Kansas Jayhawks Basketball: NBA Prospects on 2012-13 Roster

Andrew Doughty@adoughty88Correspondent IIOctober 24, 2012

Kansas Jayhawks Basketball: NBA Prospects on 2012-13 Roster

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    Kansas head coach Bill Self might not be running the NBA prospect factory that John Calipari is in Lexington, but Self has an excellent track record for developing young talent.

    Dozens of Jayhawks have seen little or no playing time during their early days in Lawrence only to later hear their name called in June.

    The all-around games of big men Thomas Robinson, Cole Aldrich, Marcus and Markieff Morris were all significantly developed under Self and his current staff (including the recently departed Danny Manning). 

    Each of those future 1st round draft picks arrived on campus as highly regarded recruits, and while the NBA potential existed, enormous holes in their future development remained. 

    With one of the deepest classes in Kansas basketball history in 2012 and a trio of savvy veterans that watched previous starters win multiple Big 12 championships, Bill Self's 2012-13 squad not only has a chance for a return trip to the Final Four, but also contains a plethora of NBA prospects.

Andrew White

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    Andrew White

    Draft Year: 2015 or 2016

    Projected: Late 1st Round

    The No. 51 ranked recruit by Rivals, Andrew White brings a lights-out shooting touch to the perimeter. 

    While his shooting attracted the elite programs, his aggressive penetration and exceptional decision-making when double teamed will be the complimentary asset most outside shooters lack.

    White's game has been compared to that of Ray Allen and Kansas alum Mario Chalmers, leaving Kansas fans excited. 

    Assuming he picks up a few defensive tricks from senior Travis Releford and improves his inside game, White could vault into the 1st round by 2015, but he'll likely play out all four years.

Elijah Johnson

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    Elijah Johnson

    Draft Year: 2013

    Projected: Early 2nd Round

    Bill Self called senior Elijah Johnson (a member of a loaded 2009 class) one of the most athletic players he has ever courted to Kansas. 

    Johnson waited patiently behind Sherron Collins, Tyshawn Taylor, and other upperclassmen but reiterated his desire to remain a Jayhawk for four years despite intrigue from other programs.

    Without a true point guard expecting to receive big minutes after Taylor departed via graduation, Johnson will likely handle those duties. 

    A wildly improved outside shot last season and adequate perimeter aggressiveness on the defensive end finally allowed fans to see what Self had preached three years earlier.

    Johnson has the biggest opportunity to improve his draft stock this season but could find himself undrafted if he does not develop his all-around game on both ends. 

Perry Ellis

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    Perry Ellis

    Draft Year: 2014 or 2015

    Projected: Late Lottery

    Anyone else feel like Perry Ellis has been waiting in the wings for years as a hardworking underclassmen ready to receive big minutes?

    Self recruited the Wichita native hard for nearly his entire high school career and when Ellis finally signed his LOI in September 2011, Jayhawk fans had a lot to be excited about. 

    With similar size to the Morris twins but with better quickness and versatility, Ellis might play like former Jayhawk Julian Wright, with a slightly better inside-outside game.

    The jury is still out on Ellis' NBA future and the loss of Danny Manning has spurred further questions, but Ellis is potentially one of the best pound-for-pound big men in the conference as he can match up with nearly anyone.

    Look for Perry Ellis to play a prominent role in Self's offense and become a late lottery selection after his sophomore or junior season.

Travis Releford

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    Travis Releford

    Draft Year: 2013

    Projected: Late 2nd Round - Undrafted

    Senior small forward Travis Releford might have made the 1st team all-underrated list last season (if such an honor existed), but the KU coaching staff knows how valuable he is on both ends of the court. 

    An efficient offensive playmaker with excellent decision-making on the perimeter, Releford can hit the open three when Withey gets double-teamed or slash into the lane around an over-aggressive and undersized 2-guard.

    As one of the best defensive players in the country, he can cover nearly anyone and almost always receives the daunting task of defending the elite Big 12 playmakers. 

    Odds are Releford will not be selected in next year's NBA draft but should land a much deserved opportunity as a role player with a title-contending NBA team.

Ben McLemore

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    Ben McLemore

    Draft Year: 2013

    Projected: High Lottery

    As badly as Jayhawk fans would like to convince themselves that St. Louis native Ben McLemore will be a cornerstone in Bill Self's high-low offense for at least two seasons, it is highly unlikely.

    It's unclear how much a season without game action will impact his development, but the extra year on campus and six months of practice time should make up for a significant amount of the lost minutes. 

    Ben McLemore is projected as high as a top 3 selection by some scouting services but should comfortably land somewhere in the lottery of the 2013 NBA Draft.

Jeff Withey

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    Jeff Withey

    Year: 2013

    Projected: Late Lottery - Late First Round

    No one outside his hometown of San Diego, former college town of Tucson, and the Kansas basketball fanbase had heard of seven-footer Jeff Withey before last season. 

    He was relatively unknown to the college basketball world, and even those that watched could offer little encouragement on his offensive consistency and defensive aggressiveness. 

    Following a few breakout conference games, Withey became a household name and took advantage of double and triple teams on Thomas Robinson, regularly forcing teams to play a deep zone down low.

    Anthony Davis received the accolades and national title ring but Withey was actually the most efficient shot blocker in 2011-12, setting the NCAA tournament record along the way.

    With a high demand placed on true 7-foot centers who contain good quickness and timely aggressiveness in the NBA, Withey needs a start to finish consistent season to become a late lottery selection.


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    Rio Adams

    Year: 2016

    Projected: Late First Round

    Jamari Traylor

    Year: 2016

    Projected: Early-mid Second Round

    Zach Peters

    Year: 2016

    Projected: Mid-late Second Round

    Naadir Tharpe

    Year: 2015

    Projected: Late Second Round - Undrafted

    Landen Lucas

    Year: 2016

    Projected: Late Second Round - Undrafted