pick candidate, and the 6'8" superstar will likely land a starting role as soon as he joins the NBA. 

    The explosive offensive machine is currently averaging 16.3 points per game for the Jayhawks, and he will look to lead the nation's No. 8-ranked squad to the Final Four before he departs for the NBA. 

    Wiggins brings unmatched quickness and a remarkably smooth all-around offensive game—a double threat that scouts have been salivating over since he was in high school.

Aaron Gordon, Arizona (Forward)

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    Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

    Freshman sensation Aaron Gordon played a major role in leading Arizona to a 21-0 start.

    The Wildcats are still a perfect 20-0 at home, backed by an impressive victory over No. 6 Duke in November, and after polishing off their three remaining games against Pac-12 rivals, Aaron Gordon's Wildcats will land a No. 1-seed in the March Madness tournament. 

    Gordon is without a doubt one of the most explosive basketball players in recent college basketball history, and his above-the-rim talent has the potential to continue the growing trend of Lob City.

    While he may not land himself a lottery pick in the 2014 draft, there is no doubt Gordon will have an instant impact when he is selected to the NBA.

Joel Embiid, Kansas (Center)

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    Orlin Wagner/Associated Press

    Kansas Jayhawks center Joel Embiid is an incredibly athletic 7-footer averaging 11.2 points and 8.1 rebounds per game. 

    Though Embiid is just a freshman, the Yaounde, Cameroon, native has been budding into an NBA superstar even since his first organized basketball game at the age of 16. 

    Embiid's backstory rivals that of one of the greatest big men to ever play in the NBA—Hakeem "The Dream" Olajuwon. 

    Gifted with a killer combination of length and athletic fluidity, Embiid will surely be taken with one of the first five picks of the 2014 NBA draft.

Doug McDermott, Creighton (Forward)

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    Eric Francis/Getty Images

    Creighton's Doug McDermott has outperformed all expectations for this season by leading the nation in scoring (26 points per game).

    From a statistical standpoint, there is no debating that Doug McDermott is one of the greatest college basketball players ever. 

    McDermott has led the Bluejays to two dominating wins against their only ranked opponent—a 28-point victory in January followed by a 21-point victory in February over the same ranked Villanova squad. 

    McDermott might not have an immediate impact crashing the boards against NBA talent like Roy Hibbert and Dwight Howard; however, his efficient scoring has been a consistent strength since he shared a high school team with Golden State Warriors forward Harrison Barnes.

Tyler Ennis, Syracuse (Guard)

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    Syracuse's Tyler Ennis established himself as one of the best point guards in college basketball before he started receiving calls from United States of America Vice President Joe Biden. 

    Ennis drained an incredibly smooth 35-foot three-pointer to sink No. 25 Pittsburgh and keep his Syracuse Orange unbeaten in February. 

    Though Syracuse eventually fell following the heroic shot, Ennis will look to help carry the No. 4-ranked Orange to a Final Four berth in an effort to boost his draft stock and land himself a lottery pick in the 2014 NBA draft.

Julius Randle, Kentucky (Forward)

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    Butch Dill/Associated Press

    Kentucky freshman Julius Randle leads John Calipari's Wildcats in both points and rebounds per game this season (15.5 and 10.4, respectively), and his consistent numbers are sure to land him a lottery pick in the 2014 NBA draft. 

    With an impressive 6'9" build, Randle has established himself as a pure double-double machine.

    The Dallas, Texas, native has recorded 14 double-doubles (in points and rebounds) in his 27 games for Kentucky this season.