Strengths and Weaknesses for Every Player in the 2014 Jordan Brand Classic

Kerry Miller@@kerrancejamesCollege Basketball National AnalystApril 17, 2014

Strengths and Weaknesses for Every Player in the 2014 Jordan Brand Classic

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    Justin Jackson (left) and Jahlil Okafor (right) sharing the honors as co-MVPs of the McDonald's All-American Game
    Justin Jackson (left) and Jahlil Okafor (right) sharing the honors as co-MVPs of the McDonald's All-American GameJonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    On Friday night, 26 of the nation's highest-rated high school seniors will be taking part in the Jordan Brand Classic in Brooklyn, N.Y. In advance of the big game, we're taking a look at the strengths and weaknesses of each of the players on the roster, and attempting to forecast what role they will play in the 2014-15 season.

    If you're not familiar with the Jordan Brand Classic, it's essentially the younger brother of the McDonald's All-American Game. The latter has been played every year since 1979, but the Jordan Brand Classic has only been around since 2002.

    The game will feature a lot of the same players, though. Of the 26 names on the rosters for Friday night's game, 21 also competed in the McDonald's All-American game. These are the best of the best when it comes to next year's freshmen.

    If you're curious which young players will be dragging out "Should I stay or should I go to the NBA?" decisions next April after just one year in school, look no further.

    The following slides are listed in ascending order of the player's average rank from 247Sports, ESPN, Rivals and ScoutHoops.

L.J. Peak, Georgetown

1 of 26

    Composite rank: 62.3

    Strength: Sheer athleticism

    Weakness: Ball-handling

    Projected role on team

    Peak will be a bit of a tweener at the collegiate level.

    Nowadays, it's hardly uncommon to see a 6'7" or 6'8" shooting guard, but Peak's "natural" position is small forwardeven though he's only 6'5".

    His jump shot has improved by leaps and bounds during his time in high school, so he will likely settle into the type of role that Nick Johnson played for Arizona. While his preferred method of scoring is slashing to the rim, opponents will need to respect his three-point shooting abilitywhich should, in turn, open up more slashing opportunities.

    Whether you call him a shooting guard or a small forward, Peak will spend a lot of time on the perimeter with Jabril Trawick and D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera.

    Along with highly rated Isaac Copeland and Paul White, Georgetown shouldn't have any difficulty making the NCAA tournament in 2015.

Reid Travis, Stanford

2 of 26

    Composite rank: 35.8

    Strength: Rebounding

    Weakness: Fundamentals

    Projected role on team

    Travis puts the "power" in power forward.

    At 6'8" and 240 pounds, he's just a hair smaller than Julius Randle. We all saw how well he played as a freshman at Kentucky.

    But Randle was much more polished by the time he got to college than Travis will be. Travis can muscle the opposition into submission when he gets the ball in the paint. But if he's further than six feet from the hoop on either end of the court, he doesn't know what to do. If he can improve both his ball-handling and footwork, he'll be a star.

    As far as his role at Stanford is concerned, Travis will be expected to become Dwight Powell 2.0. He won't take nearly as many mid-range jumpers as Powell did, but he'll be similar in the sense that the interior offense will need to run through him in order to be successful.

    Don't be surprised, though, if he develops a Dennis Rodman type of game, averaging considerably more rebounds than points per contest. Travis has a nose for the ball and a body that no one will want to crash into while fighting for a loose ball.

Kameron Chatman, Michigan

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    Composite rank: 30.8

    Strength: Rebounding

    Weakness: Shooting

    Projected role on team

    It's tough to say where Chatman will end up playing, because most scouts seem to think he isn't done growing yet.

    Of course, players who fall somewhere between a shooting guard and a power forward are right in John Beilein's wheelhouse. Zak Irvin, Caris LeVert, Glenn Robinson III and Nik Stauskas are all in the 6'6", 200-pound range and did the bulk of the scoring for the Wolverines this past season.

