NBA Draft 2010: Don't Forget About These 10 Seniors
College seniors are still eligible for the NBA Draft?
You wouldn't know it this year. Some mock drafts have excluded seniors from the first round altogether, while most don't let seniors join the party until after the top 20 picks.
But, these kids worked hard in their four years to get to this moment. They shouldn't be forgotten about.
The majority will be selected in the second round, but a few have a chance to sneak into the first.
And perhaps most importantly, they all have the chance to make an immediate impact regardless of where they are drafted.
No. 10: Jerome Jordan
The NBA loves them some big man.
Jerome Jordan is a 7'0 monster from Jamaica. Like many big men before him he's extremely raw. He didn't start playing organized ball until late in his youth, and used all four years in college to continue developing.
Based on size he was able to average 15.4 PPG and 9.1 RPG in his final season at Tulsa.
Jordan was able to consistently score in most games last year, and showed marked improvement year after year at school. He started developing a mid-range jumper to accompany his game and diversify his offensive portfolio.
Jordan is a decent free throw shooter for a big man, and as his midrange game improves,\ so should his game at the line.
As a defender, Jordan needs to add a lot of strength for the NBA. Yet,\ he continues to show a willingness to improve in every area. Last season, he blocked 2.3 shots per game and continued to improve his body control to prevent foul trouble.
While most big men aged 23 would have hit their developmental peak, he is still adding to his game.
Look for Jordan to be taken early second round. Don't expect to hear his name spoken in the NBA for his first year, but Jordan will arrive on the scene the year after.
No. 9: Aubrey Coleman
There has only been one Aubrey to ever play in the NBA, Aubrey Davis in 1946-47.
Now, there will be two.
Aubrey Coleman may not be drafted, but he should be. Coleman has the work ethic, passion, and skills on both ends to make a roster.
Coleman averaged 25.6 PPG last season, leading the NCAA in scoring.
To get that point though, Coleman took an unconventional path. He was not a fan of organized basketball and had to hone his skills in junior college before heading to Houston.
He helped prove himself by leading the Cougars to an improbable NCAA Tourney bid. Coleman has a knack for finding the hoop and relentlessly attacks defenses.
Aubrey is not the greatest shooter, but also took an extremely high volume of shots for his team last season. Part of his problem is shot selection and a structured offense. Neither of those he had to worry about in college, that will change in the pros.
He is slightly undersized for the shooting guard position at 6'2 (he was listed 6'4 in college), yet averaged just under 8.0 RPG in his college career.
Coleman's ability to find the ball and take advantage of opportunities will aid him in his quest for the NBA. His three-point shooting lacks a bit, but improved last year. With enough work it can continue to prove.
On the defensive end, Coleman may be better than what he provides on offense. He is a more disciplined player on the defensive end, has solid length for a guard, and the speed to keep up with opponents.
Coleman averaged 2.7 SPG last season, and only 2.2 fouls in 36.9 minutes per game. He always plays with high intensity and a keen focus on shutting down the opposition.
With his defense and rebounding to accompany the explosive potential to score on offense, Coleman will surprise some.
Expect him to be taken in the late second round. He is the type of player a coach would love to take on as a project, and some time in the NBDL will continue to sharpen his developing skills.
Don't be surprised to see Aubrey Davis has another Aubrey to join him in the NBA record books.
No. 8: Lazar Hayward
That's one word that can describe 6'6" Lazar Hayward.
Last season, Hayward played completely out of position at the power forward position and sometimes at center.
He was on a Marquette team with a very undersized lineup and needed to play any position possible to help.
With a wingspan just short of 7'1" and great strength for a player his size, Hayward flourished in the role. He averaged 18.1 PPG and 7.5 RPG.
Hayward can post up, had great range shooting the ball, and can work his way into the paint to finish. He has a very nice release and can get the ball off quickly. He also is not afraid to take a clutch shot.
Hayward also displayed solid defense against many of the bigger players he faced. He averaged 1.9 SPG last season, and maintained good post position against the bigger bodies thrown at him.
In the NBA, he won't be matched up against big men in the same way he was in college. Hayward needs to improve his perimeter defense and quickness to keep up with those at small forward.
With a combination of strength, shooting, and hard-working mentality, Hayward should find himself able to create a nice niche on an NBA roster.
There have been many undersized and out of position players to enter the NBA the past few years. Hayward will join them by being selected in the second round.
