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2011 NBA Draft: Kyrie Irving and the Top 10 Players from Major Schools

Deion McNairCorrespondent IJune 13, 2011

2011 NBA Draft: Kyrie Irving and the Top 10 Players from Major Schools

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    CHARLOTTE, NC - MARCH 20:  Kyrie Irving #1 of the Duke Blue Devils reacts in the first half while taking on the Michigan Wolverines during the third round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at Time Warner Cable Arena on March 20, 2011 in Charlot
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Kids who attend the major college programs to play basketball want their talent to be seen as much as possible.

    It is how you market yourself to all the NBA teams. The more you're on TV playing well, the more scouts will drool over you when it comes draft time.

    These players attended big schools and have game that screams NBA.

Tristan Thompson

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    NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 18:  Tristan Thompson #13 of the Texas Longhorns drives past Mike Tisdale #54 of the Illinois Fighting Illini during the 2k Sports Classic at Madison Square Garden on November 18, 2010 in New York, New York.  (Photo by Chris McGrath/Ge
    Chris McGrath/Getty Images

    Tristan Thompson spent one year at Texas before declaring for this year’s draft. Loaded with potential, he shouldn’t drop any further than the middle of the first round.

    He is a lefty with a 7’5” wingspan who uses it very well. He makes big plays on both ends of the court using his length, energy, and athleticism.

    His hustle down court earns him easy buckets in transition, and he has soft hands that allow him to finish in traffic.

    He does a good job sealing off defenders in the post to give his passers a good target. Long arms and quick feet let him claim a lot of loose balls and disrupt many shots on defense.

Brandon Knight

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    HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 02:  Brandon Knight #12 of the Kentucky Wildcats moves the ball while taking on the Connecticut Huskies during the National Semifinal game of the 2011 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship at Reliant Stadium on April 2, 2011 in
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Brandon Knight is the latest one-and-done point guard for the Kentucky Wildcats. In the NCAA tournament, he led Kentucky to the Final Four with timely plays and clutch shots.

    His quickness allows him to blow by defenders with the first step, and he effectively uses the floater in the lane. He has a quick release and the ball handling to create his own shot.

    One asset Knight has that most players in this draft lack is a consistent three-pointer. If left open, or if he finds a crease, he can be deadly from behind the arc.

    He is an unselfish player and prefers to set his teammates up than to score himself. Displaying maturity for just a freshman, Knight doesn’t turn the ball over much and makes the correct reads most of the time.

Josh Selby

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    LAWRENCE, KS - DECEMBER 29:  Josh Selby #32 of the Kansas Jayhawks in action during the game against the University of Texas Arlington Mavericks on December 29, 2010 at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kansas.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Josh Selby is leaving Kansas after just one year to become an NBA superstar.

    He is predicted to go in the bottom half of the first round but will be a steal for whoever drafts him. His potential is unlimited because of his ability to score the ball, but another year in college would have benefitted him greatly.

    Selby is a good shooter off the dribble and outstanding in the catch-and-shoot. He is one of those J.R Smith-type of players, but with better one-on-one moves. Once Selby gets one shot to fall, three or four more are likely to follow and that is where his energy is derived.

    He isn’t a big player, but he drives the lane fearlessly and with great athleticism. His first step and acceleration keeps defenders behind him once he gets by them.

Derrick Williams

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 12:  Derrick Williams #23 of the Arizona Wildcats reacts in the second half while taking on the Washington Huskies in the championship game of the 2011 Pacific Life Pac-10 Men's Basketball Tournament at Staples Center on March 12,
    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Derrick Williams out of Arizona catapulted himself into the top prospects talk when he single-handedly eliminated Duke in the Sweet 16 of this year’s NCAA tournament.

    Williams has the ability to shoot from distance as well as pound the ball down low. He is extremely athletic with above-average handles for someone his size (6'8", 241 pounds). Naturally, he loves to get out in the open court as he is an explosive finisher at the rim.

    When on the block, he has an array of moves to score the ball and does not shy away from contact. He uses spins, head fakes, and his muscular frame to get defenders off balance. If guarded by a bigger opponent, he can draw them away from the basket, then use his quickness to get around them.

    A capable defender, Williams is known for powerful blocked shots. This may also serve as a weakness, though, as sometimes his aggressiveness gets him in foul trouble.

    He leads by example and gets the best out of his teammates by crashing the boards hard and showing great intensity.

Kemba Walker

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    HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 04:  Kemba Walker #15 of the Connecticut Huskies celebrates with the trophy after defeating the Butler Bulldogs to win the National Championship Game of the 2011 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament by a score of 53-41 at Relian
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Kemba Walker established himself as one of the best players in the NCAA from the very first game of the season, and then he carried UCONN all the way to an NCAA championship.

    Walker’s ball handling is unparalleled in this year’s draft. He is very quick with the ball, can get by defenders at will, and has great change of direction. His speed from end to end makes him scary in transition, as he excels in the open court.  