    Based on the amount of turnover from last year's roster, thoughRobinson and Stauskas are leaving for the NBA, Jordan Morgan is graduating and Jon Horford is transferringChatman figures to fit in as a stretch 4 in Ann Arbor.

    Finding some consistency with his long-range shot will be key to his success. He is an excellent rebounder and has great court vision, but the southpaw's jump shot can be pretty hit-or-miss. If he can become a reliable three-point threat, however, it'll help open up the court for the rest of the team to excel.

Grayson Allen, Duke

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    Composite rank: 30.3

    Strength: Three-point shooting

    Weakness: Defense

    Projected role on team

    If there is a J.J. Redick clone in this year's recruiting class, it only makes sense that he should be going to Duke.

    Allen is an impeccable scorer. Three-point shooting is his bread and butter, but as he showed by winning the McDonald's All-American slam dunk contest, you can't very well get right up in his face and let him drive past you to the bucket.

    The real question, though, is whether or not he will be assertive enough to make it happen as a freshman. Duke's backcourt is beyond loaded, and one of the biggest knocks on Allen's game is that he plays too unselfishly.

    He doesn't need to average a field-goal attempt for every 2.4 minutes on the court like Andre Dawkins did this past season, but he can't take the Tyler Thornton approach and average one shot for every 10 minutes, either. And with all the talent that Duke will have this year, he'll need to want to shoot in order to actually get to take shots.

    As a starter in the McDonald's All-American Game, Allen played 17 minutes and only attempted six field goals. Hopefully he shows a bit more aggression in the Jordan Brand Classic.

Shaqquan Aaron, Louisville

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    Composite rank: 29.5

    Strength: Ball-handling

    Weakness: Strength

    Projected role on team

    Louisville didn't have a true point guard last season, but the Cardinals could be adding a point forward this summer.

    Aaron is a 6'7", 175-pound small forward. His height gives him great court vision, but his weight keeps him from being much of a rebounder or a post presence.

    Even if he isn't the one who brings the ball down the court, he'll be a primary ball-handler on the perimeter. He is an excellent passer and a gifted scorer in a variety of ways. He has a great pull-up jumper and is improving as a three-point shooter. He can also finish at the rim with the best of them.

    He'll likely take Luke Hancock's spot in the starting lineup, but trying to make him a spot-up shooter like Hancock wouldn't make any sense, because it nullifies the bulk of his talents as a floor general. We'll see whether he becomes Rick Pitino's version of UCLA's Kyle Anderson.

Tyler Ulis, Kentucky

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    Composite rank: 29.0

    Strength: Quickness

    Weakness: Strength

    Projected role on team

    Ulis' role at Kentucky remains very much TBD as we wait to find out whether the Harrison twins will declare for the NBA.

    No matter what, he'll be a point guard. It's just a question of whether he plays 10 minutes or 35 minutes per game.

    Ulis is like a miniature Chris Paul, with severe emphasis on the word "miniature." He isn't quite as small as Muggsy Bogues (5'3"), but he's only 5'9" and 150 pounds. Most eighth-graders are bigger than him.

    But there's no question that he can ball. Ulis is quicker and shiftier than the vast majority of point guards that he'll face. And despite being a good six inches shorter than just about everyone else on the court, he has incredible vision to find open teammates while slashing to the hoop.

    Arizona State's Jahii Carson is 5'10" and 180 pounds, and he averaged about 18.5 points and 5.0 assists per game during his two years with the Sun Devils. Ulis won't be asked to shoot anywhere near as often as Carson was, but it's worth noting that size isn't always everything.

James Blackmon Jr., Indiana

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    Composite rank: 26.0

    Strength: Three-point shooting

    Weakness: Athleticism

    Projected role on team

    By all accounts, Blackmon is one of the best long-range shooters in this year's class. Leave him open at your own peril.

    But he isn't all that great at getting open or creating his own shot.

    When he's coming off a screen or benefiting from a Yogi Ferrell drive and dish, he'll be one of the deadliest scorers. Blanket him with a quick defender, though, and he can be neutralized pretty easily.