Look for him to be able to help a team immediately and surprise a few folks who passed on him.
No. 7: Mikhail Torrance
Like so many players entering the NBA these days, Mikhail Torrance is a combo guard.
But, he should be able to flourish in the role just like he did in college.
Torrance has a solid ability to score and run a team. His 6'5" size is a big advantage heading into this year's draft and for guards overall. With an ability to handle the rock, he can expose smaller defenders.
He often chose team first last year when running the point, which was a smart move on his part. He averaged 15.6 PPG, 5.1 APG, and shot 47 percent from the field.
His passing is above average and can hit teammates when the defense isn't in position.
He has decent range shooting with 36 percent from three-point range last year, and converts free throws regularly at 86.5 percent. He is able to draw contact quite often and uses that to offset poor shooting nights. When he is on he can hit anything. When he is off he'd miss the ocean.
He is also known for predictable moves on offense and struggles to finish with his right hand.
Torrance's size and athleticism allows him to defend well, but he could use some improvement in that area. He isn't always an aggressive defender, and there are times players can get to the hoop on him with ease.
Look for him to go early second round and have his skills honed through coaching. Torrance will see an NBA floor this year and may surprise those who aren't familiar with the former Alabama star.
No. 6: Stanley Robinson
Stanley Robinson is an enigma.
At 6'8" this athletic beast has shown flashes of potential that no other senior can.
Robinson's explosive leaping ability, speed, and length have had NBA scouts drooling for years. Yet, something seems to always be missing with him.
He has been inconsistent throughout his career with issues pertaining to focus and his basketball IQ. Robinson is not a good ball handler, and knows his athleticism will always give him a chance to catch on somewhere.
He averaged 14.5 PPG and is a good finisher when he reaches the hoop. He is a fantastic offensive rebounder who can time bounces off the rim nicely.
Robinson shot 54 percent from the floor last year and played within his offensive comfort zone. He is willing to step out and take a three-pointer, but until he polishes his shot that will be ill-advised in the NBA.
As for his defense, this may be his most attractive feature.
He has great length and speed to defend NBA players at multiple positions. Stanley can give solid help side defense and knows how to time blocks. If he can remain focused on the defensive end he can be a good asset.
His consistency did improve from years past. And Robinson has a chance to go in the first round on potential alone. Coaches at all levels like to think they could solve the puzzle of certain players.
Robinson will most likely fall to the top of the second round. Don't expect to hear his name much in the NBA next year because he can no longer get by on his athleticism at the top level.
But if put in the correct situation Robinson could very well develop a solid consistent game off the bench.
No. 5: Greivis Vasquez
Some players just have that little something that can't be explained.
Greivis Vasquez is one of those players.
Not the fastest player, best shooter, or most exceptional athlete; he just knows how to play the game.
Vasquez has excellent court vision and knows how to get himself or his teammates to the hoop. He averaged 19.6 PPG to go along with 6.3 APG. Playing point guard at 6'6" he can rip down rebounds (4.6 per game) and see over defenders with ease.
The Venezuelan is a consistent scorer and shoots the ball well from behind the three-point line at 3 percent%.
He is very good at coming off of screens or running the point. This versatility will allow coaches in the NBA to utilize him in different ways.
Vazquez has shown an intense style of play that sometimes rubs people the wrong way. But it's one of his best features. Greivis has no fear on the court and will make the big play in times of need.
Sometimes he struggles against physical defenders, but with more spacing in the NBA he should be able to take advantage.
On defense Vazquez averaged 1.7 steals per game and only 2.1 fouls. He isn't the most physical defender, but plays aggressive defense and can stay in front of his man without fouling.
He may be irritating to those who faced him or even at times for those cheering for him, but this kid can play.
Expect him to go second round, but make a team with his passionate play and earn himself some NBA playing time.
No. 4: Jarvis Varnado
For Jarvis Varnado, it's all about timing.
Varnado worked his way through four years of college to become the all-time shot blocker in NCAA history.
He enters the draft mainly as a defensive specialist. Varnado rebounds extremely well, times his blocks out perfectly, and has the passion needed for being a defensive stalwart at this level.
Through his college years, he erased his tendency to foul and became a great visual defender, knowing the perfect time to help.
His rebounding skills are a key part of his game as well. His jumping ability and athleticism help give him an edge, even over bigger opponents. Varnado has great length and great hands to grab the ball.