    He is a smart player who knows when to dominate with his scoring and also when to get his teammates involved. He has drastically improved his shooting and is as consistent a mid-range shooter as you’ll find in the NCAA. Additionally, he is working hard to keep improving his three-pointer.

    Walker absorbs contact when going to the rim and gets to the free-throw line frequently. When going to the rim, though, he keeps his head on a swivel and willingly dishes the ball when the defense collapses.

    Also, he is a pesky defender who plays the passing lanes well.

    Walker is the fiercest competitor in this draft, proven by how he didn’t let UCONN lose any games in tournament play the entire year. His competitiveness and heart will be his best assets in the NBA.

Jordan Hamilton

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    KANSAS CITY, MO - NOVEMBER 23:  Jordan Hamilton #23 of the Texas Longhorns makes a jumpshot against the Iowa Hawkeyes during the CBE Classic semifinal game on November 23, 2009 at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by: Jamie Squire/Getty Image
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Jordan Hamilton, out of Texas, is a strong small forward who can also play shooting guard if necessary. At 6’8” and nearly 230 pounds, he can be a load for shooting guards and small forwards to handle.

    He is good off the catch-and-shoot and possesses a quick release. A credit to his versatility, though, Hamilton is not solely a spot-up shooter; he can take defenders off the dribble and has a nice pull-up jump shot.

    He is a great rebounder as he averaged almost eight rebounds a game last season. Hamilton would thrive best in an up-tempo-style offense because he is a great finisher in the open court.

    He is also a tenacious defender when he commits himself.

Marcus Morris

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    KANSAS CITY, MO - MARCH 12:  Marcus Morris #22 of the Kansas Jayhawks reacts after a dunk against the Texas Longhorns in the second half of the 2011 Phillips 66 Big 12 Men's Basketball Tournament championship game against the Kansas Jayhawks at Sprint Cen
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Marcus Morris has been a standout at Kansas ever since he stepped on campus.

    Marcus is a physical player who spent time playing the 3, 4, and 5 while in college. He is powerful enough to back people down, but savvy enough to use subtle moves to create space when facing the basket.

    He has range to step out to the thee-point line, but is good at taking contact around the rim. He is an explosive finisher who also thrives in pick-and-pop situations.

    Kansas coach Bill Self called Marcus the best all-around player he has ever coached.

Markieff Morris

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    LAWRENCE, KS - FEBRUARY 12:  Markieff Morris #21 of the Kansas Jayhawks slautes the crowd during the game against the Iowa State Cyclones on February 12, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kansas.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Markieff Morris is an efficient player who doesn’t need a lot of minutes to be productive. He only averaged 24 minutes a game at Kansas, but still averaged double digits in points and eight rebounds.

    He is a natural power forward, but does have enough skill to play the small forward position. He shoots more than 40 percent from three-point rang and is excellent in the pick-and-pop.

    He doesn’t demand the ball, which makes him even more dangerous. He plays a smart game and doesn’t force things that aren’t there.

    If he is at the 3 position, he will easily take advantage of a smaller defender on offense and on the boards. If playing the 4, he will cause matchup problems because of his ability to play offense so far away from the basket.

Enes Kanter

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    Enes Kanter from Kentucky may very well be the next superstar center in the NBA. He has the most polished game of all the bigs in this year’s draft.

    He is 6’11”, 260 pounds and has enough strength to push you around but enough skill to outsmart you. He has soft hands, allowing him to secure quick passes and rebounds in traffic.

    He plays with a high motor and doesn’t shy away from contact. He is great on the glass and can score in different ways.

    If you want to go to the post, he will post you up. If he’s a little farther from the basket then he’ll face up and shoot over you. He’s also very good from the free-throw line.

    People who have been around him says he has a great work ethic, which is the first asset you need to become a great player.

Kyrie Irving

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    DURHAM, NC - DECEMBER 01:  Kyrie Irving #1 of the Duke Blue Devils celebrates during their game against the Michigan State Spartans at Cameron Indoor Stadium on December 1, 2010 in Durham, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Duke super-freshman Kyrie Irving became a household name after playing just eight games before missing the rest of the regular season and ACC tournament with a turf toe injury. He would later return to the lineup for the Blue Devils' two NCAA tournament games before they were defeated by Arizona.

    Although visibly a step slower and rusty when he returned, Irving had already done enough to solidify himself as the nation’s best point guard. He has standard size for an NBA point guard and displayed NBA qualities during his brief tenure for the Blue Devils.

    Considered the only pure point guard in the draft, Irving plays an unselfish game but can score at will. He has great change of direction and outstanding handles.

    His playmaking and quickness are his best attributes. He excels in the open court and makes the right decisions in the half court, too.

    Also, Irving isn’t afraid to drive the ball amongst the giants and is a creative finisher.

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