    Indiana has a lot of holes to fill right now, and three-point shooting is definitely one of them. Ferrell is the only returning player who attempted so much as one triple per game last year. As such, Blackmon should start immediately at shooting guard, and he will be expected to carry a good chunk of the scoring load.

Devin Booker, Kentucky

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    Composite rank: 25.5

    Strength: Three-point shooting

    Weakness: Athleticism

    Projected role on team

    Just like James Blackmon Jr. on the previous slide, Booker is an exceptional shooter when he is left open. However, he's not very fast and doesn't do much scoring inside the three-point arc.

    And while we're comparing Booker to players already discussed on previous slides, it bears mentioning that his role as a freshman is just as up in the air as that of Tyler Ulis as we wait to find out if the Harrison twins declare for the NBA.

    (The longer these NBA draft decisions drag out, the more Myles Turner looks like a genius for having still not made an official decision on where he'll play. With the annual logjam of Kentucky players surprisingly coming back for another season, one has to wonder when top recruits will start thinking twice about going to Lexington.)

    Even if there's room for Booker in the starting lineup, he strikes me as the type of guy who will get hot and score 20 or more points in a game about as often as he goes cold and scores eight or less. As a full-time player, he can average 15 points per game. You'll just have to look past a lot of peaks and valleys on his game-by-game line graph to find that average.

Daniel Hamilton, Connecticut

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    Composite rank: 25.5

    Strength: Athleticism

    Weakness: Basketball IQ

    Projected role on team

    If DeAndre Daniels does declare for the NBA, at least Connecticut has Daniel Hamilton coming in to take his place.

    Like Daniels, Hamilton has the length and athleticism to be a big small forward. He doesn't have much in the way of three-point range, but neither did Daniels when he first arrived at Storrs.

    Inside the arc, though, Hamilton is a fantastic scorer. He's fast enough to blow right past you to the rim, and he's quick enough to get off a pull-up jumper before you even realize it's happening. And he's pretty deadly with that mid-range shot, too.

    He's a very confident scorer—sometimes to a fault. Once he makes a couple of shots, he seems to think he won't miss again, and he ends up forcing too many "heat check" shots. As his basketball IQ improves and he learns to take what the flow of the game gives him, he could develop into something really special.

Joel Berry, North Carolina

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    Composite rank: 20.5

    Strength: Decision-making

    Weakness: Shooting

    Projected role on team

    Even with Marcus Paige returning for his junior season, Berry could be North Carolina's starting point guard in November.

    That is, of course, assuming that Paige slides over to shooting guard, since he is the only returning Tar Heel who made more than eight three-pointers this past season. At that point, it's a battle between Berry and Nate Britt for a starting spot in the backcourt.

    That's a battle Berry can definitely win.

    He's a bit on the smaller side (6'0")though nowhere near as small as Tyler Ulisbut he has all of the intangibles that you look for in a point guard. A lot of young point guards force shots or passes, but he seems to have an excellent grip on when each is appropriate.

    Berry is hardly a prolific shooter, though, and he tends to settle for deeper shots more often than he should. He knows when he needs to get a bucket but often struggles to execute on that front. If he can get better at finishing at the rim in college, he'll be one of the nation's best point guards.

Chris McCullough, Syracuse

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    Composite rank: 17.8

    Strength: Potential

    Weakness: Body language

    Projected role on team

    Draft Express compares McCullough to Perry Jones III, which is both a compliment and an insult.

    McCullough has all of the potential in the world. He's a big guy with an even bigger wingspan, and he runs the floor like a gazelle. He can shoot the three and can effortlessly play above the rim.

    However, his give-a-darn has a tendency to be broken. McCullough takes a lot of plays off, especially on the defensive end of the court.

    He seems like a James Michael McAdoo or LaQuinton Ross type of player who will score 15 points and grab six rebounds per game but will frustrate Syracuse fans, who know he's fully capable of averaging 22 and 10.