As for his offensive part of the game, it begins with rebounding as well. He is not the best player on offense, but is better than people give him credit for. His three offensive rebounds per game lead to many put-backs and tip-ins.
Varnado can catch the ball well down low and won't fumble it around, unlike many NBA players who are known specifically for defense.
While he doesn't have a good jumper, he averaged 13.8 PPG and shot 58 percent. When put in the right situation, Varnado will succeed on offense.
He will be passed on by all teams with a first round selection. But whoever is able to grab him in the second round should be very excited. Varnado will provide defense, energy, and explosive put-back dunks that will ignite the team and crowd.
No. 3: Trevor Booker
Trevor Booker finds himself in the same boat as many other seniors this year.
He is undersized for where he is used to playing.
At 6'7", Booker can and did play the big man role at Clemson. In the NBA he can no longer perform at center.
Booker averaged 15.2 PPG and 8.4 RPG in his senior year, while using a variety of offensive skills to score. He can post up on defenders, shoot a decent midrange jumper and handles the ball well. He also has a knack for offensive rebounds.
He possesses great athleticism and hops that allow him to get over defenders.
Booker also matches his offensive game with a high intensity defensive effort.
In his college career, Booker averaged 1.1 SPG and 1.9 BPG over all four years. He's always high intensity on the defensive end and controls his body well while defending.
He will need to play more of the power forward position in the NBA, but expect him to be just fine.
Booker may sneak into the late first round, but if not some team will get a steal to start the second. He will be able to come in and help immediately, using his size and speed to catch unsuspecting defenders off guard.
No. 2: Damion James
Damion James to many is the top NBA prospect of the previous year's senior class.
James possesses the perfect combination of athleticism and speed to play well in the NBA. Those same characteristics allowed him to be one of the best college basketball players last season.
He is an aggressive scorer and rebounder who averaged 18 PPG and 10.3 RPG last year. He shot above 50 percent last year and showed solid range with 38 percent shooting from beyond the arc. He can hit the midrange jumper and finds holes in the defense, something with NBA spacing he should be able to take even more advantage of.
James also has a 7'0 wingspan that allows a high release and an extra weapon in ripping down offensive rebounds.
Like many of the other seniors, James possesses a high motor and willingness to improve to succeed at the next level.
For defense, his wingspan also helps a lot. His athleticism all ready allows him to keep up with players, but his length opens up the ability to guard multiple positions. He has solid strength to accompany the length and knows how to position himself well on the defensive end.
During his senior season, James averaged 1.7 steals and 1.2 blocks per game.
He is currently stuck in between positions. He lacks great ball handling skills and sometimes finds himself making poor decisions. James is not a great free throw shooter, but is able to find himself at the line a decent amount.
If he improves his FTs, his overall game will benefit tremendously.
Look for James to be the first senior off the board. If he is selected by a team with a solid coaching staff James can be put in a good situation to succeed.
No. 1: Quincy Pondexter
Quincy Pondexter simply gets the job done.
Normally when people say a player is a hard worker and hustles a lot, they are trying to compensate for the lack of talent. In Pondexter's case, he combines both.
At 6'6", he has the perfect body type for a small forward in the NBA. He's an all around player who encompasses both offense and defense with his style of play.
He can cut to the basket for a strong finish or shoot a solid midrange jumper, including the occasional three-pointer.
Pondy averaged 19.3 ppg last year and did it shooting 52.8% from the field. When he chose to stretch the defense, his 35.3 percent from three-point range wasn't bad either.
He averaged about 13 shots and got to the line a little over six times per game. He was able to convert there too with a 82.7 percent FT shooting.
Pondexter can score in bunches when needed and was quite consistent through most the year.
Quincy also ripped down 7.4 boards per game with 11 double-doubles on the year. He grabbed about three offensive rpg and always seemed to know where to be for the ball.
And that was just the offensive side of his game. Perhaps his best quality and the reason he is number one here, defense.
Statistically, his 1.3 steals with only 2.5 fouls in 32 minutes per game just barely shine the light on the type of defender he can be.
He has the athleticism to guard the small forward spot and strength not to get backed down underneath. He has a knack for defensive positioning and communicates well with teammates.
Add in his hustle and the defensive intensity refuses to let up.
His four years at Washington helped him mature, develop wisdom for the game, and become a leader. Pondexter is ready to step onto an NBA court and help instantly.
QP will be one of the rare senior first-round selections, and the team who picks him may very well have the steal of the draft.