    As far as his role on the team goes, well, he basically is the team. C.J. Fair is graduating, and Tyler Ennis and Jerami Grant have declared for the draft. If you thought the Orange struggled to score last year, imagine how they'll do now that those three players are taking 60 percent of the team's points to the NBA.

    It'll basically be up to McCullough and Trevor Cooney to do what T.J. Warren and Ralston Turner did this past season for North Carolina State.

Theo Pinson, North Carolina

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    Composite rank: 17.8

    Strength: Instincts

    Weakness: Size

    Projected role on team

    Pinson has the size of a shooting guard, but his perimeter game is a work in progress.

    At 6'6" and 190 pounds, he isn't a great finisher in the paintand that isn't going to get any better as the competition gets bigger. He's good at getting to the rim and subsequently getting to the free-throw line, but he isn't a great finisher against contact.

    He does have an excellent mid-range game, though, and has a great feel for the game. He does a fine job of finding open teammates and plays good, active defense when properly motivated.

    Pinson and J.P. Tokoto play a similar style at the same position. It will be interesting to see which one earns the honor of being Justin Jackson's primary backup.

D'Angelo Russell, Ohio State

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    Composite rank: 16.8

    Strength: Smoothness

    Weakness: Strength

    Projected role on team

    Russell is one of those guys who just seems to glide around the hardwood.

    Whether he's stepping into a passing lane for a steal on defense, driving to the lane for a floater or creating space before setting up an open teammate, everything he does just looks so effortless.

    That's when he's at his best, though. Russell has gotten a label as an inconsistent player who tends to disappear for long stretches of games.

    Then again, Buckeyes fans should be used to a left-handed shooting guard who occasionally fails to make his presence felt for an entire game. They just watched Lenzelle Smith Jr. play for the last four years.

    Even when he isn't scoring, though, Russell is the type of guy who can fill up the box score with more than just points. He and Shannon Scott will be a fun backcourt to watch next season.

Isaiah Whitehead, Seton Hall

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    Composite rank: 13.5

    Strength: Aggressiveness

    Weakness: Catch and shoot

    Projected role on team

    On both ends of the court, Whitehead is a hard-nosed player. Few guards can stop him from getting to the rim, and even fewer guards can get past him on defense.

    Whitehead has been steadily climbing in the recruiting rankings over the past two years and is now a unanimous top-15 talent.

    The only real question is: How will he do at Seton Hall?

    Most of these other top recruits are going to big-name schools with a handful of other guys who have played or will be playing in the Jordan Brand Classic.

    Whitehead won't have that luxury with the Pirates. Particularly with three of last year's top four scorers graduating, he'll be expected to immediately become a key contributor.

    And who even knows what position he'll be asked to play for Seton Hall? Sterling Gibbs figures to have a stranglehold on the point guard position, and Whitehead isn't a great three-point shooterparticularly in catch-and-shoot situations.

    Seton Hall will likely go with a three-guard starting lineup with Whitehead playing the de facto role of small forward. Time will tell how that works out.

Rashad Vaughn, UNLV

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    Composite rank: 12.5

    Strength: Scoring

    Weakness: Shot selection

    Projected role on team

    Vaughn figures to have the type of collegiate career that Cincinnati's Sean Kilpatrick just finished. He's the type of player who should average close to 20 points per game, but it's going to take him 14 or 15 field-goal attempts per contest to get there.

    Vaughn is built like a bull and can get to the rim driving to either his right or his left. But his drive is secondary to his jump shot. He is great at creating his own shot off the dribble. Give too much respect to his driving ability, and he'll drain shots over your outstretched arms all day long.

    He needs to improve his shot selection, though. He isn't going to attempt a dozen three-pointers per game like Marshall Henderson, but he does have some "Russ-diculous" tendencies. Vaughn will definitely be the Rebels' primary scoring threat on the perimeter, but let's hope he doesn't take that too far.

Justise Winslow, Duke

16 of 26

    Composite rank: 11.8

    Strength: Basketball IQ

    Weakness: Shooting

    Projected role on team

    Poor Winslow.

    He's a more consistent jump shot away from being perhaps the top recruit in this year's entire class, but no one seems interested in talking about him.

    When it comes to Duke's recruiting class, it's all about Jahlil Okafor and Tyus Jones, with Grayson Allen getting the "underrated" accolades as a guy soaring up the rankings. Winslow has consistently been a top-10 guy for two years, but he is barely even mentioned since committing to Duke.

    Even worse, if you think we were waiting on pins and needles for Jabari Parker's decision about the NBA draft, imagine how his presumed predecessor felt. If Parker had decided come back, Winslow would have barely even seen the court next year. With Parker leaving, though, Winslow may well be a starter on a potential championship team.

    Regardless of how much he gets to play, Winslow will be a special talent. He simply oozes athleticism and basketball IQ. His jump shot needs some help, but he makes up for it on the other end of the court as arguably the best on-ball defender in this year's class.

Karl Towns Jr., Kentucky

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    Composite rank: 10.3

    Strength: Size

    Weakness: Post play

    Projected role on team

    Towns is one of those rare breeds of giants with exceptional range. At 7'0" tall, it's not uncommon to see him draining shots from beyond the NBA three-point line.

    He is a stronger version of Baylor's Isaiah Austin, but he needs to learn to use that to his advantage. His three-point stroke is a weapon, but it doesn't have to be his only one. If he can get stronger and more reliable in the paintand become a better rebounder in the processhe'll be just about completely unstoppable.

    Unfortunately, with seven-footers Willie Cauley-Stein and Dakari Johnson likely coming back for another year, and 6'10" Trey Lyles coming to Lexington this fall, there's quite a logjam in the paint for the Wildcats.

    It's a terrifying thought for 350 teams, but Towns might actually spend some time at "small forward" for Kentucky this season, playing on the perimeter while two of the other big men patrol the paint. We've seen four or even five guards on the court at any given time for some teams, but when is the last time you saw three centers playing at once?

    If you thought Arizona's three-headed interior threat of Aaron Gordon, Brandon Ashley and Kaleb Tarczewski was an asset last year, you haven't seen anything yet.

Kelly Oubre, Kansas

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    Composite rank: 9.0

    Strength: Athleticism

    Weakness: Consistent shooting

    Projected role on team

    Oubre has more than enough athleticism to play at and above the rim, but he seems perfectly content with jacking up three-pointers left and right.

    This would be wonderful news if he was a more consistent long-range shooter.

    Of the 17 players who attempted at least six field goals in the McDonald's All-American Game, Oubre had the worst shooting percentage. He shot 3-of-13 from the field and was 0-of-5 from three-point range. According to Draft Express, Oubre made just 31 percent of his three-point attempts at Nike EBYL while averaging more than five attempts per game.

    Suffice it to say, Kansas does not want another Elijah Johnson type of free-spirited shooterparticularly considering Oubre is much bigger than Johnson and can get to the rim pretty much whenever he pleases.

    If Bill Self can get Oubre to play like more of a forward who occasionally steps out for threes and less like a guard who lives on the perimeter, he could be the primary cog in a machine looking to advance further than the round of 32 this year.

Justin Jackson, North Carolina

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    Composite rank: 9.0

    Strength: Mid-range game

    Weakness: Athleticism

    Projected role on team

    The biggest knock on Jackson when scouts first started evaluating him was his strength. Two years ago, he was 6'7" and only weighed 175 pounds.

    Now, he's 6'8" and weighs a shade over 200 pounds. That's still a little on the light side for someone that tall, but he doesn't have quite the wiry frame that he used to.

    Concerns about his ability to finish in the paint are pretty much gone, considering he led all scorers with 23 points in the McDonald's All-American Game. Jackson has a great shooting stroke, and he especially excels at those mid-range jump shots that we wish Jabari Parker and Aaron Gordon could have made with any degree of consistency this past season.

    Jackson is a smart, gifted basketball player, but he isn't overwhelmingly athletic. He'll get beaten off the dribble on defense and may struggle to return the favor on offense. Give him space and he'll destroy you, but he'll occasionally have trouble against teams who play physically against him.

    It's tough to say where he'll fit in with the Tar Heels next season. Between Jackson, Theo Pinson, J.P. Tokoto and Brice Johnson, North Carolina's cup of small forwards runneth over. I would guess Joel James and Kennedy Meeks each plays about 50 percent of the time at "center" while Jackson and Johnson start at the two forward positions, but we shall see.

Trey Lyles, Kentucky

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    Composite rank: 7.5

    Strength: Post play

    Weakness: Explosiveness

    Projected role on team

    One of the first things that ESPN's scouting report (subscription required) says about Lyles is that "He reminds you of a young Tim Duncan offensively."

    Granted, scouts flippantly throw around comparisons to LeBron James and Kevin Durant all the time, but it's not hard to see his similarities to one of the greatest power forwards in the history of the NBA. Lyles' ability to face up on the baseline or at the elbow is a thing of beauty, and he has exceptional moves and countermoves in the paint.

    In addition to his silky smooth mid-range jumper, one of the other ways in which he is similar to Duncan is that he plays that old-man style of basketball.

    Perhaps a more appropriate comparison for Lyles would be Adreian Payne, since both Lyles and Payne are more than capable of hitting the occasional three-pointer. They both also simply appear to be playing in slow motion. That's hardly a bad thing, but it's worth noting that he isn't going to blow by many people on his way to the rim.

    We'll see how much playing time Lyles actually gets in his freshman season. Between Dakari Johnson, Willie Cauley-Stein, Marcus Lee, Karl Towns Jr. and Alex Poythress, Kentucky won't have very many big-man minutes to distribute.

Stanley Johnson, Arizona

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    Composite rank: 5.8

    Strength: Strength

    Weakness: Perimeter play

    Projected role on team

    Johnson is arguably the most complete package in this year's recruiting class.

    He is an exceptional defender and rebounder. He has defended every position in high school and will have no problem guarding anything between shooting guard and power forward at the collegiate level. He has the size to contest a ton of shots, the strength to keep opponents from getting where they want to go, and the quickness and court vision to jump into passing lanes.

    On the offensive end of the court, he will get to both the rim and the free-throw line with regularity. Johnson is a very aggressive, competitive player. As long as he doesn't fall in love with his inconsistent three-point shot, he'll earn first-team All-Pac-12 honors this season with room to spare.

    With both Nick Johnson and Aaron Gordon departing early for the NBA, Stanley Johnson could easily lead Arizona in points, rebounds, blocks and steals as a freshman.

Tyus Jones, Duke

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    Composite rank: 4.5

    Strength: Court vision

    Weakness: Defense

    Projected role on team

    Simply put, Jones is a magician with the ball in his hands.

    He may not quite match Jason Brickman's 10 assists per game for LIU-Brooklyn this past season, but he'll almost certainly finish in the top five in the nation thanks to a handful of point-assist double-doubles.

    Every team of all-stars needs that point guard who can facilitate the offense without forcing too many shots of his own. Last year, Arizona had T.J. McConnell, and Syracuse and Kentucky played much better when getting more assists and fewer field-goal attempts from Tyler Ennis and Andrew Harrison, respectively.

    Even Duke was much better when Quinn Cook was more of a point guard who occasionally scored as opposed to a shooting guard who occasionally distributed the ball.

    Jones definitely has the scoring ability to develop into a Kyrie Irving, but Duke will likely be at its best this season when he's setting up everyone else for easy buckets.

Cliff Alexander, Kansas

23 of 26

    Composite rank: 3.8

    Strength: Physicality

    Weakness: Range

    Projected role on team

    Alexander is a monster in the paint. It won't take long before people are comparing him to Julius Randle and/or Thomas Robinson.

    He will simply outwork his opponent night in and night out. Alexander is extremely explosive and dunks just about any time he touches the ball within eight feet of the hoop. He is a great rebounder and will block his fair share of shots.

    The only minor concern with his play is that he is an inch or two too short to be a true center, but he doesn't have enough of a mid-range game to be a power forward, either.

    He'll pair well with Perry Ellis in the paint this season for Kansas, but I'll be interested to see whether he starts to develop a 10-15 foot jump shot or if he focuses on becoming a better defender as a center.

Myles Turner, Undecided

24 of 26

    Composite rank: 3.5

    Strength: Size

    Weakness: Footwork

    Projected role on team

    Turner basically looks like one of those wild inflatable tube men you see at used car parking lots. He's tall and has a ridiculous reach, but he's fairly thin and doesn't have a ton of strength. Depending on which scouting report you read, he's between 25 and 40 pounds lighter than Jahlil Okafor, even though they're both the same height (6'10").

    He's still learning how to play at his height. He has a metric ton of potential, but he's still figuring out back-to-the-basket post moves and the generic footwork needed to be a successful center at the next level.

    Fortunately, it's a lot easier to teach a drop step than it is to teach someone to be seven feet tall. Turner is very athletic and has great touch on his shotthough, he is often quite passive about demanding the ball and becoming a scorer.

    With a little bit of coaching, he could absolutely be the No. 1 pick in the 2015 draft.

    Unfortunately for us, we still don't know who will be handling those coaching duties. Turner hasn't yet declared where he will be playing in the fall. B/R's C.J. Moore seems to think he'll end up at Texas.

    If he's right, every other team in the Big 12 will be dreading having to deal with both Turner and Cameron Ridley in the paint.

Emmanuel Mudiay, Southern Methodist

25 of 26

    Composite rank: 3.0

    Strength: Athleticism

    Weakness: Decision-making

    Projected role on team

    I'm not entirely sure what to make of Mudiay. He's very highly rated by everyone, but there also seem to be a lot of asterisks when it comes to what he isn't great at doing.

    His athleticism is off the charts. At 6'5" and 200 pounds, he'll be bigger than just about every other point guard in the country.

    But is he really a point guard? Mudiay commits a lot of turnovers and doesn't have great vision when it comes to a traditional half-court offense. But he's not at all a good three-point shooter, either, so you can't very well play him at shooting guard.

    The things being said about Mudiay are pretty much identical to what was said about Andrew Harrison last summer. Great size and potential, but he's more of a 1.5 than a traditional point guard or shooting guard. It wasn't until Harrison really embraced the point guard position that Kentucky started playing its best.

    Will Mudiay follow suit? He can certainly score and could very well lead the team in points as a freshman, but the more he's setting up Nic Moore and Markus Kennedy, the more likely SMU is to win a conference title.

Jahlil Okafor, Duke

26 of 26

    Composite rank: 1.0

    Strength: Post play

    Weakness: Conditioning

    Projected role on team

    Okafor is unanimously the No. 1 recruit on each of the four sites considered, and he is already the projected No. 1 pick in the 2015 mock draft at Draft Express. He doesn't quite have the "Can't miss" label that Jabari Parker and Andrew Wiggins were given, but he's clearly the closest thing to it in this year's class.

    Okafor has exceptional hands and footwork, and he profiles as one of the rare breed of big men that could average 20 points per game in college. He was already deadly enough when he was exclusively a back-to-the-basket type of player, but he has also developed a mid-range jumper in his senior year of high school.

    If there's any doubt about his ability to excel at Duke, it's simply a matter of wondering how many minutes per game he can play at a high level. In high school, he has consistently been the biggest man on the court by a long shot.

    Can he hold up for 30 minutes per game while playing against guys who are almost his size?

    At this point in time, though, that's a pretty small nit to pick. By all accounts, Okafor will be the freshman to watch in 2014-15.

    Kerry Miller covers college basketball for Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter @kerrancejames.


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